The Gambling Industry in South Africa
When listing countries across the world where the gambling industry is very healthy, South Africa is definitely one county on the list. This is regardless of the fact that there are slight issues of underground betting and illegal casinos.
If people were to name destinations where gambling is at its peak, it is safe to say South Africa will most likely not be on the list. There is however a couple of racetracks, outlets for lottery and several casinos despite the little or no reputation of areas like Monaco, Las Vegas and Macau.
Gambling is now widespread in recent times when compared with several years back when laws of restriction dating far back to 1673 were in operation. In 1965, an across country ban was officially placed on gambling. In addition, an act was also passed that banned every gambling activity; all except horse racing wagering which was then considered as a sport. Even with the ban, some states still operated casinos and gambling or operated them outside the law.
After apartheid was abolished in the 1990s, the government of South Africa realized that making gambling legal would help to reduce the number of operations of illegal casinos. Not only this, it would also lead to increased revenue streams as a result of taxes. This decision led to the passing of the National Gambling Act in 1996. This art allowed gambling licenses, 40 in total to be distributed in several provinces. In the year 2004, another act that superseded the former was passed. Also in the year 2008, another art was published although not officially passed yet, it is the National Gambling Amendment Act.
Although South Africa still faces the problem of illegal casinos and underground betting, its gambling industry is very healthy. National lottery rates as the most popular gambling form with about 96% of the country’s population partaking in it. However, horse racing and slot machines are also very popular.
Biggest Casinos in South Africa
A large percentage of South Africa’s gambling casinos are situated in large resorts very close to the urban areas. Amongst these casinos is Sun City. Sun City is one casino whose operation was completely legal even long before gambling became legalized in South Africa. It is situated in Bophuthatswana, which has now become the North West Province. This was birthed by Sol Kerzner who decided to open a casino in an area that was declared independent according to the apartheid government. This business magnate opened the resort in the year 1979 on the 7th of December.
Due to the blacklist of South Africa as result of the UN’s stance on desegregation, the resort became the center of attraction for visitors from outside Africa. Alongside this, Kerzner paid huge sum of money in order to attract some forms of entertainments and musicians.
Amongst the several acts being played, one of the most prominent was the British group queen who played only to mixed audiences. Sun City casino is currently one of the largest in the entire country. It offers a total of way over hundred slot games and also table games of over 40. Asides the casino, visitors also get the luxury of a full safari experience. This is made possible as a result of the game park that houses a wide range of animals such as elephants, lions, zebras, amongst many others.
As large as Sun City is however, it isn’t the biggest casino in South Africa. The Rio Casino owns this title. Situated in the city of Klerksdorp, it is also one of the biggest where the Southern Hemisphere is concerned.
The Outlaw of Online Gambling
With the less stringent approach to gambling, one would think South Africans can gamble without restrictions. However, a set of gamblers in the country ae still being constrained by the law. Some online gambling forms are still considered as illegal and casino gaming is not left out. When it comes to horse racing and gambling sports over the internet however, they are still very much allowed all long as they are carried out through the right channels.
While there are no laws set up against those who gamble, the same cannot be said for the providers of such services. A gambling provider can be fined as much as R10 million or face an imprisonment for ten years when caught.
According to a PwC report, it is stated that revenues derived from gambling in South Africa can rise to R30 billion in the year 2019. This goes a long way to show how much gambling is worth in South Africa.
Are There Lessons for South Africa to Learn from the UK?
The online gaming service in the UK is highly regulated and remains legal. Example of leading online gambling sites benefitting from the regulated market is the 888 online casino. There is less competition which is the result of the smaller casinos’ inability to comply with the stringent rules.
If given the opportunity, they would do really great in an active market situation like the one that exists in South Africa. The legalization of online gambling in South Africa can really help to boost areas that are lacking adequate attention. The solution to this will likely be the National Gambling Amendment Act, this is due to the grey area available for players. Not just that, more tax revenues are to be derived from online gaming.
The amendment of this law will address interactive gaming which in return will deal with the legality of the casino gaming. Furthermore, the amendment can encourage brands that are already established to begin official operation.
These gambling changes are not restricted to South Africa alone, other countries like the USA, China, amongst others are hindered by strict laws. There is very high possibility of these countries to adopt the changes also.
It is quite inevitable that the South African online gamblers might have to cope with illegal operators for the time being. Regardless of this, the presence of awesome casinos the likes of the Rio and Sun City is enough to live by presently.
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