Betting is a very popular form of entertainment in South Africa and many enjoy betting money on their favorite sports teams, players and major events. While playing the lottery is quite popular in the country, many also enjoy other types of gambling. This is why this sector has constantly been changing throughout the years and several laws were implemented as a way of legalizing betting in South Africa.
Currently, both land-based and online betting is legal in South Africa but operators who wish to offer online betting must obtain a license by one of the nine authorities that regulate online gambling in South Africa.
While casino games are more popular among South Africans, sports betting and horse racing are also appreciated by many punters in the country. The fact that they can also bet in the comfort of their homes or even via their phone on the go, further contributes to the popularity of betting in the country.
Legalities of Online Sports Betting in South Africa
Historical Betting Overview
Nowadays, the gambling scene in South Africa is definitely much different compared to back in the days. Until 1996, all forms of gambling were completely banned in South Africa. The one exception was horse racing as this was considered a sport where the outcome of a race depends both on luck and skills.
Before the changes in the gambling law were introduced, the territories of Transkei, Bophuthatswana, Venda and Ciskei were independent of South Africa and had different rules and regulations concerning gambling activities. These independent homelands, also collectively known as TBVC, legalized gambling which was the reason for a number of land-based casinos operating on these independent territories.
However, after some changes in the South African legislation in 1994, Transkei, Bophuthatswana, Venda and Ciskei were yet again part of South Africa. This has led to an ambiguous gambling situation in the country as gambling was very much so, still illegal in South Africa but the land-based casinos in the former independent territories were still licensed and were operating.
Two years after the democratization of the country and the TBVC territories were yet again considered a part of South Africa, the new National Gambling Act of 1996 was implemented. It legalized land-based and online forms of betting, with online operators having the chance to apply for betting licenses. The national lottery was also introduced to the public after the new gambling law came into effect in 1996 and the overall gambling sector in South Africa was completely reformed.
What You Need to Know About Sports Betting in South Africa
The regulation of the online sports betting industry in South Africa was a long process that witnessed many twists and turns. The provision of gambling and betting activities in South Africa was illegal for decades. In 1965, the situation started to change slowly as the country’s officials regulated horse race betting.
In 1994, a new democratic government assumed control over the country. Only two years later, the country’s legislators passed the National Gambling Act, allowing operators to provide their services on the South African market provided that they hold a license from one of the nine provinces in the country.
At that time, the National Gambling Board was established to oversee and regulate the industry throughout the country. In 2004, some amendments to the National Gambling Act were made to outlaw interactive gambling. Luckily, online sports betting was not included in the ban, meaning that South Africans could continue to wager on their favorite sport at government-licensed online sportsbooks.
In 2010, South Africa’s legislators decided to ban gambling at foreign sites, imposing fines on operators and players who violate the law. According to the law, offenders have to pay a fine of no more than R10 million and can be imprisoned for up to 10 years. At the moment, participating, operating, or owning an online casino is not legal in the eyes of South African law.
Punters, on the other hand, can bet on sports at licensed online sportsbooks. South Africa consists of nine regions, and each of them has a regulatory body that has the power to issue licenses. The National Gambling Act allowed for a total of 40 sports betting licenses to be issued, and the National Gambling Board was responsible for distributing them among the different provinces.
Sports fans from South Africa do not have to pay taxes on their winnings from sports betting unless they wager their money on horse races. Then, 6% of their winnings will be deducted for tax purposes.
Odds Format in South Africa
There are three types of odds formats that are commonly seen at virtual sportsbooks. You can see odds represented in decimal, fractional or American format. Each of the formats is typical for a certain group of punters but many online sportsbooks allow their members to choose between at least two types of formats.
As the name suggests, American odds are most commonly used by US bettors and they are often seen at websites that cater to bettors from the states. Fractional odds are usually preferred by UK and Irish punters but can be seen at many online sportsbooks as one of the supported formats.
Decimal odds are also called European odds and are typically used by most European punters. They are also the format that South African punters prefer, as they can often be used at online sportsbooks licensed in the country. You can take for example odds of 1.50 which will express your expected profit in a decimal format. These odds indicated that betting a single unit will earn a successful bet a win of 0.50 units, making the total profit 1.50 units.
