South Africa’s online gambling market is booming. As per a research, it has been revealed that dozens of sites offering the most advanced slots titles and table games, along with the complete range of payment options from Debit Card to SID Instant EFT. But have you ever thought whether the gambling online in South Africa is illegal or not? So what exactly, is the situation? Let’s find out!
IS ONLINE GAMBLING IN SOUTH AFRICA LEGAL?
As per the National Gambling Board (NGB), the online gambling in South Africa is illegal. The NGB displays warnings on its website that the penalties for illegal gambling online could be as much as R10 million in addition, to a jail sentence of up to ten years. But still, why are there are so many sites openly offering full casino games and why are so many South Africans accessing them?
FACTS ABOUT REGULATION
The fact is that although the NGB and the Casino Association of South Africa who is opposing the online gambling state clearly that online gambling is illegal, the legal situation is more complicated and is the result of mixed messages from the South African government.
The gambling in South Africa is governed by the 2004 National Gambling Act. As per this law, mainly land-based casinos, sports betting and some gaming machines are allowed in South Africa. Lotteries were already legalized under a 1997 Act.
Although the 2004 Act did not legalize online gambling, after four years, the South African government introduced the National Gambling Amendment Act, which fully legalized online gambling. But unfortunately the 2008 Act was signed into law by the President in the summer of that year, it could not be implemented.
After a lot of political and judicial scuffle, online gambling is still illegal and it has been warned to the people about the consequences.
Although the legal arguments continue, South Africans enjoy online casino gambling. As per a report in 2015 manifests that by not regulating online gambling, the South Africa government was losing out on tax revenue that could be as huge as R110 million every year. Still, there does not appear to be any political will on the part of the government to resolve the issue and give any relief to South Africa’s millions of online casino gamblers.
South Africa is out to clamp down even harder on illegal internationally licensed online gambling operators.
In September 2018, DTI issued a notice introducing the National Gambling Amendment Act 2018 into parliament in the legislature’s second term of 2018. In this bill, it further restricts South African gamblers’ to access online gambling products.
As per law the individual South African bettors who wager with unauthorized global casinos will forfeit their winnings to the National Gambling Regulator (NGR). Even the National Lotteries Commission (NLC) will be offered the authority over the regulation of all lotteries and sports pools and will also define a capping of licenses for betting on lottery results and sports pools.
The government is about to ban both dog racing and wagering on dog races, but sparing the horse racing industry to create a “self-regulating body” whose activities will be regulated by the NGR.
The legal amendments also will regulate electronic bingo, it may instruct gambling venues located in public spaces to make sure that their entrances are “separate” and “hidden,” and installation of automatic teller machines in or around gambling venues will not be allowed.
Although in the recent past years several attempts have been made by South African Legislators to change the government’s stand away from its prohibitionist online stance, all these efforts have failed to get much traction and the government appears intent on clamping down its head-in-the-sand approach.