South Africa, on the southernmost tip of the African continent, is a land rich in cultural and natural diversity. With a population of 55.9 million souls, and extending over 1.22 million square kilometres, the country is a fantastic mix of different cultures, languages and religions. Gambling, which had long been a contentious part of the fabric of the country, was outlawed until 1996, when Nelson Mandela’s Government of National Unity legalized casino gambling, a state lottery and new regulatory body.


Today, South Africa offers up an incredibly wide-range of casino gambling venues, as wide and diverse as the country itself. Rich in heritage, culture, history and nature, South African casinos offer today’s players an incredible selection of land-based and online casino games spanning the length and width of this massive country. From desert resorts, to major metropolitan casino games offers, South Africa has a fantastic selection of real money casino games and integrated casino resorts to choose from.

Montecasino Sandton Montecasino Blvd, Fourways, Sandton, 2055, South Africa +27 11 510 7000
 Emperors Palace Kempton Park 64 Jones Rd, O.R. Tambo, Kempton Park, 1620, South Africa +27 11 928 1000
Time Square Casino
Pretoria 209 Aramist Ave, Menlyn, Pretoria, 0010, South Africa +27 860 846 377
GrandWest Casino and Entertainment World Cape Town 1 Jakes Gerwel Dr, Goodwood, Cape Town, 7460, South Africa +27 21 505 7777
Gold Reef City Casino Johannesburg Northern Pkwy, Ormonde, Johannesburg South, 2159, South Africa +27 11 248 5000
Silverstar Casino Muldersdrift R28, Krugersdorp, Muldersdrift, 1740, South Africa +27 11 662 7300


While online casino gambling still remains technically illegal in South Africa, and a 2008 law to legalize online casino gambling is still held up in the courts, South Africans are only prohibited from playing online casino and table games. Most, however, still freely indulge in online scratch cards, bingo and lottery games. To find the best casinos for online gambling in South Africa, check out our tips below.

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Gambling in South Africa has a history as wild, diverse and varied as its exceptionally rich heritage implies. With the earliest laws banning real money gambling entering the books as far back as 1673, real money gambling would experience countless attempts by countless local rulers to crush it into oblivion, control it or otherwise use real money gambling as a way to assert local and regional independence.

When the Dutch East India Company first arrived on the Cape in 1652, it had no plans to colonize the land. Instead it was looking for a secure place to build a harbour and shipyard to restock and repair its ships as they sailed around the Cape of Good Hope, where the mighty Pacific and Atlantic Oceans meet at lands end.

Unfortunately for the Dutch East India Company, the native peoples of the Cape which had been inhabited for thousands of years, were not farmers and there was little by way of food and supplies to trade. To meet the increasing needs of the spice trade, Dutch settlers, mostly farmers aligned with the conservative Dutch Reform Church, started making their way inland. They were soon followed by German Lutherans and French Huguenots, who were Calvinists fleeing Catholic persecution under the Sun King Louis VIV.

Inevitable conflict

All of these religious groups would attempt to impose their religious values on an extremely diverse and ancient local population, outlawing gambling and games of chance as a sin.

In fact, the mix of local African and European settlers of various religions would lead to countless skirmishes and devastating wars as varying factions vied for the power to control the countries vast agricultural and mineral wealth.

By the 1970’s, with the brutally racist apartheid laws firmly entrenched by the ruling white elite, independent parts of the country deep in the interior, called bantustans, in Bophuthatswana, Ciskei, Transkei and Venda, moved to legalize real money gambling as a way to reinforce local coffers and further support their independence. Theses primarily black territories were set aside as part of the apartheid regimes policy of exclusion. While recognized as partially autonomous within South Africa in the 1970s, these regions never received full independence or international recognition.

Gambling, however, continued to spread out from these largely native African regions into the cities, with an estimated 2,000 illegal real money gambling establishments operating across the country by 1995.

Legalized casino gambling

With the fall of the apartheid regime in the early 1990s, the Government of National Unity of Nelson Mandela enacted the National Gambling Act of 1996, legalized all forms of real money casino gambling and allowing for some 40 casino licenses to be distributed across the country. The Act also created the National Gambling Board to oversee the country’s fledgling legal real money casino gambling industry.

