You may not know it, but online gambling is illegal in South Africa. Nevertheless, it’s a booming industry that is hitting licensed casinos hard.
The National Gambling Act of 2004 bans all “interactive” online casinos and games such as poker and bingo.
Numerous online gambling sites exist and some estimates suggest that tens of thousands of South Africans have active accounts.
The most popular online gaming platform in South Africa is Costa Rica-based “Realtime Gaming”.
Online gambling represents a massive loss in tax revenue and has the potential to slash visits to “land based” casinos. Online gambling in Europe, where it’s legal, has caused casino visits to fall by 20 percent.
Casino and horse-racing revenue fell by 0.6 percent in 2014. According to the National Gambling Board, gambling revenue totalled R21.8 billion while the industry paid R2.2 billion in tax.
Gamblers and operators face a maximum penalty of R10 million and/or 10 years in jail.
We interviewed Themba Ngobese, CEO of Casino Association South Africa, about illegal online gambling in South Africa.
Listen to the audio (scroll down) for more detail.
We assume that at least five percent of gambling spend goes towards illegal online gambling.— Themba Ngobese, CEO of the Casino Association South Africa
Online gambling in all forms, as well as foreign lotteries, are illegal in South Africa. Only online sports betting is allowed. Government is not considering the legalisation of online gambling.— Themba Ngobese, CEO of the Casino Association South Africa
The loss in tax revenue due to online gambling equals an amount that could buy a third of all school textbooks in South Africa.— Themba Ngobese, CEO of the Casino Association South Africa
There are countless illegal gambling establishments in South Africa. And the numbers are growing. Gambling illegally at home is a much smaller problem than these physical 'internet cafes'.— Themba Ngobese, CEO of the Casino Association South Africa