South Africa Gambling Policy

The logic behind the policy

Before a democratic government came into power in the year 1994, gambling was not allowed in South Africa. The only form of betting that was legal in the country was horse race betting. However, there were illegal betting sites in the homelands of South Africa. This illicit gambling took place in the absence of regulations. With the lack of rules in betting, there was no control over the amount of revenue collected, and this led to a loss of income for the country.

Unrestricted gambling leads to uncontrolled negative socio-economic impacts from which the government was unable to protect its citizens. Thus, there was a need for the introduction of a policy which could regulate gambling activities in the country and enhance revenue collection.

Legal forms of betting

This policy did not introduce new forms of gambling such as online casinos or the racing of animals. The thinking behind this was that to add online casino gambling; there was a need for a policy shift. This change would be about the destination approach to the act of gambling which would propose the taking of gambling activities closer to the South African people.

This reasoning was because gambling had become a socio-economic problem that had negatively impacted the people of South Africa and as such, measures were needed to combat the effects of illicit gambling. The policy makers considered introducing racing of animals as a form of betting.

Expanding racing activities to other animals would come with various challenges given that betting on horses was already in place. First off, there were concerns about the welfare of the animals that would take place in such races. It was feared that animals would be subjected to undue stress and torture in a bid to make them win the races. There was also the issue of proliferation.

The issues raised in the exploration of other forms of gambling led to the restriction of any other forms of gambling other than those stipulated in the Act. The adverse effects of the introduction of different types of betting summed up to increasing levels of problem gambling, the proliferation of illegal betting as well as inadequate capacity to enforce gambling regulations.

Economic impact of gambling

Since its legalization, betting has offered many South African some form of employment, whether directly or indirectly. There has been an increase in the amount of revenue collected over the years regarding taxes and levies. Gambling has had a positive effect on the economic welfare of the South African populace.

Challenges faced in policy development

There were various challenges encountered in the development of the legal framework of gambling. The Act was put in place to find answers to these problems. Difficulties encountered in betting included but were not limited to:

Casino location

The policy would focus on the site of casinos. It would delve into areas where they could be, which casinos would undergo relocation and for what reasons as well as the developments that could be put up around casinos.


Licensing issues would be addressed such as the appointment of operators, the rollout of permits throughout the country as well as other technical issues related to grants.


There was a need to expand this form of betting. This expansion was because of the economic viability that it posed to the country. With the introduction of the electronic bingo, the nation would receive much more revenue.


With modernizing the betting sector, the policy would ensure that revenue collection would be made more accessible.


The policy looked at the effectiveness of the board as well as any other areas that needed improvement. There was a need to look into the oversight authority of the council as well as look at whether there was a need for more secretariat functions.

Funds utilization

The policy goes into the usage of forfeited funds and ways to reduce the burden of costs.

Problem gambling

With the growing problems associated with gambling, there was a need for the policy to address this issue.

Current day gambling activities

At present day, there are various forms of gambling in the country which include but are not limited to LPMs, casinos, bingos, and horseracing. The growth of developments and businesses poses a risk to the location of casinos. As such, casinos are much closer to residential areas.

This proximity to residential areas has led to the growth of gambling addiction. Research shows that this problem keeps growing with time and as such the implementation of the policy has not been effective.

Illegal gambling continues to take place in the country, contributing to massive losses of revenue in the country and negatively impacting the socio-economic statuses of betting South Africans.

Roles of the National Gambling Board

This board takes care of overseeing and monitoring the gambling activities in the country, combating illegal gambling and issuing of betting licenses.

The establishment of this policy has led to the introduction of new forms of betting and contributed positively to the growth of the country.