From the earliest years that settlers reached the shore of South Africa in the 17th century, gambling as a pastime was always frowned upon by ruling powers. The 1965 Gambling Act made it official - allowing only betting on horse racing, but banning all other forms of gambling. But South Africans love their gambling and looked for ways around the rigid laws. Tens of thousands of off-the-grid gambling alternatives sprung up in the country. In the 1970s, locals would regularly make their way to the independent homelands such as Ciskei and Transkei to play at casinos that were popping up in these areas. In 1979, the legendary Sun City opened its doors in Bophuthatswana and became the flagship venue of the top South African casino and hospitality group, Sun International.
One of the first things that the newly elected democratic government did when it came into power in the post-Apartheid era in 1994, was to legalize all forms of gambling. Two years later, the National Gambling Act was passed. The act changed the face of casino gambling in South Africa. It made provisions for a system of licensed casinos, issued 40 gambling licenses and established the National Gambling Board which oversees the local gaming and racing boards of each province. For the first time, a national lottery was established in South Africa.
Over the years, another two casino licenses were made available, and the National Gambling Act underwent some changes (the most recent change took place with the 2008 National Gambling Amendment Act).
|Emerald Resort And Casino||777 Frikkie Meyer Boulevard, Vanderbijlpark Gauteng|
|Silver Star Casino||Next to the R28 Krugersdorp/Pretoria highway Muldersdrift|
|Montecasino||Montecasino Boulevard, Sandton|
|Gold Reef City Casino||Cnr Data Crescent & Northern Parkway,Ormonde,Joburg|
|Emperor's Palace Casino||64 Jones Road, Kempton Park|
|Carnival City Casino||Cnr Century and Elsburg Road, Brakpan, 1540|
|Time Square Casino||209 Aramist Avenue, Menlyn, Pretoria, South Africa, 0010|
|WESTERN CAPE Casino||Address|
|Grand West Casino||1 Jakes Gerwel Dr, Goodwood, Cape Town, 7460|
|Golden Valley Casino||Between Brandwag and Roux Roads, Worcester, 6880|
|Garden Route Casino||1 Pinnacle Point Road, Pinnacle Point, Mossel Bay, 6500|
|Mykonos Casino||Mykonos Access Rd, Mykonos, Langebaan, 7357|
|Blackrock Casino||100 Allen St, Newcastle Central, Newcastle, 2940|
|Umfolozi Casino Hotel||2 Copper Dr, Kuleka, Empangeni, 3880|
|Sun Coast Casino||Suncoast Boulevard, O R Tambo Parade, Durban, 4056|
|Sibaya Casino||1 Sibaya Dr, Umhlanga Rocks, Durban, 4320|
|Golden Horse Casino||5 New England Rd, Scottsville, Pietermaritzburg, 3201|
|Meropa Casino||9 Prov Roodepoort St, Ivypark X14, Polokwane, 0699|
|Khoroni Hotel Casino||Raza St, Thohoyandou-A, Thohoyandou, 0950|
|Thaba Moshate Casino||R555, Burgersfort, Limpopo|
|The Ridge Casino||The Ridge Casino, Cnr N4 Highway & Mandela Street, Emalahleni, 1039|
|Graceland Casino||1 eMbalenhle Road, Secunda, 2302|
|Emnotweni Casino||Government Blvd, Riverside Park, Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, 1200|
|NORTHERN CAPE Casino||Address|
|Desert Palace Casino||1 Olifantshoek Road, Keidebees, Upington, 8801|
|Flamingo Casino||Transvaal Rd, Memorial Road Area, Kimberley, 8301|
|NORTH WEST PROVINCE Casino||Address|
|Rio Casino||Rio Boulevard, Freemanville, Klerksdorp, 2571|
|Morula Sun Casino||Morula Casino, Molefe Makinta (Lucas Mangope) Highway, Mabopane, 0190|
|Mmabatho Palms Casino||Nelson Mandela Dr, Mafikeng Industrial, Mahikeng, 2735|
|Sun City Casino||6 Sandown Valley Crescent, Sandton|
|The Carousel Casino||Old Warmbaths Road, Hammanskraal, Pretoria, 0407|
|FREE STATE Casino||Address|
|The Frontier Inn And Casino||Johan Blignaut Drive N5, Panorama, Bethlehem, 9700|
|Naledi Sun Casino||3 Bridge Street, Thaba Nchu, Bloemfontein, 9780|
|Goldfields Casino||Corner Stateway and, Buiten St, Welkom, 9460|