South Africa Betting Laws and Legislation
The pivotal point for gambling in South Africa was the Gambling Act which was passed in 1996. It legalized both land-based and online gambling in the country and operators were allowed to apply for licenses that allow them to offer online betting to South African citizens.
With the new law, the National Gambling Board was also created as the jurisdiction which regulates the gambling sector in all nine territories of South Africa. Each of these nine territories has its own regulators that are responsible for issuing licenses to betting operators and making sure they are conducting fair online betting.
The gambling scene in South Africa continued changing with the years as there were some changes to the law. In 2004, the new National Gambling Act proclaimed all interactive gaming for illegal and both offering and participating in online gaming is considered breaking the law. In addition to that, in 2010, there were some amendments to the Gambling Act which also announced that interactive gaming on offshore sites is also illegal. This ban applies to the casino, bingo and poker websites but sports betting and horse races are excluded from the ban. This means that as long as a sportsbook operator holds a license issued by one of the nine provinces in South Africa, it can offer online betting to residents of the country.
South Africa Betting Restrictions
While the Gambling Act of 1996 legalized gambling and allowed operators to apply for licenses, there were certain changes to the law introduced with the Gambling Act of 2004. It banned all forms of interactive gaming which include casino, bingo and poker sites. In 2010, this ban also added to the list of illegal gaming offshore operators. Thankfully, this ban did not apply to sports betting and horse racing.
Currently, South African punters have no issue betting online, as long as the operator has obtained a valid betting license from one of the nine provinces in the country. While other countries might have harsh punishments for operators that conduct illegal betting, according to the Gambling Act, both operators, and bettors who participate in illegal online betting can be fined or even imprisoned.
In addition to the ban of participating and providing illegal online gaming and betting, the Gambling Act also forbids commercializing of online gambling by mass media outlets. Since the law also forbids any underage gambling, there is an age minimum for bettors who wish to join online sportsbooks. The legal age that bettors must be in order to register in a virtual sportsbook is 18 years of age or older. While recreational bettors are not obliged to pay any taxes, those who enjoy betting on horse races will have to pay a tax of 6% in their winnings.
Online Betting Regulatory Body in South Africa
The National Gambling Board is responsible for regulating gambling activities in all nine provinces of South Africa. Each of these nine territories has its own regulatory bodies that can issue online betting licenses to operators that meet all license requirements. A total of 40 betting licenses can be issued by all nine provinces but it is the National Gambling Board that determines how many licenses each territory can provide to betting operators.
At the moment, the biggest license issuing territory is WCGRB which is the abbreviation for Western Cape Gambling and Racing Board. The other eight licensing authorities include the gambling and racing boards of Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape, North West.
It should be noted that South African bettors can bet on sports and horse races online, only if the sportsbook is licensed by any of the aforementioned nine authorities. It is not that easy to obtain an online betting license by one of South Africa’s nine jurisdictions as there are several conditions that each operator must meet. This, however, ensures that websites licensed in South Africa can be trusted as they conduct fair and safe online betting.
Popular Betting Markets in South Africa
Sport is more than just a pastime in South Africa – it is a symbol of unity. Hence, we are not surprised by the fondness of South Africans for sports. In the lines below, we will discuss the sports that enjoy great popularity throughout the country.
A beloved sport in South Africa is football. The sport came to the country in the 19th century, and at the moment, it is governed by the South African Football Association. The country’s major soccer league is the South African Premier Division. Most bookies geared toward the South African market provide betting odds for matches from the Premier Division.
Another sport that attracts massive interest among South Africans is rugby. The most prominent domestic rugby events are the Rhino Cup, Protea Cup, and Western Province Rugby League. The country’s national team is among the top 7 of the World Rugby Rankings. In 2019, South Africa won a third Rugby World Cup title.
Golf is a dear sport in South Africa. The most prominent golfer from South Africa is Gary Player. During his career, Player won the World Series of Golf three times. Next to that, he won the South African Open title thirteen times and the Australian Open title seven times. Even though Player has retired, the sport keeps on proliferating. Some of the most notable golf events in South Africa include the South African Open Championship, South African Sunshine Tour, and the Alfred Dunhill Championship.
