Casinos in South Africa have a fascinating history. Casino gambling was illegal in South Africa until very recently. Before the legalisation of casinos, what South Africans had to do was travel to another country, but here is the real story: the other country was just down the road.
The apartheid government were truly evil geniuses. They took the moral high ground with regards to how they governed south Africa and used the bible has a guide for legislation. According to this logic casinos needed to be banned, but casinos are fun and South Africans love gambling. What the South African government of the time came up with was pure genius.
They created these independent homelands and states. The likes of Lesotho, Swaziland, Ciskei and Transkei were established so that the white South Africans could indulge in some of their favourite pastimes without breaking the law. Interestingly enough each of the Afrikaans capitals had a homeland within half a day’s drive. As soon as you crossed this border (they even erected real border posts to add to the illusion) you were now legally entitled to gamble in a casino, associate with people of colour and even enjoy pornographic material.
These homeland casinos were like oases to South Africans trying to escape the desert of South African conservatism. The casinos themselves were styled on Las Vegas and came with all the bells and whistles. The man behind all the glitz was South African entrepreneur Sol Kerzner. He built an empire during the times of the apartheid government and was ready as soon as the old regime fell he diversified his operations both in South Africa and abroad. He now owns casinos all around the world and recognised as own of the gurus of the hotel trade and the gambling industry.
One of the things that Sol Kerzner brought to South African casinos was the idea of giving people gambling at the tables free drinks. This meant you could get absolutely plastered free of charge, or so you thought, because while you drinking his booze, the casino staff were taking your money.