As stated in the National Gambling Act, 7 of 2004, ‘‘casino’’ means premises where gambling games are played, or are available to be played, but does not include premises in which:

    a)    only bingo and no other gambling game is played or available to be played;
    b)    only limited pay-out machines are available to be played;
    c)    limited pay-out machines are available to be played and bingo, but no other gambling game is played or available to be played;             or
    d)    only social gambling is conducted in terms of a temporary license or provincial law.

The formal casino industry in South Africa evolved in the mid-1990s and was arbitrarily chosen. In 1994, a total of nine (9) casinos existed and were all located in the previous TBVC (Transkei, Bophuthatswana, Venda and Ciskei) states. Most of these were built in the 1980s, the first being Sun City which opened in December 1979. In the period prior to the passing of the National Gambling Act of 1996, namely 1994 to 1996, not much happened in terms of casino infrastructure investment.  However, during 1997 to 2002, the industry entered a period of rapid development and, by the turn of the century, there were 17 casinos operating from permanent venues, with a further 5 casinos still operating from temporary infrastructure (NGB report, February 2003).  In 2002 a further 6 casinos were established and best available records of that time indicate cumulative total capital investment in the casino industry of R11.5 billion.

Over the subsequent period up to 2010 a further eight (8) new casinos were established and substantial investment in upgrading and refurbishment was made in existing casinos, leading to cumulative total capital investment of R19.5 billion by 2010.

As at 31 March 2016, a total number of 38 casinos (a maximum of 40 licenses is provided for in the national legislation) are operational in South Africa. According to Gaming for Africa, the Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies, increased the maximum number of casino licenses that may be granted in South Africa from 40 to 41, with the additional licenses being allocated to the North West Province. The casino industry is by far the largest and most prominent component of the SA gambling industry. By all accounts, it is considered world-class in global context. The industry comprises of six (6) management companies namely Sun International, Tsogo Sun Holdings/Hosken Consolidated Investments, Peermont Global, London Clubs International, Northern Cape Casino Consultants and Niveus Investments.

Since 2001/02, GGR from casinos has increased and almost doubled to 2015/16 in real terms. However between 2007/08 and 2012/13, GGR from casinos fell from R16 678 million to R14 855 million. Since FY13, the highest increase in GGR generated in the casino industry was recorded from FY15 to FY16. GGR increased by 0.6% from FY13 to FY14, by 4.5% from FY14 to FY15, and by 5.8% to FY16. The number of operational casinos positions increased by 4.7% from 31 860 (FY14) to 33 360 (FY15), and by only 0.8% to 33 618 (FY16, Quarter 4). A new casino became operational in Northern Cape during FY15 and in Limpopo during FY16 (Quarter 1). Increases in operational gambling positions in casinos were recorded in KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Northern Cape, Eastern Cape and Free State during FY15 to FY16. GGR generated in the casino sector represents 70.5% of the total amount of GGR generated by all licensed gambling modes during FY16.


Quarter 1

1 Apr – 30 Jun 2015

Quarter 2

1 Jul – 30 Sep 2015

Quarter 3

1 Oct – 31 Dec 2015

Quarter 4

1 Jan – 31 Mar 2016

Number of operational casinos





Number of operational slots (casinos)

23 913

23 597

23 935

24 070

Number of operational tables (casinos)





Number of operational gambling positions (casinos)

33 793

33 497

33 819

33 618

Gambling helpline:
0800 006 008