South Africa is really good at cricket. Finding a sportsbook that offers lines for major cricket events in South Africa is not hard work. The Mzansi Super League and Women’s T20 Super League are the highest golf leagues in South Africa. The sport is orchestrated by Cricket South Africa. Besides the Mzansi Super League, other popular cricket events include the CSA 4-Day Franchise Series and the Momentum One Day Cup.
Talking about popular sports in South Africa, we have to add cycling to our list. The domestic events that attract a great deal of betting action include Absa Cape Epic, Cape Town Cycle Tour, 947 Ride Joburg, Tour de Braai, and others. According to statistics, Daryl Impey is the best cyclist from South Africa at the moment.
|Popular Betting Markets in South Africa Summary
|South African Premier Division, National First Division, SAFA Second Division, SAFA Rergional League, and Local Football Association Leagues
|The Rhino Cup, Protea Cup, and Western Province Rugby League
|The South African Open Championship, South African Sunshine Tour, The Alfred Dunhill Championship
|The Mzansi Super League and Women’s T20 Super League
|Absa Cape Epic, Cape Town Cycle Tour, 947 Ride Joburg, Tour de Braai, and others
|Basketball National League (BNL) and FIBA AfroBasket
South Africa Online Betting Bonuses
When betting online, many South African punters will be pleased to know that they will be able to claim various generous promotions. Whether they are new members of a sportsbook or they bet regularly on the site, most virtual bookies offer their members different types of incentives.
Often, online sportsbooks offer their new patrons Welcome Bonuses which typically match the first deposits of newcomers. This allows bettors to increase their bets and hopefully enjoy better wins. It is important to check the terms and conditions that apply to a Welcome Bonus as it sometimes may request opt-in or entering a promo code when punters make their first deposit. There is also a set minimum for the deposit which will make bettors eligible to receive a Welcome Bonus.
Some betting sites might offer cashbacks on your weekly or monthly losses. Typically such promotion applies to a certain type of bets such as accumulators. In such cases, there is a minimum number for the legs of the accumulator bet and the sum you must wager. Such offers also require punters to make bets on odds of specific minimum or higher. When eligible to receive the cashback, punters may enjoy this type of incentive in the form of free bets.
It is always worth checking the promotions of sportsbooks as they often offer generous bonuses to their members. Keep in mind that most incentives come with wagering requirements that must be met before withdrawal. This means that the bonus punters receive must be wagered several times and there is usually a minimum for odds that will count towards the wagering of the bonus amount.
Mobile Betting in South Africa
Not only is online betting conveniently available to South African residents but they can also bet on sports and horse races on the go. As most virtual sportsbooks that cater to South African punters are fully compatible with mobile devices, one can easily enjoy their betting time on the move.
Many betting sites are optimized to run on most Android and iOS devices and require no installation of any apps. As long as South African bettors have a stable Internet connection, they will be able to load the sportsbook of their choice via the browser app of their device.
Some interactive bookies may also offer dedicated mobile apps that can be installed on iOS and Android devices. Often these apps can be downloaded from the website of the sportsbook or they can be found at the Apple App Store.
Whether bettors choose a sportsbook app or prefer using its browser-based mobile version, they should experience a smooth and fun betting experience on the go. Punters who bet while they are out and about will have the same betting options as they do on web-based sportsbooks. Personalizing one’s bet slip is simple as it usually takes one tap on your preferred bet to add it to the bet slip and continue with making your stake.
Those who bet on the go will also be able to handle their deposits and withdrawals. Payments can be easily carried through your mobile device and you can still be sure that they will be processed securely. What is more, bettors can make use of the different promotions offered by sportsbooks and enjoy a more lucrative betting time even when they bet on the go.
Popular Betting Banking Methods in South Africa
When they bet online, South African punters can rely on several convenient and secure payment options. As a way to provide smooth and easy payments, many virtual sportsbooks support the ZAR currency. This allows South African bettors to easily handle their payments without having to worry about conversion fees.
You will see that most virtual bookmakers accept payments via credit and debit cards by Visa and Mastercard. These are two of the most popular card-issuing companies and they always ensure safe payments as they utilize strict security measures. Using a credit or debit card for funding your betting account will allow you to make instant and hassle-free deposits. You can also resort to this method for withdrawing your winnings but it may take a few days before your money is transferred to your card.
