Online Casino and Gambling in South Africa
Regardless of where you are in the world, online casinos are fast becoming the simplest way to gamble. Instead of visiting brick-and-mortar casinos – which are quite limited in South Africa – you can sit from the comfort of your home and play your favourite casino games. The only problem is not all online casinos accept South Africans.
If you’ve done a few google searches you will find plenty of online casinos that accept South Africans, but also many that do not. The reason for this is the legal status of online gaming in South Africa. Before you look for the best online casinos, there are a few things you should consider including the legal status, currency options, payment methods, and what bonuses they offer, and also the licensing of the casinos that accept South African players.
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Legal Status of Online Gambling in South Africa
South Africa has a long gambling history and since the Gambling Act of 1965, these laws have regularly been amended. The gambling industry has also changed a lot since that time and with the introduction of the internet and online gambling, there was a new grey area.
This was amended with the National Gambling Act of 2004, which officially banned online gambling in South Africa. In 2011 these laws were clarified, stating that all online gambling within the borders of South Africa is illegal and applies to operators and players. Nonetheless, with a quick google search, you will still find plenty of online casinos that advertise to South Africans as being completely legitimate.
Springbok Casino, for example, is advertised as South Africa’s best online casino and has been operating for many years. Yet, casinos like Springbok Casino are not licensed by the South African government and are independent entities usually operating out of Europe and the Caribbean.
In short, online casinos and online gambling are both illegal in South Africa, but citizens can still sign up for an online casino account. This is because these online casino businesses are out of reach from the South African government due to their physical location.
- Online casino businesses are not allowed to operate in South Africa
- It is illegal for South African citizens to gamble online
- South African citizens still accepted by online casinos
How to Play at a Licensed Casino in South Africa
Most South African players will look for online casinos that have been licensed by the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) as this licensing body is known as a global online casino licensing body.
There are also plenty of online casinos that are licensed by the government of Curacao, and nearly all allow South Africans to sign up, deposit in Rand, and play. However, the issue with this particular licensing body is that it is unclear as to how it regulates the casinos it licenses. There is no way of knowing if the games are fair, or you will be paid out if you win a jackpot or land a big bet. The actual regulatory standards applied are shrouded in secrecy which leads most people to believe the people behind the Curcaso licensing body don’t bother checking at all.
That said, if you are a South African, and you are willing to take the risk to gamble online, then you should look for an online casino that is licensed by the MGA. Even then, you may not be covered by any laws that have been put in place to protect online casino players by the MGA because the casino could argue that online gambling is illegal in South Africa and you have no rights to claim your prize.
- No licensing covers South African players
- It is better to play at casinos licensed by the MGA
- Curacao licensed casinos that accept South African players are questionable
Choosing the best casinos for South Africans start with the currency options. There are so many online casinos that you can play at, that you should focus on ones that offer the Rand. However, you will find that most online casinos use Euros, Dollars, Pounds, and other European/Asian currencies.
This is one of the most important things for South African gamers because if the casino you are playing at does not offer ZAR, you will have to first convert your Rands into a foreign currency – which can often be a costly process. Instead of spending money before you even start playing, depositing Rands is your best bet.
However, the reality is that as a South African player, you will most likely play at an online casino that accepts Rand and converts it into another currency.
Another safer bet for online casino players in Africa is to play using cryptocurrency; although, as with online gambling, cryptocurrencies have no legal status in South Africa. Although, holding cryptocurrency accounts is not illegal.
- Very few online casinos allow you to play using ZAR
- Many online casinos accept ZAR, but you will need to exchange to another currency
- Cryptocurrency is one way to avoid hefty exchange rate fees
Most international online casinos will have long lists of payment options, but they might not all be available to South Africans. Choose one of the casinos that offer the main South African payment options, because otherwise, you won’t easily be able to deposit/withdrawal funds.
The main payment options to look out for are:
- Credit/Debit Cards – VISA and MasterCard
- EasyEFT (Bank Transfer)
- Internet Bank Transfers (EFTs)
- SID Instant EFT (popular bank transfer method accepted by most South African banks like Nedbank, ABSA, FNB, Capitec, Investec, and Standard Bank)
- EntroPay (Virtual Credit Card)
- Skrill (e-Wallet)
- Neteller (e-Wallet)
- Eco Payz (e-Wallet)
As a South African, you will know the importance of good customer support. You are going to be depositing money and if things aren’t going right, you should be able to receive adequately timed feedback and support.
Casinos that offer multiple forms of customer support are usually the most reliable. E-mail, telephone, online contact form, and live customer support are the four main support options available. There should also be some self-help such as ‘FAQs’, ‘Terms & Conditions’, ‘Bonus Terms’, and ‘Payment Option’ information should be easy to find and helpful for answering most of the basic casino-related questions.
You can also test a casino’s customer support by asking them a question and seeing how long it takes them to reply, how effective they are at dealing with the issue, and if they have adequate knowledge at hand.
- 24/7 Live chat facilities
- FAQ Sections
- Email Support
Bonuses for South Africans
Bonuses/promotions are important for a good South African casino. Most casinos offer welcome bonuses nowadays, so look specifically at what they are offering as well as if they have any other regular promotions like top-up bonuses, cash backs, and loyalty programs. The best casinos will offer additional promotions throughout the year aimed specifically at existing players – which is vital in keeping customers satisfied.
If you can find a casino that offers bonuses in Rand and is also licensed by the MGA, then this is the safest place to play. You are less likely to run into any issues with an MGA licensed casino compared to casinos that are licensed by the Curacao government where problems can arise, and fair play is questionable.
- A large number of online casino bonuses are available to South Africans
- Safer to use welcome bonuses from MGA licensed casinos
Casino Games for South Africans
All South Africans are afforded a diverse array of online casino games from a wide range of software providers. Live dealer games from casinos that offer games from Evolution Gaming are popular as are games virtual slots from developers such as Play’n Go, Microgaming, BetSoft, GameArt, NetEnt, and Playtech. On top of this, many of these software providers have released virtual casino games such as blackjack, roulette, poker, Sic-Bo, and baccarat in online casinos available to South Africans.
- Games available from top casino software developers
- Live dealer games are very popular in South Africa
- Variety of slots, table games, and card games available