Grand West Casino in Cape Town
Prior to 1994 South Africa was starved of places to gamble. Anywhere inside the Republic of South Africa all forms of gambling were banned except for horse racing. With the political set up in South Africa at the time homelands for the various African nations were formed and the governments running these homelands decided to allow casinos to be built on land under their jurisdiction.
At the time the Southern Sun hotels were the only hotel group to get licenses to run casinos in the homelands. Because of the close proximity of the homelands to large cities such as Johannesburg and Bloemfontein the people of these cities commuted over the borders to try out the then forbidden fruits.
Part of the complex of the Mykonos Casino
After 1994 casinos were still not allowed in South Africa but as the new government saw them as a cash cow they started looking into ways and means of allowing them to be built in South Africa itself. Before legal gambling was allowed many small casinos sprang up in shops and hotels all over South Africa. All of them of course were illegal and were shut down by the police who moved in and confiscated these so called gambling den's equipment. Owners in many instances were arrested and received heavy fines for allowing gambling to take place on their premises.
Fortunately for punters and casino owners laws were eventually passed allowing gambling in South Africa.
Those hotels which had licenses to operate casinos in the homelands applied for licenses to open casinos in South Africa. Not everyone who applied got a license but those who did had to agree contracts with the authorities where they were required to set up infrastructure in the province where they were going to build their casino. Grand West Casino in Cape town was linked to the Convention Centre in Cape Town.
Today there are five casinos in the Western Cape. The largest is Grand West situated in Goodwood on the old Cape Show grounds. The others are the Caledon Spa casino, the Garden Route Casino near Mossel bay, the Golden Valley Casino in Worcester and the Mykonos Casino near Langebaan.
Some smaller institutions have also received licenses to operate one armed bandits on their premises.
With the advances made in the internet many online casinos have been established. These of course target people with internet connections and allow people to gamble from the comfort of their homes. Although widely used by the public it appears that they are in fact not legal in South Africa.
The authorities are at present looking into banning them but as most of these online casinos are situated outside the country it is very difficult to stop people from using them. Suggestions have been made that instead of banning them the authorities should properly license them and then they could exercise control over there usage.
We will just have to wait and see what transpires.
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Gambling Cape Town