While it is easy to use credit/debit cards at betting sites, you will have to provide your card details when initiating a payment. Many bettors may find this inconvenient which is why they can resort to other options. A very convenient way to handle your payments will be utilizing an e-wallet. South African bettors can often resort to using e-wallets by Skrill, Neteller or ecoPayz which will allow punters to instantly top up their accounts, without providing any sensitive information. Many sportsbooks will allow punters to cash out their winnings via e-wallets which can be very convenient as the process takes less time compared to some other payment methods.
Among other payment solutions, South African bettors can also often resort to the service of EasyEFT. This is a payment service that specifically caters to residents of South Africa and acts as a mediator between one’s bank account and online sportsbook of choice. This method allows instant deposits which are also extremely safe. EasyEFT can also be utilized as a withdrawal option which can be very convenient for many South African virtual bettors.
|Popular Banking Methods in South Africa
|R20 – R10,000,000
|R50 – R99,000,000,000,000
|1 – 3 business days
|R20 – R10,000,000
|R50 – R99,000,000,000,000
|1 – 3 business days
|R1 – R1,000,000
|R1 – R1,000,000
|R1 – R1,000,000
|R20 – R1,000,000
|R20 – R10,000,000
|Up to 2 business days
|R1 – R300,000
|R100 – R1,000,000
|Up to 72 hours
|Standard Bank (SB) Instant Money
|R20 – R200,000
|R100 – R2,500
|Up to 30 minutes
|R1 – R200,000
|R20 – R1,000,000
|R20 – R100,000
What to Watch When Picking South Africa Betting Sites
There are several things to look for when selecting a betting site. The first thing sports fans from South Africa should do is to make sure that the selected bookmaker is licensed by one of the nine provinces. Usually, bookmakers post information about their licenses on the About Us page or in the website’s footer.
After that, punters have to visit the banking page of the sportsbook to check the supported payment solutions and currencies. The best option is to go for betting sites that accept ZAR in order to avoid conversion fees. An often overlooked aspect is the functionality of the betting site. Selecting a web-based sportsbook that boasts an intuitive design will make your experience even better.
For many punters, bonuses are what make them select a given sportsbook. Even though most betting sites offer promotions, not all of them are the same. It is of crucial importance to check what are the terms and conditions associated with the bonuses. Our advice is to select a betting platform that offers promotions with low wagering requirements.
All sports fans have a favorite sport, and that is why it is important to check whether the bookie accepts wagers on it. If you want to ramp up the fun, select a sportsbook that features live betting. Check whether the betting site offers live streaming services, an Early Cashout option, and statistics. Experienced punters know that one should never focus on one betting site and settle on what it offers. It is always better to select several sportsbooks and compare their odds.
Customer service is an integral aspect of reliable web-based sportsbooks. Punters can always test the responsiveness of the agents by contacting them via live chat or email. And if you intend to use your smartphone or tablet to place bets, do not forget to check whether the betting site is compatible with your device.
Best 10 Betting Sites in South Africa
Punters from South Africa have to be extremely careful when selecting a sportsbook. If you reside in South Africa and choose an unlicensed one, you might be fined by the National Gambling Board. Another reason to set up an account at a licensed sportsbook is that your best interest will be protected. If you are a sports fan from South Africa who does not want to take the risk of joining a disreputable betting site, be advised to select one of the betting sites we will discuss in the lines below.
Betway joined the list of existing online sportsbooks in 2006, and ever since, it has been committed to providing excellent betting services to amateur and professional punters. Over the years, Betway established a withstanding reputation thanks to its customer-first mindset. The betting platform is licensed in many jurisdictions, including South Africa. In the footer of the website, we saw that the betting site bears the stamp of approval from the Western Cape Gambling and Racing Board.
What makes this sportsbook stand out from the pack is the wide range of betting markets it covers. To ensure a seamless betting experience, Betway has a dedicated customer support department that can be reached around the clock. The betting platform supports multiple payment solutions and ZAR currency to cater to the needs of its users from South Africa.
