South African Gambling Regulator Stated Online Casino Is Illegal

The National Gambling Board (NGB) in South Africa issued on Monday a media statement regarding the legality of online gambling in the country expressing its concern the topic appeared for public discussion in some circles. The regulator made it clear all forms of online gaming besides sports betting is strictly prohibited.

The regulatory body, an agency within the Department of Trade and Industry in South Africa, derives its legal power from the National Gambling Act (NGA) 2004, which repealed the gambling act from 1996. The NGA sets provisions for the oversight of all gambling verticals and promotes the standards for the industry across the country.

“…the NGB wishes to make it emphatically clear that the answer to whether online or interactive gambling is legal in South Africa, is a simple and unequivocal NO with the exception of online sports betting.”

Official statement, National Gambling Board

The National Gambling Amendment Act 2008 Never Entered Into Force

The NGB explained that the National Gambling Amendment Act 2008 never entered into force, despite being passed by the National Assembly and agreed upon by the Presidency in July 2008, as it was never published in the Government Gazette.

New legislation becomes effective on the day of its publication in the gazette and for the amended gambling act this has not materialized yet, so the National Gambling Amendment Act cannot be used as reference to determine the legality of online gambling in the country.

The National Gambling Act 2004 is the supreme legislation to determine regulation for the industry, and Section 11 in it prohibits interactive gambling, as envisaged by the amended act of 2008. Interactive gambling is any form of casino-style gaming that is accessible via an electronic device, including server-based physical establishment gambling designated as an internet lounge.

Casino gaming is only legal inside land-based gaming facilities that have acquired the license to provide such services. The National Gambling Board used the occasion to remind operators that offer or intend on offering interactive gambling products, are breaching the law and will be criminally prosecuted.

The NGB highlighted that even for the public, participation in such illegal activities is a criminal offense and bear the risk of a hefty financial penalty, up to ZAR10 million ($600,000), or imprisonment of up to 10 years, with winnings from the gambling confiscated and forfeited to the state.

Encouraging compliance with the legislation and asking the public to remain vigilant against unlawful gambling activities, the NGB issued a sound warning to those who elect to engage in criminal conduct that the “consequences will be severe”.

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