Best Online Casinos in South Africa, Bonuses and More
Gambling is practically the national pastime in South Africa. Stats collected in 2006 tell us that some 97% of the population regularly participate in the National Lottery. 27.7% think slot machines are the best form of entertainment and 22.7% enjoy scratchcards. Only 8.3% of respondents said they never gambled at all, which amounts to quite a large proportion of the population regularly having a flutter on various forms of gambling activities.
The gambling revenues for 2019 are projected to reach an eye-watering ZAR 30 billion. Activities such as sports betting, the lottery, casinos, bingo and slot machines all contribute to this massive projected revenue, which has seen constant growth over the past decade.
The legal framework around gambling in South Africa is always evolving, much like it is in other countries. As the gambling technology changes, so too do the laws that regulate them in an effort to prevent crime and protect players from the threat of problem gambling.
The most important bit of legislation is laid out in the National Gambling Act of 2004. However since then, a number of amendments have been passed, each changing the standpoint of the government on different forms of gambling. On this page, we will talk about these changes and how they affect gamblers in South Africa, particularly those who enjoy gambling online.
Is Online Gambling Legal in South Africa?
The history of South Africa has been profoundly influenced by apartheid politics and the legal system dealing with gambling has inevitably been affected to.
Gambling has been heavily restricted in the country since 1673 but in 1965, the South Africa Gambling Act came down hard on any and all gambling activities, aside from betting on horse racing. These restrictions did little to prevent illegal gambling however, in part thanks to the degree of autonomy each territory had from the central government and other territories.
It is estimated that some 2,000 illegal casinos were in operation in 1996, when the National Gambling Act was written. The apartheid government had mostly turned a blind eye to these operations but a new democratic government, elected in 1994, took a different tacke. The 1996 gambling act helped usher in the creation of the national lottery and a system of licensed casinos.
The National Gambling Act liberalised some elements of gambling, in particular for sports betting and land-based casinos, but things are not so clear-cut for online casinos. In 2008, an amendment to the act, completely legalising online gambling, was passed but it was never really enacted. In 2010, the South African courts ruled that online casinos located outside could not legally offer their services to players in South Africa.
Now, you may know that what the rules say isn’t always what happens in real life. In South African law, players can legally access sports betting websites that are licensed in South Africa but no other online gambling services. That 2010 court judgement made the provision of online gambling and the access of online gambling illegal.
However (and there always seems to be a ‘however’), this has not stopped online operators from accepting South African players. These is some risk to this that cannot be ignored but it does happen fairly regularly. Large European brands accept South African Rand. There is no sign that this trend is due to stop, mainly because South African players are so interested in the online options available.
How we Review the Top South Africa Casinos
No matter where they come from, discerning gamblers will look for online casinos of a particularly high quality. Here are all the things we keep in mind when finding these top-notch brands for our South African readers.
Safety & Security
Any activity that involves money needs to be properly bolstered by high standards of safety and security. We will only recommend casinos that do their utmost to ensure players, their data and their funds are as safe as they can be.
The welcome bonus is usually the player’s first experience of a casino and first impressions matter. We select casinos that offer fair and appealing welcome bonuses.
We all want to know that our money is in good hands. All the casinos on GamblingMetropolis have been vetted to ensure that they only accept transactions through trusted, secure payment methods.
The casinos we bring you all prioritise getting players their money fast. No one wants to wait ages for their withdrawal to come through.
Mobile used to be an afterthought when it came to designing casino games and curating the casino experience. Not any more. Mobile players are well taken care of by these brands.
Exceptional player support turns a good online casino into a great one. Knowledgeable, courteous and committed support agents are crucial in creating a positive brand for online casinos.
Established Game Providers
A casino is only as good as its games and we know that some game providers are simply better than others. We will only recommend casino brands that host titles from trusted, tested and experienced game design studios. This ensures that our players get the fair gambling experience they all deserve.
Licence and regulations
The South African government is in charge of licensing gambling activities but the country has a less than positive stance towards online gambling, so no online casinos are licensed by South Africa.
This doesn’t mean that South African players cannot participate though. We use the UKGC and MGA gambling licenses as the gold standard for quality assurance, player protection and fairness at GamblingMetropolis and we recommend that our readers do that same.