- Supports various bet types
- Excellent mobile experience
- It offers live streaming services and live-betting
- Live streaming is available to registered punters only
- Redeeming the Welcome Bonus is not a straightforward process
- Sports fans are required to verify their accounts before being able to deposit funds
Supabets has turned into the favorite betting site for many punters from South Africa. The web-based sportsbook holds a license issued by the Mpumalanga Gambling Board. With a massive Welcome Bonus and multiple promotions for existing bettors, it is understandable why Supabets’ customer base keeps on growing. What is more, the betting site boasts an intuitive design and multiple useful features such as live stats and a Book-a-Bet option.
Punters from South Africa can use ZAR to deposit and cash out funds. The supported payment solutions are more than enough to please the preferences of everyone. The best of all is that the bookie accepts wagers on numerous domestic and international sporting events.
- A fantastic range of sports to bet on
- Generous promotions up for grabs
- Several convenient communication channels
- The website looks cluttered
- The odds could be more competitive
- No live streaming services
Gbets is a well-established betting platform that is owned by Dymanex (PTY) Ltd. The betting site operates on the South African market under a license issued by Western Cape Gambling and Racing Board. Gbets has turned into a go-to sportsbook thanks to the competitive odds it offers. Next to that, it provides punters with the opportunity to bet on various sports.
The betting site is compatible with Android and iOS-based touchscreen devices. What is more, navigation through the different sections is not a hassle. Newcomers and existing punters will not be disappointed with the available promotions. The bookie aspires to make its punters’ betting experience as smooth as possible, and that is why it has a reliable customer support department that is available 24/7.
- Supports multiple proven payment solutions
- Bountiful promotions for new registrants and existing punters
- Useful features such as live statistics and scores
- The text is hard to read
- Complicated verification procedure
- The betting site supports in-browser app only
Sunbet is a superb betting site that has catered to the needs of punters from South Africa for nearly a decade. Licensed by the Western Cape Gambling and Racing Board, there is no reason to doubt the legitimacy of the bookie. The online sportsbook exceeds its competitors when it comes to promotions. What is more, Sunbet is known for the competitive odds it offers. Punters who set up an account at Sunbet can bet on various popular and niche sports.
Next to that, the betting site is neatly organized so punters can find what they are looking for in a flash. Mobile sports fans are also taken care of as they can reach the betting site using the browser app of their portable device.
- Accepts South African Rands
- An excellent range of betting markets
- Unexcelled betting odds
- No live streaming services
- Limited payment solutions
- No dedicated app for mobile punters
World Sports Betting
World Sports Betting enjoys an untarnished reputation, with most of its patrons regarding it as an excellent betting platform. Usually, bettors from South Africa set up an account at World Sports Betting attracted by the lucrative promotions up for grabs. But what makes them stay at the betting platform is the competitive odds the sportsbook offers.
The reliability of the betting site is indisputable thanks to its license from the Gauteng Gambling Board. One of the sportsbook’s strengths is the multiple sports it provides odds for. To please the preferences of its members from South Africa, the betting site employs various payment solutions and supports ZAR payments.
- In-play betting, live streaming, live statistics, and scores
- Lucrative promotions for newcomers and existing punters
- Numerous betting options
- The website looks outdated
- No dedicated app for iOS users
- The customer support agents from the live chat are not available at all times
Sportingbet is a betting platform that knows how to spoil its members from South Africa. The online sportsbook accepts bets on some of the most popular sports in South Africa, including football, cricket, golf, cycling, and others. Besides, it offers a massive Welcome Bonus and multiple promotions for existing customers. One of its strong selling points is the competitive odds it features.
The betting site boasts an uncluttered design, ensuring easy navigation. Credibility-wise, nothing makes us think that Sportingbet is rogue. The betting platform is licensed by the Western Cape Gambling and Racing Board. Its solid reputation and experience on the market also speak volumes about the legitimacy of the online sportsbook.
- Excellent live betting section
- Lucrative promotions
- Great mobile responsiveness
- Does not provide odds for eSports
- Limited withdrawal options
- The agents from the live chat are not available 24/7
Playabets is a sophisticated betting platform that has everything needed to correspond to the needs of punters. The web-based sportsbook provides odds for various sports and supports multiple bet types. In addition to that, Playabets greets its newcomers from South Africa with a lucrative Welcome Bonus. Of course, the bookmaker does not forget its existing punters, providing them with the opportunity to benefit from various incentives.
