The surge in the number of people engaging in unlawful gambling in South Africa

As early as the 1970s, casinos started to grow up all across South Africa, and by the mid-1990s, it was believed that there were well over 2,000 facilities operating illegally all over the nation. However, with the abolition of apartheid, there was a dramatic shift in the legal landscape.

As you would imagine from a nation with a long and complicated history in many aspects, South Africa’s attitude toward gambling has been no less torturous than its history in general.

It was as early as 1673 that the first definitive piece of legislation was put in place, outlawing all kinds of gambling and imposing heavy penalties on anybody found to be in violation of the law. However, it was not until 1965 – over 300 years later – that the regulations were ultimately loosened – and even then only marginally – to allow horseracing and wagering on the races itself. This was due to the fact that it was regarded as a sports activity rather than a gambling activity.

As early as the 1970s, casinos started to grow up all across South Africa, and by the mid-1990s, it was believed that there were well over 2,000 facilities operating illegally all over the nation. However, with the abolition of apartheid, there was a dramatic shift in the legal landscape.

The National Gambling Act of 1996 created a licensing system for casinos, with the aim that it would increase tourism while also raising much-needed tax income for a nation that was attempting to shake off the chains of the previous administration. Among other things, it allowed for the introduction of South Africa’s first lottery and classed horseracing as a gambling activity rather than a sports activity.

An increase in the number of people who gamble on the internet

However, despite the fact that the Act had a significant impact on the country’s gambling industry, it was only eight years later, in 2004, that another piece of law was judged required to account for the emergence of online gambling. However, sports betting continued to be authorized under the 2004 National Gambling Act, which restricted South African operators from both providing and participating in interactive gambling online for the purposes of playing casino, poker and bingo games.

With the National Gambling Amendment Act, which was passed in 2008, efforts were made to amend the legislation to allow for the licensing of regulated online casino games. Although a number of interested parties, including the operators of land-based casinos and anti-money laundering agencies, voiced significant opposition to the Act, the legislation was never passed.

In 2010, there was even worse news for those who hoped to gamble online, when a legislation was enacted that prohibited all internet gambling, even when the providers were based outside of the nation. A further factor in deterring operators, players, and even those who handle gambling payments is the fact that fines of up to R10 million or prison terms of up to 10 years may be imposed for breaching the law, as well as imprisonment sentences of up to 10 years.

A situation that is becoming more serious

As you would imagine from a nation with a long and complicated history in many aspects, South Africa’s attitude toward gambling has been no less torturous than its history in general.

It was as early as 1673 that the first definitive piece of legislation was put in place, outlawing all kinds of gambling and imposing heavy penalties on anybody found to be in violation of the law. However, it was not until 1965 – over 300 years later – that the regulations were ultimately loosened – and even then only marginally – to allow horseracing and wagering on the races itself. This was due to the fact that it was regarded as a sports activity rather than a gambling activity.

As early as the 1970s, casinos started to grow up all across South Africa, and by the mid-1990s, it was believed that there were well over 2,000 facilities operating illegally all over the nation. However, with the abolition of apartheid, there was a dramatic shift in the legal landscape.

The National Gambling Act of 1996 created a licensing system for casinos, with the aim that it would increase tourism while also raising much-needed tax income for a nation that was attempting to shake off the chains of the previous administration. Among other things, it allowed for the introduction of South Africa’s first lottery and classed horseracing as a gambling activity rather than a sports activity.

It also creates a financial hardship for the nation as a whole. According to data compiled by the Casinos Association of South Africa (CASA), the regulating body of land-based operators, total gambling income in the nation decreased by 2 percent in 2018. The CASA thinks that the illicit operators are solely to blame for the decline in revenue. In all, this amounts to around R 37 million, with approximately 36% of this cash going to the government’s coffers in the form of taxes and fees.

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