New online casinos targeting South Africans are on the rise, shows a new report by Research and Markets. The precise number of online gaming platforms that opened their doors for South Africans last year isn’t known, but it’s big enough to have impacted the growth of the industry.
“Online gambling is increasingly taking share from on the ground casinos and other betting outlets,” part of the report read.
Regulations yet to Change
Surprisingly, South Africa is yet to make new regulatory changes that can support the rise of online casinos. Still, foreign iGaming companies have been launching in the country left, right and centre.
Research and Markets, however, suggests South Africa is keen to update its gambling regulation rules. The government plans to revise its laws about bingo, online casinos, and forming a national gambling regulator.
In doing so, the government hopes to provide an organized gambling industry that can also contribute tax revenues to the country.
Software Providers seeking Licenses
As new online casinos scrabble to capture the burgeoning South African markets, so are software providers. Sweden-based Evolution is the latest casino game developer to acquire a license in South Africa.
The company acquired its gambling permit from the Western Cape Gambling and Racing Board (WCGRB) early in February. The Stockholm headquartered brand will now be able to provide its live casino games to any online casino permitted to serve the South African market.
Evolution Gaming isn’t alone in providing casino games to South African instant-play gaming websites. From Netent to Microgaming, Play’n GO and Playtech, nearly all major software developers have been providing their games to iGaming sites targeting South Africa.
Land-based Corporations Dominant
Wild Casino & Resort
Although online casinos are on the rise, they lag significantly behind their land-based counterparts. Research and Markets also reports an upswing of betting shops and limited payout machines threatens to edge out the casino sector in the next several years.
Betting shops are particularly popular both those that provide betting markets for local and international sports. However, they are still far from up surging the gambling sector.
Against that backdrop, all signs show online casinos could be the next most dominant sector of the gambling industry within five years. They won’t replace brick and mortar casinos any time soon, but they are projected to balloon tremendously.
Revenues Soar past R20 Billion
South Africa’s gambling revenues have been increasing consistently in the past several years. With the latest reports, the sector has grown from under R15 billion in 2013 to over R20 billion in 2020.
As mentioned, the industry’s massive growth is credited to the rise of niche gambling markets, like bingo, sports betting and payout machines. The South African government allows for the provision of these services at land-based gambling establishments.
But as Research and Market states, that does not stop online casinos from providing the same games. The country’s gambling act features ambiguous language about online gambling, allowing offshore companies to target South Africans without breaking local laws.
Illicit Gambling a Major Challenge
Research and Markets says the lack of precise gambling laws in South Africa has led to the rise of illegal gambling operators in the last several years. Again, the government has been reluctant to combat on unlawfully reporting companies for unknown reasons.
The CEO of the Casino Association of South Africa, Themba Ngobese conquers. In a message addressing the government in 2018, Themba complained over the country’s refusal to fight against illegal gambling dens.
“Not nearly enough is being done to combat illegal gambling,” the CASA executive said back then. “There are laws in place, but they are meaningless without a firm and consistent commitment to enforcing them.”
Innovation to take Center Stage
As new online casinos open, technology will be a huge factor in influencing their success in South Africa. So far, the rise of mobile gaming has been crucial in popularizing gambling in the country.
The penetration of the Internet and its affordability are two other factors helping gambling grow in the country. With the advent of more innovations, like VR and live casinos, more and more South Africans are expected to join and play online casino games.