Online gambling is one of the trickiest aspects for South African players. It’s currently illegal to operate an online casino within South Africa. This is in stark contrast to land-based casinos, which are completely legal. The land-based casinos within the country do have to operate within some of the most rigid and restrictive regulations in the world, which obviously means that operators and government aren’t always singing from the same song sheet.

When it comes to online gambling this is something that has been fought vigorously within the country. At every step it has been batted away by government, which makes very little sense due to what it could offer to the country. The closest South Africa has got to legislating online gambling was a bill that was proposed in 2014. However, this bill was never formally passed and the results have never been released publicly.

While online casinos are unable to operate in the country, sports betting can be carried out with a licensed operator, but this is the only loophole. It means that players who want to enjoy an online casino have to use offshore online casinos. This does mean that it opens up the market for less scrupulous operators to take advantage of players. While there are sites available that have regulation from other jurisdictions, which means players have some form of protection, the level of support that’s offered is much less than if the South African government had its own regulation in place. 

Lessons that Malta can teach South Africa: Taxes

The first lesson that can be taken from Malta is directly related to taxes. The taxation on land-based casinos and sportsbooks, and the online sportsbooks that are available, generate a lot of revenue for South Africa. By allowing operators to operate their online casinos within South African borders it would mean the revenue generated by these sites could be taxed. It would significantly increase the amount of tax revenue that would be coming into the country.

On top of this, it would also mean that the money spent at online casinos wouldn’t be leaving the country. By operating online casinos within South Africa it would increase the number of jobs in the country and the money South African players spend at these sites wouldn’t be funding the job market in other countries. 

This is a dual benefit as on top of the tax revenue increases, it would also mean the economy in the country would also get a boost due to the additional jobs created. 

Lessons that Malta can teach South Africa: Safety

By allowing operators to set up an online casino within South Africa, it would mean that a complete set of regulations could be drawn up. This would be highly important when it comes to protecting South African players. The regulations could be catered exactly to how the Government wants and would be able to ensure the safety of South Africans as well as providing protection from potential problem gambling. 

This attitude is why the MGA is widely regarded as one of the most trustworthy regulators on the market. It has some of the strongest legislation in place on top of the willingness to sanction sites that don’t adhere to its regulations. The protection of players comes first with the MGA, this is something that the South African Government could easily implement with its own online gambling regulator.

Lessons that Malta can teach South Africa: Reduction in crime

Some of the less trustworthy offshore online casinos do have links to the black market and organised crime. This is something that obviously the South African Government would like to avoid. If it brings in its own regulator then this will mean players don’t have to take the risk of playing at a site operated by criminals. 

It instantly means that players will be much safer when playing at the sites. It also means that the revenues that are created by the online casinos won’t be funding crimes in general. It means that not only will it create higher levels of tax revenue but also the Government won’t have to spend as much of tax revenue combating crime. 

Will South Africa bring in regulation?

It’s not possible to make a definitive statement at this moment in time. As the online gambling bill has been in limbo since 2014, it’s obvious that the country isn’t in any rush to allow South Africans a legal way to play at a South African online casino. However, with the potential tax revenue that’s available it’s obvious that the Government can’t ignore this for long. 

Expect an official South African regulator to be created in the not too distant future. This will make it much easier for South African players to access online casinos. On top of this it will create more tax revenue for the country and increase the safety of players at the same time. 

Disclaimer: Play responsibly. Players must be over 18. For help visit https://www.gamcare.org.uk/

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