The rise of cryptocurrency has revolutionized online gambling, one of the most rapidly evolving and dynamic industries worldwide and in South Africa. Bitcoin is quickly becoming a mainstream choice for online casino operators and their customers.
How Cryptocurrency is changing South Africa's online gambling scene
But why is this exactly the case? And will such a trend persist?
Let’s delve into the matter to answer these and other questions and see how cryptocurrency is changing South Africa’s online gaming scene.
Crypto adoption is booming in South Africa
According to the latest reports, Africa boasts one of the highest adoption rates of crypto on a global scale, showing an incredible 1,200% increase in value only for the one-year period between July 2020 and July 2021 when countries on the continent received nearly $105.6 billion worth of digital money. Such a massive crypto adoption speaks for itself, bringing a plethora of new opportunities and being one of the main reasons why more and more online casinos and players prefer Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, and other altcoins for sending and receiving payments.
In addition to that, it is hard to resist the high level of privacy protection offered by crypto transactions, which are currently subject to zero restrictions. In contrast to traditional ZAR payments, when depositing and withdrawing funds, customers of gaming websites and bookies do not have to share their names, bank details, or other sensitive data.
Cryptocurrencies used for gambling
The pioneer among all digital assets, Bitcoin remains an indisputable leader in terms of popularity among customers of gaming websites, mainly due to its wide availability. Indeed, all crypto-friendly online casinos that cater to South African players offer BTC as a payment method while the selection of altcoins may vary greatly from one site to another. It is worth mentioning that Ethereum is the second-largest cryptocurrency at the moment, with more and more fans of slots, roulette, and card games using it to deposit funds and cash out winnings.
Lately, USDT has also drawn the attention of the gambling community looking to avoid risks associated with the volatility of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies prone to often dramatic rises and sharp drops in their value. Tether is not a “classic” cryptocurrency but a stablecoin, which is centralized and pegged (or tethered) to a real-world commodity. USD₮ is pegged to the US dollar, but there are also tokens tied to Euro, Mexican Peso, British Pound Sterling, and other fiat currencies. The South African Rand is not part of the family yet, but buying USDT with ZAR is a widely available option.
While many gambling websites that operate in South Africa accept USDT, other digital assets that enjoy popularity among players are the already mentioned Ethereum and Litecoin, as well as Bitcoin Cash, Ripple, and Dogecoin. Given that nowadays, the global digital financial market features more than 10,000 active cryptocurrencies, it is worth expecting that there will be more in-demand options in the near future.
Provably Fair technology
The emergence and development of crypto gambling have helped answer the eternal question: How can players be sure the results are not “rigged”? Thanks to the Provably Fair technology, customers of online gaming sites now have the possibility to verify the outcome of each spin or bet they have made.
Even though incredibly simple to use and understand for players, the PF system is a very complex cryptographic-based algorithm that takes a lot of time and knowledge to run like clockwork. Without going into details, this advanced technology was created to ensure that the result of every single wager is not only unaffected by the player’s stake but also cannot be predicted in any way.
The first software developer to widely implement the Provably Fair verification feature was SoftSwiss, a big-name international company headquartered in Malta. SoftSwiss boasts an award-winning portfolio of proprietary games offered under the BGaming brand, which is in high demand across South African casinos. It’s safe to say that the biggest advantage of PF technology is the ability of casino customers to check and verify all game results by themselves and in real-time, without having to involve any third parties.
Is crypto gambling legal in South Africa?
When it comes to the legality of online gambling using cryptocurrencies, the situation in South Africa does not differ much from that in the rest of the world where it remains largely unregulated. In the lack of specific legislation, playing Bitcoin casino games is neither officially allowed nor prohibited.
Naturally, the thorny road towards the final goal starts with the recognition of digital assets as legal currency by relevant authorities. This summer, the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) announced the introduction of new regulations around trading cryptocurrency in the country during the next 12-18 months.
Keeping pace with the global trend, the SARB is going to declare cryptocurrencies as a financial product, meaning they would fall under the purview of the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIA) and be subject to the AML (Anti-Money Laundering) and CFT (Combating the Financing of Terrorism) policies.
As things stand now, buying and selling cryptocurrencies in the country is legal but non-regulated. It is clearly confirmed by the formal statement of the SARB issued back in 2014 on that matter, which says that the Bank “does not oversee, supervise or regulate the virtual currency landscape, systems and intermediaries for effectiveness, soundness, integrity or robustness”.
Returning to the topic of crypto gambling, the attitude of gaming authorities to this type of entertainment is changing for the better fairly quickly. More and more countries are positive towards blockchain-based services in general while a number of renowned international gambling jurisdictions issue licenses to online casinos and sportsbooks that accept BTC and altcoins, with Curacao being in the lead.
Advantages of gambling with cryptocurrency
Gambling with cryptocurrency comes with numerous advantages that range from fast payments and low transaction fees to a high level of security and better incentives. From a player perspective, there are plenty of reasons to choose Bitcoin or Ethereum from the extensive list of banking options available to South Africans who fancy Vegas-style entertainment. Naturally, the biggest thing is that using crypto facilitates nearly instant deposits and swift withdrawals typically processed at the latest within 24 hours, which is usually a challenge with traditional fiat options.
Players not only avoid all the hassle related to bank or card authorizations but also benefit from low cashout fees, all the more so, the majority of crypto wallets let users set their priorities and find the balance between speed and costs. The creation of wallets for digital assets does not require providing any personal information about their owners, facilitating a very high level of privacy protection and eliminating the risk of sensitive data being stolen or misused. It’s no secret, online casino players also want to win crypto because of its largely unregulated nature, which often means that such winnings are not taxed.
Last but not least, gaming websites tend to encourage patrons to deposit with cryptocurrencies, offering them better bonuses. Modern punters miss no opportunity to make the most of their play and, therefore, realize that that little extra received with a Bitcoin deposit can become a real game-changer. Moreover, the attractiveness of the welcome bonus is often the decisive factor in choosing a new casino to open an account, therefore the ever-growing popularity of crypto-friendly websites comes as no surprise.
So, how is cryptocurrency changing South Africa’s online gambling scene? The brief yet comprehensive answer to this question would be by making internet gaming more easily available, more player-friendly, fairer, and definitely a lot more fun. The emergence and spread of Bitcoin and similar digital assets have helped overcome numerous challenges and opened a new era in casino entertainment.
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