What’s the deal with South Africa and online gambling?

Numbers suggest that South Africa could feature a thriving online gambling market. The Rainbow Nation features nearly 58 million residents and the world’s 35th largest economy ($359 billion GDP). However, this country only allows one form of internet gambling—sports betting.

It bans all other types of internet wagering, including poker and casino games, and threatens to prosecute violators. Despite these restrictive laws, many South Africans still play online casino games and poker. What’s the deal here!? You can find out more about this nation’s internet gambling laws below along with if it’s safe to place illegal bets.

What Are South Africa’s Online Gambling Laws?

In 2004, Parliament passed the National Gambling Act. This legislation outlaws every type of internet gambling besides sports wagering. In 2008, a growing movement sought to legalize online casinos and poker sites. However, the movement faced stiff opposition and eventually abandoned their position.

Internet sports betting remains the only form of legal online gambling today. Furthermore, South Africa criminalizes the act of placing illegal wagers.

Several other countries, such as Kuwait and Lebanon, feature similar laws. However, they don’t enforce them through actual arrests.

The Rainbow Nation differs in this matter, though. For example, the government confiscated R1.25 million from a group that illegally gambled online in 2017. The maximum penalty for unlawful online gambling is 10 years in prison and an R10 million fine. Luckily, anybody caught placing illegal bets has been spared such a harsh punishment. But the Department of Trade did reinforce the notion that they can confiscate unlawful winnings at any point in 2017.

South Africa allows each of its nine provinces to license land-based and online sportsbooks. Therefore, people can legally place bets as long as they do so through a licensed bookmaker.

Illegal Online Casinos Still Serve South Africa

South Africa features tough gambling laws on both its residents and illegal operators. However, South Africa has yet to take any action against the latter. Offshore casinos, poker sites, and even sportsbooks continue serving the Rainbow Nation. They feel comfortable floating the laws when considering the inaction so far. The federal government is mostly focused on ensuring that its citizens don’t place bets. They haven’t put together a mass legal effort to take down unlawful bookmakers, casinos, and poker rooms. Of course, offshore operators feel emboldened in other countries with anti-online gambling laws too. But they especially enjoy targeting the lucrative South African market.

How You Can Gamble Online in South Africa

You have two main options for betting online in this nation:

  • Licensed internet sportsbooks
  • Unlawful offshore casinos, poker sites, and bookmakers

Ideally, you’ll be an avid sports gambler who chooses licensing operators. You can bet into a safe and regulated market this way without fears of legal repercussions. South Africa features more than 30 licensed online bookmakers spanning its borders. Therefore, you’ll enjoy plenty of legal options in this country. However, you may like playing poker and casino games as well. Unfortunately, you don’t have any legal options for this type of betting. You run the risk of having winnings confiscated by playing at such sites. This occurrence is extremely rare, although it does remain an outside possibility.

With that said, you must immediately decide if you’re comfortable taking such risks. Assuming you’re fine with the risk, you can enjoy internet casinos, poker rooms, and sportsbooks. You simply need to sign up for an account to get started. The registration at licensed bookmakers is a little more involved than the offshore options.

But you still shouldn’t experience much trouble registering. Afterward, you can choose whether or not to place a deposit. Unlawful operators don’t accept as many deposit options. However, you can still use e-wallets (e.g. Neteller, Skrill), Visa, Mastercard, Bitcoin, bank transfer, and/or Western Union. After depositing, you can began placing real-money wagers.

Do You Have to Pay Taxes on Your Winnings?

You only need to pay taxes on online winnings when betting on horse races. Internet horse racing betting features a 6% value added tax (VAT) on profits. But you don’t need to cover taxes on winnings from “recreational” sports betting. The government sees you as an amateur in such cases. You do have to pay income taxes if you’re a professional gambler who relies on betting for a living. South Africa treats sports wagering as your job in this situation. Assuming you win big at an unlawful operator, then you’re better off not reporting the winnings. The government is much more likely to confiscate your profits.(…)

Based by: gamblingsites.org

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