South Africa Gambling Legislation History

South Africa gambling

South Africa has a significant position in regards to international gambling laws. The country was the first one to look into the codified gambling regulation, and they’ve always tried to get a firm grip in the gambling scene. That’s why most casino operators have established stronger roots in the neighboring Lesotho and other countries where the authorities are friendly to such activities. A good example is the Lesotho sun casino, a world-class casino resort with overwhelming spectacles.

A Walk Down the History Lane

In 1673, the Dutch colonial system drafted the laws of regulating gambling. From then, controlling illegal gambling in South Africa has had its fair share of struggles. In the middle of the 17th century, South Africa’s colonial reign started horse-breeding in preparation for thorough breeding in the 18th century. Eventually, competitive horse-racing started to materialize. The year 1797 saw the country officially embracing the race at Green Point Common in Cape Town.

Same as many colonized countries, South Africa’s horse-racing was among the first games to be legalized. However, in the Country, betting on the game had a limit that was directly proportional to the legal amount of money wagered in a particular event. No doubt that the 19th-century legal move had a direct connection to the horse-breeding business.

Bended Gambling Laws

The 1880s gold and diamond rush in Witwatersrand South Africa was termed as an illegal gambling example. As such, the 70s welcomed casino-like gambling despite the 1965 gambling Act. Existence of definite loopholes in bending the gambling laws saw major hotels in South Africa accommodate traditional casino-style gambling. Regions that had half-independence like the Ciskei, Transkei, and Venda are some of the regions that carried out this illegal gambling.

Real Change in South Africa’s Gambling Laws

In the 1990s, significant political changes in South Africa and the apartheid laws were crippled. Gambling laws were among the affected ones. The democratic government brought significant reforms to these laws.  Since then, state licensing of the gambling operation was achieved under the 1996 National Gambling Act. During this period, the National Gambling Board was formed, and it paved the way for the issuance of 40 gambling licenses. Consequently, those license owners opened a gambling house across the country.

The gambling laws reforms in South Africa continued to make significant changes up to 2000s and beyond. In 2004, a new version of gambling laws was realized. From 2008, this amendment was seconded, bringing more light to the gambling industry in South Africa. Both scenarios supported online casinos based in South Africa. However, the question of whether gambling is legal in South Africa remained unanswered.

Currently, legal casino operations that are under the government’s scrutiny are distributed across the country. But only 2,000 of a kind websites are accessible by anyone in the country without the fear of being criminalized.

In 2011, parliamentarians voiced their views urging the loosening of online gambling regulations. They argued that with the lenient gambling laws, there would be increased government tax. However, five years later, the government decided to stick to the 2012 aggressive bill, which passed the tax burden to the players. All chance games’ winnings exceeding SRA 25,000 would face a tax of 15% income rate.

On pragmatic grounds, this law appears lack effect. Like many other countries that try to regulate online gambling, wagering money at international online gambling platform is considered illegal. However, not a single person has been arrested in South African following online gambling.

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Author: Michael Orodare




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