This guide focusses upon the laws and relevant gambling legislation in South Africa.
We’ll kick things off with a look at the key facts surrounding the topic, so you know what’s legal and illegal, and following that we’ve got a timeline of all the changes to the law throughout history.
Most forms of gambling legal including casinos and sports betting.
Sports betting legally available online via licenced providers.
Online casino and bingo are banned and not legal.
Legal gambling age is 18+.
Legislation in place to legalise all forms of gambling online but not yet passed.
Gambling Laws & Legislation’s
The best way to fully understand the legal landscape surrounding gambling in South Africa is to look at the legislation passed by the country’s government. The following timeline traces the passage of the most important examples:
1965 – Gambling Act
The first major piece of modern legislation regarding gambling to be passed in South Africa was the 1965 Gambling Act. That act officially banned all gambling in the country, apart from horse racing betting which was deemed to be a sporting activity.
1996 – National Gambling Act
After over 30 years, the 1965 Gambling Act was replaced by the 1996 National Gambling Act, which introduced a system of licensed casinos and a single national lottery, and also proclaimed horse racing betting to be a legal gambling activity.
2004 – National Gambling Act
The 2004 National Gambling Act repealed the 1996 act and introduced a stricter legal framework surrounding gambling in South Africa. It also made sports betting – both online and offline – entirely legal through properly licensed providers but prohibited ‘interactive gambling services’ (online casinos, online card games and online bingo). Licences for online bookmakers had to be issued by the gambling and racing boards of one of South Africa’s nine provinces, and could be granted to either domestic or overseas based providers.
2008 – National Gambling Amendment Act
First published in July 2008, the National Gambling Amendment Act was an attempt to legalise online casinos and related offerings in South Africa. Due to opposition from the country’s land-based casinos, however, this act has to date never passed into law.
2010 – High Court Judgement
Until 2010, the exact legal situation in South Africa regarding online casinos based outside of the country was uncertain. This changed, however, with a judgement from the High Court of the Gauteng Province which ruled against the popular Swaziland based Pigg Peak online casino. That ruling essentially confirmed the fact that it was illegal for South African residents to use online casinos which were based abroad.
Do Players Get Taxed On Winnings?
All of the above information should have given you a good overview of the legal situation regarding all forms of gambling in South Africa. What’s left to discuss, therefore, is what the country’s policy is toward the taxation of gambling winnings.
The news in that regard is wholly positive for punters, with winnings from recreational gambling not considered to be eligible for income tax within South Africa. In fact, the only tax which punters may be liable for is a 6% levy which is automatically deducted from winnings related to horse racing betting in order to cover VAT.
Online Deposit Options & Methods
Betting with online bookmakers is entirely legal in South Africa as long as it is done through a properly licensed provider. There are a great many of those licensed providers and they include both domestic companies and some of the world’s largest multi-national gambling providers.
As such, there is no need for punters to consider any issues of legality when it comes to choosing their deposit methods. With that in mind, many punters would find depositing using debit or credit cards to be amongst the quickest, easiest and most secure methods available.