Today, South Africa boasts some 38 officially licensed land-based casinos, from the Mykonos Casino and GrandWest Casino and Entertainment World to the west of the Cape, to the Sibaya Casino and Entertainment Kingdom near Durban in the east, to the Desert Palace Hotel Casino & Resort in the northern dessert, or the Sun City Resort near the border with Botswana, South Africa offers an amazing selection of incredibly diverse casino experiences for gamblers and explorers from all walks of life.


Whether you’re looking to gamble in a land-based casino by the sea or inland in the bush, dessert or country’s vast game reserves, there’s something for everyone when it comes to the extensive assortment of land-based casinos in today’s South Africa.

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Gambling in Cape Town

Situated at lands end on the Cape of Good Hope, Cape town is an amazing city known for its spectacular natural beauty, cosmopolitan feel, rich history and excellent integrated casino resort gambling.

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Gambling in Durban

As a serene costal city, Durban is known for its rich mix of Indian, African and colonial influences. An astonishing board walk, huge national aquarium, and of course fantastic casino gambling make Durban a much sought-after gaming vacation destination.

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Gambling in Johannesburg

The largest city in this enormous country, Johannesburg is ringed with excellent land-based casino offers. Began as a 19th gold mining town, today Johannesburg boasts a population of just under 1 million people and all the gambling opportunities that come with it.

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Gambling in Pretoria

The administrative capital of South Africa, Pretoria is home to countless government and university buildings as well as its famous Jacaranda trees. Not far from Johannesburg, Pretoria is surrounded by a fine selection of the best South Africa’s land-based casino offerings.


Sports betting

Sports betting and online gambling are the fastest growing sectors of South Africa’s gaming industry. Revenues from legalized sports betting rose 51.9% in 2015, up five times from 2011. International events such as European Championship, Rugby World Cup and FIFA World cup have stimulated the sports betting market

National Lottery

With the introduction of legalized real money gambling in 1996, a new National Lottery was also created in 2000. Overseen by the National Gambling Board, in a recent survey 96.9% of the countries inhabitants of legal age to gamble said they have participated in the National Lottery versus 27.7% who said they had tried their hand at real money slots play.

Horse racing

Due to its colonial era roots, until the 1996 National Gambling Act, horse racing, also known to the Europeans as the sport of kings, was the only legalized form of real money gambling allowed in South Africa. Over the last few years, however, new land-based and online casinos together with the National Lottery have far outpaced horse racing in popularity.

Online gambling

In a country still reeling and healing from years of racial inequality and political struggle, online gambling remains a contentious issue. Legislation passed in 2008 to legalize online gambling is still working its way through the courts and has yet to come into effect. Vested interests, in the form of land-based casinos, religious groups and anti-money laundering authorities have been working to prevent online casino gambling from spreading across the country.


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    • Is gambling legal in South Africa?

Indeed it is. The Government of National Unity of Nelson Mandela passed a law in 1996 legalizing all forms of real money casino gambling in South Africa and setting up the National Gambling Board to issue licenses and regulate the industry.

    • Is legal gambling regulated in South Africa?

Yes, the gambling industry is strictly controlled and heavily regulated by the National Gambling Board, the countries regulator. While casino gambling revenues continue to grow slowly, the industry is fraught with high levels of competition, low margins and what many say are heavy handed regulatory and reporting requirements.

    • Is online gambling legal in South Africa?

Technically speaking, for now the answer is no. Section 11 of the National Gambling Act states: A person must not engage in or make available an interactive game except as authorised in terms of this Act or any other national law. South African citizens can, however, bet online, meaning that sports betting, scratch cards and lotteries are all permitted.

    • Can South Africans gamble overseas?

According to the National Gambling Board, South Africans are not permitted to gamble online with international operators while physically present within the Republic. South Africans are free to gamble at the countries land-based casinos, or at land-based casinos abroad. They are also allowed to engage in online gambling while not physically present in the country.