Gambling Jurisdictions Of The World: South African Industry

The article is prepared in tight collaboration with Chris Burke from online casino nederlandsegokken gambling Europe, a Dutch-based company involved in gathering statistics and reviews on gaming houses across the world. The example of South Africa is oozing with peculiarities and noteworthy features, representing something truly worthy of close attention.

The rise of gambling

The beginning of the 90s was the time for South Africa’s radical changes. Apartheid regime fell, the Bantustans were abolished and their territories were merged into a single legal space. For gaming, this meant the transition to underground. That was the time of an acute need in legalizing gambling in the updated State. In this case, it was desirable to go beyond the former Bantustans, located at a distance from major cities. Fortunately for the industry, the new government quickly realized the importance of gambling legalization. The state needed a cash infusion, and the opportunity to replenish the budget with generous taxation portions was a reasonable way to go.

Legalization of gambling

South African authorities have shown wisdom by making a decision to continue examining the area. In 1992, a commission of Howard, and in 1995 another commission was created. Both commissions included scientists, officials, and representatives of the gambling business and public organizations. The commission studied the experience of different countries, economic factors, as well as social and ethical aspects. Both parties agreed on the need for the legalization of gambling, justifying its position that the excitement is a part of human nature, and no state bans would be able suppress the desire for games, in existence since ancient times. For the modern man is an element of entertainment. And yet, both the Commission acknowledged the risk factors and recommended the practice of gambling limitations.

The main tasks that faced the new law on gambling:

  • legal frameworks in the field of gambling;
  • legitimate development of the gambling industry;
  • guarantee of fair gaming by the operators (being fair to the players and maintaining their privacy);
  • protection of vulnerable groups (especially minors) from the negative effects of gambling;
  • protection of society from the stimulation of demand for gambling;
  • protection of business from crime, anti-money laundering.

The outcome of the experts’ effort was introduction of Gambling Act, adopted in 1996.

It legalized the activity in this area by setting certain requirements and quotas. In particular, the number of licenses was limited to 40 (about 1 per million inhabitants, 4-6 per province). This meant that running gambling business was a privilege of firms with considerable resources and serious plans.

In addition, in order to avoid the monopoly on gambling market the number of licenses per operator was limited: thus, no more than 2 licenses per province were granted (16 in total). The Act of 1996 has fulfilled its main task – the legalization of gambling and the establishment of a reasonable course of its development and functioning. In 2004, the new edition was approved, which operates in South Africa till nowadays.