South Africa – Should the rules for online casinos be changed?

As of this moment, anyone with an IP address identified as being South African can’t gamble online, excluding licensed operators controlled, taxed, and regulated by local provinces and the NGB.

Gambling in South Africa has been controversial for some time. While traditionalists are keen for the current restrictions to remain, reformers are looking to open up the market with an eye on generating more revenue. The country has banned online gambling in most of its forms, with native players forced to find other ways of accessing those online casinos they are allowed to register with.

However, while it may be illegal for casinos to provide services within the South African borders, that doesn’t mean that players can’t get around this. You can visit to find out more about the legal status of online casinos in South Africa. But in terms of the Internet, the fact is that South Africans have been playing at numerous online casinos. It’s the casinos that are taking the risk, too, with there being no record of legal action ever been taken against an individual for playing at an online casino while in South Africa.

The legal picture

In 1994, in spite of a negative outlook on gambling, the South African government chose to repeal a ban on all gambling and brought a licensing system into the 1996 National Gambling Act. This Act enabled the National Gambling Board (NGB) to begin regulating the industry, as well as granting powers to the nine local provinces to begin licensing both online sportsbooks and physical casinos. More signs of a reform showed with the 2004 National Gambling Act, although online casinos remained illegal.

While these new laws provided a number of opportunities for land-based casinos, such as sports betting, it wasn’t the case for their online counterpart. Sports betting is the only form of online gambling legal in South Africa, and all online sportsbooks must be licensed by one of the nine provinces. In 2008, an amendment was announced that online gambling would be legalised. However, while passed, it was never enacted, which left those who enjoyed online gambling in an unusual position.

In 2010, things became even less clear when courts ruled that even online casinos outside of South Africa couldn’t provide services to South Africans. As of this moment, anyone with an IP address identified as being South African can’t gamble online, excluding licensed operators controlled, taxed, and regulated by local provinces and the NGB.

Any casino, player, or bank that facilities online gambling would be faced with a penalty of 10 years in jail, up to R10-million or both. The fact is, however, that with most providers based outside of South African borders, these penalties are rare.

New bill looming

Rob Davies, the South African Minister for Trade and Industry, has been pushing a gambling bill for a few years now, with one of the bill’s main aims being lowering the levels of problem gambling. The bill isn’t without controversy, with one of its aspects being lesser protection for major industry stakeholders. Winnings could be potentially confiscated if made through a legal platform.

The consensus on the bill, however, is that it contains numerous flaws and a number of unrealistic proposals. For example, financial institutions would find it a huge burden to block transactions involving unlicensed gambling operators. The bill further contains awkward rules for land-based gambling establishments. They would be expected to have entrances that are hidden or plain out of sight and there would be a ban on ATMs inside or near the venue.

There would also be a limited number of gambling machines and licenses, far stricter requirements on small operators, and advertising practices would be curtailed. The government does seem determined to see that the bill be pushed through, however, which wouldn’t do gambling in South Africa any favours.

The future

As numerous countries are seeking ways to generate revenue in addition to the current legal industries, ultimately South Africa’s stance on gambling laws will likely change. The government has raised taxes on brick-and-mortar casinos and ministers are beginning to look at the potential for further revenue if they legalised online gambling. Until then, however, South Africans wishing to enjoy any gambling activity outside of sports betting are welcome at numerous online casinos around the world, meaning that opportunities still exist to experience the best that online casinos have to offer.

Source: southcostherald

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