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South African Gambling
South African gambling is about to take off. We give you the lowdown on history, the law and predictions on what the future holds
South Africa is currently home to the biggest gambling market on the continent. Whilst horse racing has a long history in the region, casinos are a relatively new phenomenon, only taking off in Africa within the last 25 years.
Gambling was initially prohibited in South Africa through the 1965 Gambling Act. The leaders of Transkei, Boprthutaswana, Ciskei and Venda, however, decided to legalize Casinos within their territories and contracts were negotiated with the first casino companies.
In 1983, the industry was transformed by the founding of a dynamic new casino company called Sun International. By the 1990's Sun owned all 18 home licenses, in return for high taxation on casino profits. Sun brought in the majority of their staff from Europe and casino culture quickly spread to neighboring countries such as Zimbabwe, Botswana and Swaziland.
Online gambling and the law
It didn't take long for South African gambling to enter the virtual world. Online Casinos such as Silver Sands, Giant Vegas and African Palace attract more and more South African players each day.
And following Presidential approval of the National Gambling Amendment Bill, more gambling providers are set to enter the market, offering an array of new online gaming sites for South African players to choose from.
The new law includes provisions for the licensing and regulation of the internet gambling industry, as well as measures to protect players, prevent underage and problem gambling and guard against unlawful activity.
Opening the floodgates
All this, however, is about to change. The National Gambling Amendment Bill has been approved by parliament and is waiting to be signed by President Mbeki. The new law will change the face of online gambling in South Africa, legalizing and regulating the market. Good news for South African players is that the legislation will open the doors to a sea of international providers, offering an array of new online gambling destinations to choose from.
Did you know?
The biggest casino in South Africa is the Grand West Casino, Cape Town which boasts 60 table games and 3,500 slot machines.
Christopher Convery was Africa's first poker millionaire, winning a million rand prize at the 4th All Africa Poker Series in February 2006.
Klawerjas, Thuni, Canesta, Samba, Skat, Spit and Fish are all types of card games played in South Africa.
The offline gambling industry in South Africa raked in 13.5 billion rand in 2006-7.