Adoption of the online poker game in South Africa

The Rise of Online Poker in South Africa

Being one of the fastest-growing nations in Africa, South Africa is a hotbed for a lot of development. With improvements such as internet penetration and better infrastructure, we have seen the rise of lots of industries. These include entertainment, e-commerce and even gambling.

Gambling is generally a very popular activity among South Africans. Keeping that in mind, online poker stands out for being the fastest-growing gambling sector in South Africa. Many of the country’s residents play poker whenever they can. With the increased internet connectivity as well as increased accessibility of mobile devices it is no surprise that poker has become such a force in the South African gambling landscape.

¬†An Overview of Poker’s History in South Africa

Poker is usually not the first thing that comes to mind when gambling in South Africa is mentioned. However, as we have already established, the increased internet and mobile access have changed everything. So, while the African nation missed out on the poker boom of the early to mid-2000s, the activity is already taking root in the country faster than anticipated.

It all started with land-based poker rooms. These are what portrayed the true potential of online poker. With just a little over 50 live poker rooms, the country was not fully able to unleash the full potential of its poker market. It was, thankfully, an indication that the country was ready to leap towards regulated online poker.

The arrival of online gambling was, therefore, a long time coming. South Africa’s poker scene has since exploded with live poker taking a bit of a backseat as the iGaming sector soars to new heights every year.

Is Online Poker Legal in South Africa?

Much like many other jurisdictions across the world, South Africa has a rather complicated relationship with gambling. As it stands, the country’s government permits poker and other casino games at land-based casino venues. Naturally, those do not come even close to satisfying the growing demand for gambling services. The next best option is online gambling platforms.

South Africa’s 2004 Gambling Act permits certain types of online gambling. Verticals such as online sports betting and online horse race betting are fine. Online poker, on the other hand, is not yet legal in South Africa. However, enforcement of the laws is mainly geared towards illegal operators located in South Africa.

Offshore sites that offer South African online poker rooms generally fall within a grey area of sorts. These fall outside the jurisdiction of the country’s regulators and authorities. The players themselves are not targeted which means it is possible to enjoy worry-free online poker gaming.

Finding the Sites for South African Online Poker Players

Since they only have access to offshore online poker sites, South African players must be very careful. Finding a great iGaming site is tough as it is especially considering that there are hundreds or even more of them. It is even tougher for South Africans as they do not enjoy the same consumer protection as players from jurisdictions where online poker is legal.

Despite all that, it is still possible for players in the country to enjoy amazing online poker experiences. That is, so long as they find a site that checks all the right boxes in terms of:

  • Licensing and regulation
  • Safety and security features such as SSL encryption
  • Great customer support
  • A variety of fast, reliable and safe payment methods that accept Rands
  • Plenty of bonuses and promotions
  • A decent selection of online poker games and tables
  • Good customer support services
  • Mobile compatibility

These are often the most important things to consider when trying to find an online poker site while in South Africa. Other aspects do play a role in the experience but most can be rather subjective. It is up to you to pick what best meets your gameplay expectations.

The Best Online Poker Sites for South Africans

The rapid adoption of online poker in South Africa has attracted the attention of so many online gambling operators. While this is a good thing as it gives players more options, it has made picking a solid site very difficult, especially for new online poker players. Instead of filtering through all these sites, it is easier to go through a small list of the most reputable platforms. These include:

  • Intertops poker
  • Betsafe Poker
  • Bet-at-Home
  • PokerStars
  • 888 Poker
  • GG Poker
  • Titan Poker
  • Partypoker
  • Punt casino
  • Yebo Casino

Where is Online Poker in South Africa Headed?

If the massive interest in online poker is anything to go by, South Africa is poised to be a very lucrative gambling market. The next best step right now would be the legalization and regulation of online poker in the country. For now, all the revenue is going offshore thanks to the international gambling sites that always find ways to cater to South Africans. Innovation in the sector is always getting better and it is up to the lawmakers to find a way to leverage that. We will just have to wait and see how that turns out.

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