Gambling Laws and Regulations in South Africa

Gambling Laws and Regulations in South Africa

The popularity of online gambling is growing all over the world. But it is very important to be sure whether it is legal or not. For the last couple of years countries have started campaigns of changing the gambling rules and regulations. South Africa is one of these countries that have started to revise their online gambling laws and regulations.


It is very important to know whether online casinos have already become legal in South Africa or it is still illegal to perform online gambling in this country


There are still unanswered questions regarding online gambling in South Africa. But let's remind some facts from the:


History of Gambling of South Africa:

Gambling has been absolutely restricted in South Africa since 1973. According to the Gambling Act of 1965 all forms of gambling except betting on horses were illegal. In 1970s casinos were opened in Bophuthatswana, Ciskei, Transkei and Venda but they were inaccessible for most citizens. By 1995 about 2 000 illegal casinos were operating in South Africa. 

The new democratic government that took the power in 1994 legalized all form of gambling. According to the National Gambling Act of 1996 a system of licensed casinos and a single National Lottery became legal and the horse racing was categorized as a gambling activity. Since this act was passed many changes were implemented in the gambling industry.


New Amendments in the legislation after 2000s

The National Gambling Act from 2004 made the online gambling illegal. According to the updated law from 2011 any form of online gambling in South Africa were considered as completely illegal.

But the law hasn't restricted the players and nowadays there are plenty South Africans who break the law and exercise online gambling. The focus of restriction is falling mainly on the online casinos than on the players.  

Many online casinos respected the rules and stopped their activity in South Africa. But others continued to offer their products to gamblers in South Africa. 


Online Gambling in South Africa should become legal

The industry of online gambling is booming all over the world. Countries that have already legalized it enjoy big incomes from it. By making it legal governments will easier regulate the activity of the online gambling business. By the right regulations it can be made safe and less money will be lost from taxes. New legalization might enforce the control which will increase the revenue from these activities.

We all know that a customer who wants to gamble online will find how to do it. The interest of the country is not only because of bigger benefit from it, but also to provide safety and responsible gambling.

Figures from the statistics show that gambling revenues in 2014 were R23.9 billion. This amount may raise to R30.3 billion in 2019. And this income is only made from the legal activities of gambling plus sports betting and the national lottery. If the industry of online gaming is legalized these massive figures can potentially double or even triple.


Gambling Winnings Taxation

The South African Revenues Service (SARS) is the authority that should collect the share of tax from the legal gambling entities. The operators and business have been paying their obligations, but there was not very clear what to be done with players winnings.

In accordance with government decision from 2011 which would have been effective in April 2012, all gamble winnings of R25 000 or above would be a subject of 15% taxation. This tax scheme  was aimed to discourage excessive gambling in South Africa. It would have been applied to all winnings as well as the National lottery. Similar gambling taxation exist in countries as the Netherlands and the United States.

But this remained only as a proposal in South Africa and nothing is clear regarding gambling tax in this country. But know, that if you have recently won real money from gambling you don't have to pay any tax in SA. The only thing you are obliged to do is to declare your winnings to SARS.


Is it illegal to practice online gambling in SA?

Operators of online casinos are not allowed to operate in South Africa, but players using foreign sites are not reprimanded. For now. The government has recently taken firmer stand and even confiscated winnings from players. So if you decide to play online gambling in South Africa you will do it at your own risk. Playing illegally means meeting many challenges like scams and thefts.

To feel surer and more protected look at our top international online casinos and find out which sites offer their products to South African customers. The sites from this list are seriously tested.

Edward Griffin


Edward Griffin

Hey I'm Edward Griffin, one of the people behind I have been living, playing and working in the online casino world for the past 15 years. I am here to help you make the most informed decisions for your online casino experience.

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