Playabets operates on the South African market under licenses issued by the KwaZulu-Natal Gaming and Betting Board, Western Cape Gambling and Racing Board, and the Eastern Cape Gambling and Betting Board. Bettors can easily and promptly deposit funds to their accounts thanks to the multiple supported payment solutions.
- Cash Out feature
- Generous promotions up for grabs
- Live statistics and scores
- Limited withdrawal options
- Live streaming on selected sports only
- Phone customer support is not available 24/7
Hollywood Bets is a highly respected web-based sportsbook that received the stamp of approval from the Gauteng Gambling Board, Western Cape Gambling Board, and the KZN Gambling Board. At Hollywood Bets, sports fans from South Africa can bet on various common and secondary sports.
To add extra appeal to the betting site, the bookie offers competitive odds and various promotions. What is more, the betting platform is compatible with Android and iOS devices, allowing punters to place bets on their favorite sporting event on the go. Sports fans who decide to join Hollywood Bets can place pre-match and in-play wagers.
- Various features, including Cash Out, Build a Bet, and Live Betting
- Competitive odds
- Multiple sports to bet on
- The design of the website needs to be improved
- The payment solutions could be more
- Customer support response times are slow
PalaceBet is among the fastest-growing betting platforms in South Africa. The web-based sportsbook operates under a license issued by the Western Cape Gambling and Racing Board. This means that if you reside in South Africa, you can join PalaceBet without worrying about its legitimacy. The bookie appeals to the interest of thousands of bettors from South Africa thanks to the multiple sports it covers.
The betting site features a stylish and uncluttered design. The promotional offers are the highlight of this sportsbook. Punters who have further inquiries can get in touch with the professional customer support department. At the moment, it is not available around the clock, but we learned that this will change soon.
- Early Cashout option, live scores, and statistics
- Functional user interface
- Live schedule where punters can see upcoming events
- Supports only two odds formats
- Limited withdrawal payment solutions
- No live streaming services
Bet.co.za is a force to reckon with within the online betting industry. The brand ticks all the right boxes when it comes to ensuring complete user satisfaction. The web-based sportsbook comes into its own when you compare the odds and bet types available at other betting sites. The betting platform is licensed by the Western Cape Gambling and Racing Board, meaning that it legally operates on the South African betting market.
To please the needs of punters from South Africa, it supports the official currency of the country, and more precisely South African rand. Initiating payments to and from the betting site is a five-finger exercise thanks to the multiple proven payment solutions the bookie supports.
- Intuitive user interface
- Generous Welcome Bonus
- In-play betting, statistics, and live scores
- No dedicated apps for mobile users
- A live streaming option is not available
- Limited working hours of the customer support department
South Africa Betting Sites FAQ
Is Online Gambling Legal in South Africa?
According to the National Gambling Act, participating or offering online gaming services is illegal in South Africa. This includes casino, bingo and poker sites. However, online betting is legal as long as the sportsbook operator holds a valid license issued by one of the nine licensing authorities in South Africa.
What is the Legal Age to Bet Online in South Africa?
All individuals who are at least 18 years of age will be allowed to join a virtual sportsbook and make bets on sporting events and horse races. Those who are underage will not be allowed to participate in any form of online betting.
Are There Any Taxes on Winnings from Online Betting?
While those who are considered recreational bettors and enjoy making bets on sporting events will not be required to pay any taxes, the case with horse racing bettors is different. Punters who make bets on horse races must pay a 6% tax on all of their winnings.
Can South African Bettors Make Bet at Foreign Sportsbooks?
As long as a betting operator holds a valid license by one of the nine gambling and racing boards in South Africa, it can legally offer online betting to South African bettors. This also includes offshore sportsbooks.
Are There Any Consequences for Betting on Unlicensed Website?
Yes. According to the National Gambling Act 2004, both operators and punters who participate in any form of illegal betting can be fined and even imprisoned. This is why bettors must always check the license of a virtual bookmaker and join only if it is properly licensed by the authorities in South Africa.