The online gambling industry has consistently made waves across the globe. Following its 2021 valuation of USD 73.1 billion, the industry is expected to reach USD 153.89 billion by 2028. This shows a CAGR of over 11.22% over the forecast period. However, some countries unfairly sit on the back burner when recognizing the most gambling-friendly locations, a major name being South Africa.
Across Africa, South Africa represents one of the fastest-growing nations. As such, it is a hotspot for many novel developments in the Western world. Developments like vast internet penetration and quality infrastructure have fostered the growth of different industries. Some of these industries include entertainment, technology, and to a large extent, gambling.
In truth, gambling, especially poker, has been prevalent among South Africans for some time now. Internal studies suggest one out of every citizen gambles as a form of entertainment. Currently generating an annual income of about $2 billion, the SA gambling industry is predicted to rise by 6% yearly.
People need to recognize the widespread success of online gambling in other locations outside North America and Europe. As such, we examine the growth of online poker in SA. You can also explore the best poker rooms with secure online payment solutions through the comprehensive South African poker rooms guide offered by Top10pokersites for enthusiasts in and around Africa.
History Of Online Poker in South Africa
Poker is usually not an outsider’s first thought regarding gambling in South Africa, and it’s pretty easy to see why. Africa was never a significant player in the poker boom between 2003 and 2006. Yet, South Africa’s acceptance to change and development laid a solid foundation for the poker industry.
Historically, South Africa has been pretty rigid regarding gambling. The most significant law regarding gambling was the Gambling Act of 1965. The Gambling Act restricted all forms of wagering except horse racing. This, however, did little to stop gambling in the country, with several underground operators flourishing.
By the late 1990s, over 2000 illegal casinos were operating in the country. To curb the spread, the government attempted to regulate gambling. In 1996, the National Gambling Act was passed, regulating land-based gambling, including live poker rooms. The Act also granted licenses and looked to provide oversight for gambling in the country.
Today, South Africa serves as the continent’s gambling capital by a large mile. The country enjoys the most expansively regulated live poker rooms in Africa. These rooms offer different tournaments and the chance to win real money.
Online Poker Legality in South Africa
Like many other countries, South Africa’s take on online gambling is far from straightforward. Currently, poker and other casino games are permitted in land-based gambling institutions. However, the growing popularity of gambling in the country means these institutions are inadequate to satisfy the demand.
The 2004 Gambling Act permits some form of online gambling. Wagering on online sportsbooks and horse racing is allowed in South Africa. However, online poker and other online casino games are still prohibited. That said, the law only addresses illegal operators by restricting casino sites from operating in the country.
As such, South African players can engage in online poker and other forms of online wagering through offshore operators. This access, however, comes with a great deal of threat. With many poker sites available, it becomes challenging to identify competent ones. Gambling enthusiasts in these regions are also not exposed to any form of player protection. This makes it so much more critical to locate licensed offshore operators.
Online Poker Tournament Available in South Africa
Players from South Africa are permitted to engage in any offshore poker. As such, they can participate in any significant tournament organized by other licensed operators. That said, here are some standout poker events for players in SA.
World Series Of Poker
Across the poker industry, WSOP is regarded as one of the best live poker tournaments. The event is held annually and incorporates as many as 60 events. The WSOP Main Event is surrounded by several side events, all of which offer players the opportunity to make real money. Players from different locations globally, including South Africa, can engage in this event between May and July. Players can engage in this event online through playWSOP.com.
World Poker Tour
The World Poker Tour was the brainchild of documentary producer Steve Lipscomb. And since 2002, it has made waves throughout the poker industry. The tournament has seen impressive achievements over its 20-year run and is hosted in different U.S. states. However, players can also engage in online poker tournaments through the Club WTP site.
As the World Poker Tour grew in popularity, it started to feature more brands. One such brand is the WTP Prime, formally called WTPDeepStacks. The WTP Prime is to be integrated into the WTP main tour. As such, the tournament will employ the same leaderboard in deciding the player of the year. Players can also access this tourney through the Club WTP website.
WSOP-C was developed following the massive success of WSOP. It features various events, with the WSOP Main Event headlining the tour. The WSOP-C tour is the best option for players looking to taste the elite poker game. The tour is organized in different locations, including some of the best offshore poker sites, which are also open to SA players.
The list features some of the world’s most renowned online poker tournaments. That said, different poker sites organize internal tournaments for their player base. South African players must identify licensed offshore poker sites before engaging in any online contest.
As we stated earlier, the online poker market is saturated. However, there are some features to look out for before selecting an online poker site. Firstly, players should consider the site’s reputation, guaranteeing its standard and authenticity. Some other features include information and payment security, customer service, as well as bonuses, and promotions. Here is a list of some of the best online poker sites for South Africans;
- Betsafe Poker
- 888 Poker
- GG Poker
- Titan Poker
- Intertops Poker
- Punt Poker
There is significant demand for online poker in South Africa. And current trends suggest the country would continue to thrive as a gambling market. That said, it is only a matter of time before online poker is legalized in the country. However, until then, players can enjoy a good poker game from any licensed offshore site they choose.