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History of South Africa's Lottery

Published: Friday, July 21, 2023

After quite a reaserch, I have found enough information to tell you a story about South Africa's Lottery.

A Historical Backdrop: The Stance on Gambling

In South Africa, gambling has had a fraught history, dating back as early as 1673 when the first wave of restrictions was imposed. This stance extended to the world of lotteries, creating a distinct gap in the historical narrative of this popular game of chance.

A Dark Age: The Apartheid Impact

Despite its early success, the lottery would face significant hurdles. In 1965, as part of a sweeping move against gambling due to mounting moral concerns, the Apartheid government banned all forms of gambling, including the lottery. This move plunged the lottery scene into a four-decade-long dark age.

A New Dawn: The Lottery's Resurrection

The democratic dawn in 1994 marked a new chapter for the lottery in South Africa. Reintroduced in 2000, the lottery was now under the stewardship of the National Lotteries Commission (NLC). The newly structured lottery had dual roles - a revenue source for the state and a means to fund charitable causes. Crucially, robust regulations were put in place to address historical concerns about fairness and transparency.

Present Day: The Lottery in Contemporary South Africa

In the present day, South Africa's lottery landscape is rich and varied. Games such as the weekly Lotto , Lotto Plus 1, Lotto Plus 2, and Powerball engage millions across the nation. Under the watchful eye of the NLC, the lottery continues to support worthwhile causes, with funds going towards arts, culture, sports, and charities. However, critics raise concerns about the lottery's impact on problem gambling, underlining the need for more robust intervention strategies.

In April 2007, the South African Lottery was indefinitely suspended following the final draw by the then-operator, Uthingo. This period of suspension lasted until September of the same year when the operating license was re-awarded to Gidani. Upon the resumption of ticket sales in October, the public's enthusiasm for the lottery was evident, with over 200,000 tickets sold within the first three hours. Gidani introduced scratch cards to the lottery offering, but these were later discontinued for a period when they lost their license to a new operator, Ithuba. Source:

Reflecting and Looking Ahead: The Lottery's Evolution

Reflecting on the lottery's journey in South Africa, we see an institution that has adeptly mirrored the nation's socio-economic shifts, adapting to changes in policy, governance, and societal expectations. Looking ahead, the lottery's path is likely to continue its dynamic evolution. Innovations in technology and changes in consumer behavior may shape its trajectory, but its essence as a symbol of hope and social mobility is set to endure.

As an researcher, I believe the South African lottery will need to navigate the dual challenges of leveraging digital platforms for transparency and engagement while concurrently addressing the pervasive issue of problem gambling.