|Eastern Cape Casino||Address|
|Hemingways Casino||Two Rivers Dr, & Western Ave, East London, 5201|
|Boardwalk Casino||Beach Rd, Summerstrand, Port Elizabeth, 6019|
|Wild Coast Sun Casino||Main Bizana Road Bizana, Port Edward, 4295|
|Queens Casino||N6 Cathcart Road, Queenstown, 5320|
Casinos in South Africa
Today, you will find over 40 land-based casinos across the width and breadth of the country. The majority of them are located near metropolitan centers such as the Boardwalk Casino in Port Elizabeth, GrandWest Casino and Entertainment World in Cape Town and MonteCasino in Johannesburg.
Many of these casinos boast world-class casino floors with hundreds of games, available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Popular casino games include slots, poker, blackjack, craps, baccarat and roulette. The casinos usually form part of a greater entertainment complex, including theaters, restaurants, bars, lounges, golf courses, family-fun parks and game parks. These complexes also include multiple accommodation options, from family-friendly budget rooms to exclusive luxury hotels.
This means that you don’t ever have to travel very far to enjoy a sensational casino experience with a distinctly South African flavor.
While each casino differs in terms of design, entertainment facilities and gaming options, they all share these same important qualities:
- They are all licensed and regulated by a local gambling board.
- They all offer casino games suited to all levels of players
- They all offer games with multiple denominations, starting at just a few cents per spin.
Highrollers will find exclusive gaming rooms with high-denomination options.
- All the games are regulated, fair and transparent.
- The casinos are located in safe areas and are well-protected.
- They all offer some form of rewards program.
Top Players on the SA Casino Operator Scene
The majority of the land-based casinos in South Africa are owned and operated by big names in the industry, including Tsogo Sun, the Peermont Group and Sun International. Sun International: This international group’s flagship resort, Sun City, remains the first choice for many South Africans seeking top gambling entertainment and recreation. Other properties operated by Sun International include Carnival City in Gauteng, Carousel Casino in the North West, Flamingo Casino in Kimberley, the GrandWest Casino in Cape Town and Sibaya in Durban.
Tsogo Sun: This gaming and entertainment group operates 13 casinos around the country. Among its top brands are: MonteCasino and Gold Reef City in Gauteng, SunCoast in KwaZulu-Natal, Mykonos in the Western Cape and the Ridge in Mpumalanga. Peermont: The Peermont Group counts among its properties: Emperor’s Palace in Gauteng, Rio Casino Resort in North West and Khoroni in Limpopo.
Gambling Culture in South Africa
We’ve noted that South Africans love their gambling, and it’s not only in the casinos that this is reflected. Besides the thousands of slot games found on the casino floors, South Africans will also find over 50,000 limited payout machines dotted around the country. A recent study showed that the most popular form of gambling in South Africa is playing the National Lottery, followed by slot machines, scratch cards, charity jackpot competitions and horse racing betting.
Online gambling is also growing fast in popularity, with most of it taking place via mobile devices. Online casinos attract South African players, while online sports betting is one of the fastest growing forms of entertainment in the country.
The South African National Lottery
The lottery, which was officially established in 2000, is regulated by the National Lottery Commission and operated by Ithuba Holdings. Players need to be 18 years of age or older to buy a ticket, which can be purchased at approved retailers, at participating banks or through the Ithuba National Lottery website.