No matter where you are located, you can trust that casinos licensed by these regulators are put through their paces regularly and have to follow some of the strictest rules in the industry. Stick with properly licensed casinos and you can rest assured that you are getting a quality casino experience.
We will never recommend unlicensed casinos as these pose serious risks to the security of players’ data and funds.
Playing With Real Money – Can You Deposit ZAR at South Africa Online Casinos?
It is possible to play at many online casinos using South African Rand, which lets players make transactions conveniently in their local currency without having to tangle with complex conversion rates and exchange fees.
South African players can fund their casino account using several payment methods. The popular credit or debit card option is available at pretty much every online gambling site, with Visa and Mastercard being the top most offered option anywhere.
Players can also use bank transfer to top up their casino account. Ewallet options such as Skrill, Neteller, Ukash and others are also useful in this case. Paypal is available too, so players are truly spoilt for choice when it comes to picking a trusted payment option.
Which Casino Games are Available in South Africa
South Africa licenses a number of sports betting websites which are freely available to players located there. Casinos licensed by other regulators offer the entire gamut of gambling options, including slots games, live dealer games, keno, bingo, table games, jackpots and more.
Players who join an online casino that accepts users from South Africa will be able to access all of their products through their newly created casino account.
Popular Casinos Accepting South Africa Players
Casino.com is an immensely popular online casino, with players from around the world. It offers all kinds of exciting promotions to keep players interested, including slots and table games bonuses, free spins and more. This brand also welcome South African players!
Royal Panda is another trusted casino brand that is available to players in South Africa. This established and reputable gambling site offers a host of games from some of the best development studios, and it frequently promotes new game releases with juicy and attractive casino bonuses. Check the Promotions page regularly to be sure not to miss a single one.
Playing Online Casino Games With a Real Live Dealer
Most of the larger reputable brands offer a live casino section and if South Africa is on the list of accepted countries, then players from that region are free to access this exciting genre of games.
Live dealer games bring the interaction and socialisation of a land-based casino directly to your computer, through the magic of live streaming technology. Participate, with a live dealer, in classic games like Texas Hold ‘Em, baccarat, European roulette and more.
Some studios are also branching out, creating live dealer games that are not versions of the typical table games but are unique and innovative titles in their own right. Check out games like Deal or No Deal, Dream Catcher or Monopoly Live for examples of this kind of play.
Casino Bonuses and Free Spins
At any casino, the Bonuses or Promotions page is sure to get a great deal traffic and for good reason. Bonus opportunities or promotion can transform a good casino experience into a great one. Players like to feel they are being rewarded for their loyalty to a brand and promotions are the perfect way to make users feel valued.
Bonuses can offer all sorts of goodies, from free chips to free spins to bonus cash and other goodies. When it comes to free spins, casinos can stick to classics such as Starburst or use the opportunity to promote newly released game, which can be a great way to try a new title gratis.
What is a Bonus Wagering Requirement?
Wagering requirements are generally applied to the majority of bonuses, though some casino brands offer wager-free bonuses in the form of wager-free spins. A wagering requirements is a restriction placed by a casino that prevents players from immediately withdrawing winnings earned through bonus features like bonus cash or free spins.
Players must wager their winnings a specified number of times before they are allowed to withdraw that money otherwise the bonus is forfeited. Wagering requirements can be found in the terms and conditions and are always displayed beneath the bonus or promotional advertisement.
The Casino Market in South Africa
The South African casino market is huge. At last count, there were 59 land-based casinos operating in the country, spread around 42 cities. The bustling hub of Cape Town alone is home to five of those including the largest, GrandWest Casino & Entertainment World. There are 8 horse racing facilities in the country as well as 2 licensed lotteries and 10 bingo operations in the country.
Online Casinos and Gambling Rules and Regulations in South Africa
There are nine provinces in South Africa and each of them are responsible for regulating gambling in their respective territories. This mimics other large countries like Canada and Australia, which have also given the responsibility of regulating gambling to each of their regions.
In South Africa, the largest regulator at a provincial level is the Western Cape Gambling and Racing Board, which keeps an eye on some 32 online bookmakers within the jurisdiction. Like all the other provinces, the board controls gambling and racing activities as well.