What Does South Africa's Law Say About Online Casinos?

The gambling industry in South Africa contributes about one percent to the country’s GDP and yet online casinos are regarded as illegal. Also many locals prefer to spend their leisure time playing online casino games. This is because the law prohibits all online casinos within the country’s borders but citizens are free to interact with those based abroad. Despite online casino gambling being illegal in South African, it is not illegal for players to enjoy playing games by MGA CL licensed European online casinos. Accessing your favorite online casino is now a click away.

Is playing online casino games in South Africa illegal?

Yes, the government of South Africa prohibits online casino gambling according to the National Gambling Act of 2004. The government set up a Gambling Review Commission which later in 2010 recommended that online casinos in South Africa should be legalized. The report was never going to be approved as the authorities insisted that online casino gambling is still illegal in SA. One organization was prosecuted for carrying on casino gambling in Swaziland even though they argued that the gambling activities happened abroad at the servers’ location. Visit http://www.efa2010.org/ for more information.

The National Gambling Act defines gambling as accepting bets, availing bingo or playing it, playing a game for money, availing or playing games with restricted prizes and staking of money. South African law has restricted legal gambling to about 40 land based casinos in SA, bingo especially electronic bingo terminals, horse racing, national South African lottery and sports betting from a licensed bookmaker. The law is clear on these other forms of gambling but becomes rather vague when it comes to online casino gambling in SA. Despite this players can still enjoy online casino gaming.

Legal Online Casinos in South Africa

Players should only play at online casinos which have been licensed by the Malta Gaming Authority. When an online casino frauds a player the South African government will not accept responsibility because they have yet to lift the ban on online casinos. For a player this means that your money cannot be legally recovered and that is why it is important to avoid any online casinos which are not licensed. Choose an online casino after reading their reviews on several reputable online publications. Websites like casino.org offer legitimate review of online casinos in South Africa.

The law allows South Africans to play games offered by international online casinos. A legal online casino should offer players secure options to deposit and withdraw money. A trusted payment option is Paypal and the casino should also support ZAR. A trusted online casino should be approved by eCOGRA or an organization like Verisign. These approvals guarantee that players get fair play. In case of foul play players can approach these organizations for recourse. A legal casino should feature SSL or secure socket layer encryption which protects online transitions from being hacked.

Responsible Online Casino Gaming for South Africans

The dark side of gambling starts with being addicted and then a gambler is at risk of causing harm to himself or herself and to other people. That is why South African law allowed for the formation of the NRGP or National Responsible Gaming Programme. This body is a partnership between the private sector and the government of SA. Its role is to carry out research, education, counseling and training on problem gambling to the South African population. There is no evidence that online casinos contribute both negatively to problem gambling.

Problem gambling leads to the abuse of drugs, addicted players start engaging in criminal behavior and the mismanagement of financial resources. Licensed online casinos in South Africa are equipped with technology that is able to detect compulsive gambling behavior. Once a player is identified as suffering from problem gambling they become blacklisted from the online casino that detected him or her. The online casinos operate parallel programs that are aimed at providing problem gamblers with treatment and counseling. Underage players are also not allowed on MGA licensed websites.

Wrapping it up

Playing at online casinos is an illegal activity in South Africa and offenders will be penalized either R10 million, a ten year jail term or both. They will also have a permanent criminal record to their name. This penalty currently applies to players and operators who engage with online casinos inside South African borders. Unless stated otherwise, South African players are at liberty to enjoy services by online casinos operated and based abroad. Always do thorough research before settling on an online casino and stay away from non MGA licensed online casinos in SA.


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