The lottery offers eight different games:
- Lotto Plus 1
- Lotto Plus 2
- Powerball Plus
- Sportstake 13
- Pick 13
The top jackpot paid out from the National Lottery in its 20 year history was to a man in his 50s who took home a staggering R232,131,750.69 after hitting the big prize in a Powerball draw in 2019.
The National Gambling Board
The National Gambling Board is responsible for overseeing the regulation in the country’s gambling industry and for preserving the integrity of South Africa as a responsible global citizen. According to the board, its strategic intent is to “sustain and grow its regulatory capability to position South Africa as the preeminent jurisdiction with an exemplary and effectively regulated gambling industry.”
There are nine provincial gambling boards as follows:
- Western Cape
- Eastern Cape
- Free State
- Kwazulu Natal
- North West
- Northern Cape
Responsible Gambling in South Africa
The National Gambling Board also oversees the non-profit National Responsible Gambling Program – a resource which integrates research, monitoring, education, treatment and counselling. The program is managed by the SA Responsible Gambling Foundation (SARGF), whose board of directors represents regulators and people from the industry.
The SARGF is funded by the licensed gambling operators, who contribute 0.1% of their Gross Gambling Revenue to the foundation. It regularly undertakes special projects at the request of the nine provincial gambling boards. Services are free of charge and available 24 hours a day. The Foundation runs outpatient and inpatient programs, as well as phone counselling by qualified professionals in problem gambling.
The Casino Association of South Africa (CASA)
Founded in 2003, the Casino Association of South Africa represents the vast majority of the country’s licensed casino industry across all nine provinces. CASA and its members are committed to making responsible gambling an integral part of the daily operations of member casinos, and they have adopted a code of conduct detailing how it fulfills this pledge.
Online Gambling in South Africa
The National Gambling Act of 2004 made it illegal to gamble at online casinos in the country. However, this has not stopped hundreds of thousands of South Africans playing at safe, regulated and licensed SA-friendly online casinos at offshore sites. These sites offer excellent games by leading software providers, accept ZAR as a form of currency and support banking methods that are suitable to South African players.
According to the law, the only exception for legal online gambling in South Africa is online sports betting and online horse racing betting. To operate legally, an online bookmaker needs to obtain a license from one of the nine provincial gambling and racing boards.
Sports Betting in South Africa
Up until 1996, anybody in South Africa who wanted to bet on the horses had to head to the track and place their wagers there. After that, it became possible to wager online at licensed internet betting sites. The nine gambling boards in the country are able to license online betting sites who meet the criteria, although the main provider of licenses at this point is the Western Cape Gambling and Racing Board.
SOUTH AFRICAN Casino FAQs
Are gambling winnings taxable in South Africa?
Winnings from casual gambling (casino winnings, sports betting, lottery prizes) are not taxable in South Africa, as long as you aren’t a professional gambler (in which case you need to declare your winnings as income). However, it is important for casual gamblers to declare your winnings to SARS as non-taxable income.
How old do I have to be to play at a casino in South Africa?
To gamble at a land-based casino in South Africa, you have to be at least 18 years of age. Don’t forget to bring a form of ID with you so that you can prove your age.
How do I choose which land-based casino to play at in SA?
There are many factors that come into play when choosing a land-based casino. The most obvious one is distance and how far you are willing to travel. If you are lucky enough to live in the proximity of several casinos, read up on the entertainment features and gaming options available. Even better, visit each one and decide for yourself which you prefer! If you’re going on holiday, check out the accommodation options. If you’re travelling with your family, make sure that there are child-friendly things to do in the area.
Is there a minimum amount I can bet at land-based casinos in South Africa?
Yes, although the amount will differ from casino to casino. Most casinos, however, offer slot machines with a minimum betting amount of just 1c! This is the norm, so there is no doubt that even the most budget-oriented players will find games to play.
What games can I play at South African casinos?
Nearly all the land-based casinos offer slot machines, many of them carrying progressive jackpots. You will also find table games such as roulette, blackjack, poker and baccarat.