South Africa's Gambling Phenomenon
When the international sanctions were lifted on South Africa after the dark
days of Apartheid, few would realise that one of the biggest changes that
would strike the country would be the proliferation of gambling.
What was once an illicit backstreets affair has now turned into a
multi-billion Rand industry with over R13 billion being earned through
gambling revenues in 2007.
And what’s interesting is that this business is still booming with massive
growth patterns continuing as South Africa increasingly becomes a tourist
Since the 17th century, gambling in South Africa has been heavily
restricted. Only bets made on horse racing were seen as acceptable, as this
was viewed as a sport rather than a form of gambling.
However, due to the relative complexity of the gaming format, it was
estimated in 2006 that no more than 11.5% of South Africans partake in this
In the 1970s there was the introduction of casinos in certain designated
areas that were off-limits to most citizens. And by 1995 it was thought that
there were around 2000 illegal casinos operating in the country.
However, with the end of the Apartheid era, things really began to open up
and the ANC swiftly brought in measures to legalise all forms of gambling.
The National Gambling Act in 1996 not only introduced a system of licensed
casinos, but also gave South Africa its first National Lottery. The lottery
has proved to be a massive success with an incredible 96.9% of the nation
taking part in 2006.
Casinos have also really started to take off in South Africa with many
world-class casinos in all metropolitan areas. Famous South African casinos
include Sun City in Pilanesberg and the
Gold Reef City
entertainment complex in Johannesburg.
21st century gambling
South Africa has also been quick to adapt to the new gambling options
offered by new technologies.
casino over a massive range of online casino games such as blackjack,
roulette and slots that can all be accessed from a mobile phone.
This is a massive step forward in a nation like South Africa where it is
thought that a high percentage of the population have bypassed laptops and
instead their first access to the internet is via smartphones.