History of Gambling in South Africa

Online Gambling History

In 1673 gambling in the Cape was banned by the Dutch settlers. The return to gaming in South Africa began in Kimberley with the discovery of diamonds in 1867 and on the Witwatersrand with the discovery of gold in 1886. The latter signified the turning point in SA economic history as the Transvaal became the top producer of gold in the world; in the 1920s the gold produced in this area was 50% of the entire world’s gold supply.

In 1965 the Gambling Act made all forms of betting illegal except for horse racing. In the 1970s casinos operated in the Bantustan homelands of Bophuthatswana, Ciskei, Transkei and Venda, as well as in Swaziland. Illegal betting was managed by various street gangs and in 1995 it was estimated that about 2000 illegal casinos were operating in SA. This marked a critical point in the history of South African gambling, as the government was not earning any tax revenues from all these operations.

With the advent of the new government in 1994, certain forms of real money gaming were legalised in 1996. The National Gambling Act of 1996 allowed a number of licenced casinos to operate as well as a national lottery. Horse racing continued as a legal entity. In 2004 this Act of 1996 was repealed, and the new Act of 2004 came into being, making the operation of online casino gaming illegal.

In 2008 a new Amendment Act was introduced in an attempt to legalise online betting. In 2010 the Gauteng High Court announced that international vendors could not offer their services to South Africans. Despite this ban, many online casinos still offer South Africans gambling facilities in ZA rands. SA law enforcement does not have the resources to combat illegal gaming. However, when the draft of the Remote Bill of 2014 is processed, the legalisation and regulation of online casinos in South Africa may be the next chapter of online gambling history in SA.

South Africa now boasts about 40 licensed casinos distributed among the nine provinces, as well as the horse racing tote and the national Lotto lottery.

Now that you know the history of South African gambling, the best news is that South Africans can now gamble online for real money and all that you require is:

  • Access to the Internet using a mobile phone or an ipad for easy access to online casino betting
  • Easy banking methods available such as credit cards, electronic wallets or mobile pay methods.

Games that can be played at an online casino

Online gambling history in SA will show you, the player, numerous examples of the variety of games that suit each particular player in 2022. The most popular of all online games are slots, which include classic, video and progressive games. These are followed by blackjack, roulette and baccarat, and several other exciting games such as poker and craps.

The best attraction for playing online games

The history of gambling online in South Africa shows that one of the great attractions is the offer of a bonus. Online bonuses attract new online players, as well as servicing existing players, and these bonuses are earned through playing real money online casino games.

Online sports betting is also legal in RSA. With each of the nine provinces having its own regulatory body, each bookie has to get his own license. In 2022 there is no tax on sports wagers, unlike that in horse racing wagers where the tax on winnings is 6%. The most popular sports for betting are soccer, cricket and rugby, where teams compete on international levels. Bonuses are also offered.

The top land-based casinos in RSA

The Carousel Casino located north of Pretoria, in the previous Bophuthatswana, is one of the oldest casinos, and has recently been upgraded and refurbished.

The Sun International Casino in the North West province is located in the Sun City Hotel, and is the land-based casino which dominates the local gaming industry.

The largest is the Grand West Casino and Entertainment World located in Cape Town.

Many thousands of jobs have been created in this industry, all contributing to the R16,268 billion gaming revenue in 2014.