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Swaziland is a small country in the southern part of Africa, just north of South Africa, with only about 1.4 million people. Swaziland has very strong ties with South Africa and is surrounded by them on 3 sides, and almost all of its trade, both imports and exports, are with this much bigger neighbor.
In spite of only having a per capita PPP GDP of about $8000, which is well below average as far as the world average goes, they are well above average among African countries. Swaziland’s economy is very diverse and while agriculture does comprise a large segment of it, they have a variety of other industries which also contribute significantly to it.
Swaziland has been hit hard by the AIDS epidemic, and a lot of people die from this and other communicable diseases, particularly tuberculosis, and this has caused their life expectancy to be only 50 years, the third lowest in the world. Their population still continues to grow, albeit slightly, in spite of this major health crisis.
Swaziland used to get a decent amount of tourists back in the 1980‘s, about a quarter of a million a year, but this number has declined since as the South African visitors who comprise almost all of their tourism have simply chosen other neighboring countries now as the region has become more stable. (2)
Gambling is legal in Swaziland as it is in many African countries, and they even have 3 casinos here, an impressive number for a country of such a small population. The casinos here are on the modest size though, as is often the case with African casinos, with the largest, the Royal Swazi Sun Valley, boasting 14 table games and 150 gaming and poker machines.
In total, Swazi casinos host a total of 24 gambling tables and 250 gaming machines, spread out over a total area of 5,500 square feet of gambling space, which is a very small amount even if this were all at one casino, and a small amount even by African standards.
However, they do have casinos here, and you can play at them, whether you live in Swaziland or are there visiting. The Royal Swazi Sun Valley is located in an urban area, Mbabane, the largest city in Swaziland, and the other two are located at resort hotels and are more tailored toward tourists.
The people of Swaziland to tend to be of very modest means though, and this is far from a wealthy country, so as is the case in Africa generally, casinos are well out of reach of the majority of the population, who need to look elsewhere for their gambling needs.
Swaziland did try out the lottery back in 2004, to bring gambling to the people more, but the project ended up failing a year later, and while the lottery is still legal here, there isn’t one that is being run at the present time. (3)
Swaziland is one of the most liberal countries in Africa when it comes to gambling in general and online gambling in particular, and they actually have regulated online gambling here, which their own people are welcome to participate in as much as they like.
Piggs Peak, one of their land based casinos, was granted a license to offer online casino action all the way back in 1998, during the dawn of online poker and the main target of this was South African players, although they targeted players from other surrounding countries as well.
The South Africans didn’t take that kindly to this though and fought this in court, and in the end, Piggs Peak was forced to no longer accept players from South Africa. Players from other countries, including Swazi players, remain welcome though, and they have grown to be one of the biggest online casinos in the Southern Hemisphere. (4)
Playing Poker in Swaziland
Swaziland does have a couple of live poker tables at its casinos, which does offer players at least the opportunity to play some face to face poker. Both the Royal Swazi Sun Valley Casino and the Piggs Peak Casino have a one table poker room. In addition to cash games, these poker rooms also offer a regular schedule of poker tournaments. (5)
About a quarter of Swazi residents have access to the internet, which is a pretty decent percentage indeed for an African country. This only cashes out to about 300,000 internet users, but that’s a half decent potential online poker market, and given that there are only two live poker tables in the country, almost all of the poker action here is online. (6)
Piggs Peak used to operate an online poker room until it eventually had to close down due to exhausting all legal options and having to finally stop taking South African players. While their online casino continues to operate, the blow to the poker room by this ruling, where they lost 90% of their players, was too much for it to handle. (7)
Swaziland is way too small to support an online poker room by the way, although that’s not the case at all for South Africa, and although poker is very popular there, the South African government presumably didn’t take too kindly to a Swazi site making so much money off of its poker players.
Normally there’s nothing governments can do to stop foreign poker sites from accepting their players, but in this case, the very close ties between the two countries made the difference.
Piggs Peak Poker wasn’t much though, to be honest, and certainly is a long ways away from being the kind of poker site we’d ever recommend, as we only concern ourselves with the very best. There are some great options for you though if you are from Swaziland and are interested in the best sites to play online poker at, so here’s our top recommendations for you:
Top Online Poker Sites For Players from Swaziland
We’ve got 4 great online poker rooms for Swazi poker players who are either looking to try out online poker or perhaps are playing at a lesser online poker site and want to see what else is out there. You can be assured all of these recommendations of ours are all top notch which is why they are on our list and all offer new players some free poker cash to give them a try.
888 Poker is the world’s second largest poker sites, second only to Poker Stars, and Poker Stars didn’t make our list by the way, so 888 is the biggest online poker site worthy of your play in our view. The reasons why it’s so popular make up a long list, as this poker site simply excels at everything. You’ll want to find out for yourself why so many players love this top online poker room.
Titan Poker and Bet 365 Poker are a couple of other top choices for you. They share the same network, the huge iPoker Network, which has almost as much traffic as 888 Poker does, although in this case it’s combined traffic from many different poker sites, although Titan and Bet 365 are the best of the two. Expect to be treated very well here as this is how they have climbed their way up the rankings, and the poker is excellent here as well.
Black Chip Poker rounds out our top 4 for you, and in case you were wondering, these are 4 of our top 5 online poker sites for not only players from Swaziland, but players from anywhere. Black Chip Poker is fast becoming one of the world’s favorite places to play poker, and if you like to play against weaker competition, this is really the poker room for you.