South Africa Not Quite Ready to Play, says NGB

Published October 4, 2020 by Lee R

South Africa Not Quite Ready to Play, says NGB

The hope is that the new lines can set a baseline for further negotiations.

South Africa's discussions on a market are slowing with the authority coming down against the idea of online casino.

NGB Comes Out Against

In response to public debate on the legality of online casino, South Africa’s National Gambling Board (NGB) shut down the debate by declaring the vertical currently all but illegal, with the only form of chance play being sports betting, which is only permitted online.

The New Debate History

The debate arose in recent months as major land-based operators began recognizing publicly the potential benefits of online gaming.

Private Operator Interest

Private operator Tsogo Sun characterised online casino as a “natural progression” from online wagering; while Sun International announced it was lobbying the South African Department of Trade and Industry to prohibit online casino play.

Final Word

NGB responded by to the question of “whether online or interactive gambling is legal in South Africa” with a “simple and unequivocal NO with the exception of online sports betting.”

Applicable Legislation

The NGB cited Section 11 of the National Gambling Act prohibiting online gambling.

The ban could be lifted under the 2008 National Gambling Amendment Act, but that has never actually come into effect after passage by the country’s National Assembly and ratified by the Presidency in July 2008.

Since the Act ultimately could only take effect when published in South Africa’s Government Gazette, the Act cannot be referenced as law, leaving the 2004 National Gambling Act prohibiting iGaming as the rule of the land and prevailing regulatory framework.

Online Through Mobile Devices

As it stands, the current application of online casino law in South Africa applies to casino-style gambling accessed through mobile devices including smartphones and tablets; or to server-based gambling inside physical establishments such as internet gaming lounges.

Harsh Penalties

The NGB warned that violators will be subject to criminal prosecution, and customers subject to fines and confiscation of winnings:


With severe penalties liable to players and operators alike, a revisiting of the South Africa guidelines and more healthy public discussion look like the way to generate more understanding between operators and the NGB, to adapt a more progressive sustainable model in which the South African government and society could benefit from the added revenue that an online casino market otherwise offers.

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