Gambling has always been popular in South Africa, although it was not regulated until the end of the 20th century. Whether it is about casino games, sports betting, or lottery, gambling has been attracting many South African players. The gambling regulation has been in a grey zone for a long time until the National Gambling Act of 2004 came into place. However, the government still applies new rules and amendments. Therefore, players must always stay up to date with the latest regulations. Let’s explore the current state of online gambling in South Africa.
Regulation of Different Gambling Activities
When assessing the current status of gambling in South Africa, we cannot provide a simple “yes/no” answer to the question of whether it is legal or not. We need to dip into different online gambling activities, as they are not regulated in the same way.
Firstly, let’s speak about the legal gambling age in South Africa. A player needs to be at least 18 years old to register at an online casino or sportsbook. Don’t even try to sign up for an account if you are younger. Online casinos will require you to verify your account and confirm your age by providing an ID. It is a strict procedure that should provide extra security to both players and operators, and you cannot skip it in any case.
The situation is not friendly at all towards the online casino games players. Although online slots are very popular in South Africa, the National Gambling Act of 2004 banned the so-called interactive gambling activities. It means that gambling on all online casino games is prohibited, including roulette, blackjack, or poker. After the 2011 gambling law update, online gambling activities are illegal within the South African borders. Nevertheless, online gambling remains an unregulated activity when it comes to registering for international online casinos. Although some offshore online casinos admit players from South Africa, we wouldn’t recommend signing up for one of those from a legal perspective.
On the other hand, sports betting and horse racing wagering don’t fall into prohibited interactive gambling activities. Therefore, numerous players switched their focus to this type of gambling, and it became the preferred one among the South African gamblers. However, before registering for an online sportsbook, you should check if it has a valid license. You should avoid placing bets at illegal sportsbooks, as you can be prosecuted as well.
The lottery is another very popular gambling activity among South Africans. Both native and foreign players can legally enjoy playing this game, as the National Lottery became operational again in 2015. The lottery is made available online as well, and you can have fun with scratch cards and tickets on the go.
Are The Gambling Winnings Taxable in SA?
No matter if you are an occasional gambler or a professional player, you should learn about tax regulations for gambling winnings. The good news is that not all kinds of payouts are taxable in South Africa. The laws are quite simple to the ones in Canada, for example.
If you gamble online just for fun, no matter if it’s sports betting or lottery, you are not due to pay any taxes. Therefore, you can enjoy your profits without any constraints. On the other hand, full-time gamblers need to report their winnings at the South African Revenue Service as an income. In this case, gambling is considered a full-time job, and you need to declare profits from it, as from any other kind of job.
The Future of Online Gambling in SA
The government constantly updates the gambling law with additional changes. Since there are many untrustworthy operators on the market, the South African government wants to ensure the safety of native players. The National Gaming Board will soon become the National Gambling Regulator and be responsible for regulating land-based and offshore casinos.
Gambling laws in South Africa are pretty strained, and generally, they are not friendly towards online casino fans. The government’s stance on online gambling is negative. Although offshore online casinos are open for South African players, and online casino games are not fully illegal, these activities will likely be officially banned shortly. Consequently, the online gambling sites will become unavailable for the South African players, and their accounts will be closed.