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This question is important to online gamblers and it’s a confusing matter. Players should research the laws of South Africa regarding online gambling, in order to fully understand the potential risks. The National Gaming Board states that gambling online is not legal, so many of the sites we review are intended for South Africans currently abroad.
The law in South Africa has always been strict on gambling, both offline and online. This has been modified by the introduction of the National Gambling Act in 1996. This act allows for certain forms of gambling, within tight restrictions. The National Gaming Board was formed by the same act. This led to the creation of a national lottery and the legalisation of certain land-based casinos, under government licenses.
The South African government allows online bookmaking, such as betting on horse racing, but online gambling on interactive games (like slots and table games) remains prohibited. Later, in 2010, laws were also passed to outlaw playing on gaming sites overseas. However, in practise, this law is very rarely applied as several international casinos still offer services to South African residents. Similarly, residents can join these sites and play them without instant legal problems. Therefore, a great many people still play online without any issues.
The sites available to South Africans are usually licenced in other countries, such as Gibraltar. So long as these licences are in place, the site is legal in it’s own country and therefore it is regulated and safe to use, covered by industry standard security and encryption. These laws may not be the same as those governing South Africa, but the fact remains that a South African player can choose to use these sites if they wish, provided they are aware that they may be contravening local laws and could be subject to penalties. Despite the technical illegality of gambling online, South African local government does little to enforce these laws; indeed the South African online gambling market is large and popular.
Many news sources believe that this form of gambling will be legalised in coming years, though no progress has been made lately. The South African government would have a lot to gain in regulating this market and licensing it internally. South African players, in the meantime, must research the matter and make a considered choice about gambling online or offline. There are still very many online casinos, such as those reviewed on this site, which gladly accept South African players and the South African Rand.