Sports Betting in South Africa is rapidly gaining some traction, especially now that is totally legal and
more people are adopting it.
Presently, sports betting is no longer as much of a taboo subject as it was. And millions of people from all
over the world are. participating in it. On the list of countries that are known to bet, Nigeria, China,
Australia, Canada, New Zealand, India, and the United Kingdom top the list. Some of the sports they bet
on are football, cricket, and rugby.
South Africa is not left out of this list, as the country also has active participants gambling in the above
mentioned sports, including in horse racing. Today, there are more than 300 sportsbooks and 400 betting
shops, operating throughout the South.
Additionally, the establishment of legal online betting sites in South Africa, further fuels the bets of
citizens, who won’t waste time to wager on their preferred sports. Provided a sportsbook is licensed by the
National Gaming Board (NGB), players are permitted to bet online and offline too.
In this article we’ll discuss extensively the popularity of sports betting in South Africa, and what the
whole legal situation is surrounding it.
- An overview of sports betting in South Africa
- Is sports betting legal in South Africa?
- Is online sports betting legal in South Africa?
- Legal state of betting in South Africa
- Types of popular sports markets in South Africa
- Regulation of online betting in South Africa
- Why is sports betting so popular in South Africa?
- Where does the revenue for sports betting go?
- Tips and tricks for successful sports betting in South Africa
- Legal South African betting websites
An Overview of Sports betting in South Africa
Since 1996, online gambling sites have been in existence and it didn’t take South Africa long to regulate
them. The 1996 Act was inspired by a 1994 report on gambling titled the Wiehan Commission reports.
The law stated that forms of gambling like lottery and sports betting were allowed. Whereas, the local
operations of casino games including poker was prohibited.
There was also a 2004 Act that existed to regulate the gambling operations that were allowed in the
country. According to that law, only online gambling operators who were licensed by authorized bodies
in various regions of South Africa, could cater to the locals.
South Africa houses a total of 9 provinces, each one with an authorized body that issues gaming or
gambling licenses to operators. However, certain requirements must be met. This is to ensure that licenses
are only awarded to qualified businesses that have the interest of the consumers at heart.
From 2016 till now, the local gambling revenues have had good results. Before then, South Africa’s
betting market struggled due to economic situation. But, that changed in 2016 when the Gross Gaming
Revenues (GGRS) grew by 14.3%. Besides sports betting, the lottery also saw more sales.
The current GGR of South Africa is estimated to be a value of R35 billion, a massive increase from
2016’s R27 billlion. This increase is mostly because of how easy it is for players to access sportsbooks
these days. Thanks to the internet, people can easily bet with multiple bookies. The convenience it
provides is one of the numerous reasons why people are more interested in betting.
Today, few betting sites that are popular in the country include 1xBet, Ladbrokes, Betway, Hollywood
bets, Gbets, Bet.co.za, World Sports Betting, Sportingbet, Sunbet, and Supabets.
However, although sports betting is widely popular here, there are few South Africans who would prefer
to be exempted from it and other forms of gambling. One of the many reasons is because they do not want
to have any gambling-related problems.
This is why self-exclusion is an option in South Africa. The NGB gvae some guidelines for citizens who
wish to practice self-exclusion:
● The punter can go to a casino operator or Provincial Gambling Board to help them get self-
● After that is done, the person’s particulars will be sent to other licensed venues to prevent them
● Third-party exclusions can also be adopted by using the courts to get someone who the self-
excluder is financially reliant on self-excluded too.
Once they have been self-excluded, it is now up to the person to avoid all gambling venues. If they are
found in such places, they will be charged with trespassing and might be arrested.
Is Sports Betting Legal In South Africa?
Yes, sports betting is legal in South Africa.
In this country, there are numerous licensed bookies that offer gambling services on sports like cricket,
rugby, soccer, horse racing, etc. The sports betting and horse racing industries are entiwned, as they both
guarantee that punters can seamlessly wager on sports competitions and horse racing events with the same
In addition, it is should be noted that South African bettors can legally wager on betting sites, as long it
wasn’t on casino games and poker. Each of the institutuons in the country’s 9 provinces were authorized to
regulate bettting done on sports racing and horse racing events.
Before a betting site can operate in South Africa, they’ll have to get the neccessary license by completing
some requirements that allow them serve South African gamblers.
Is Online Sports Betting Legal In South Africa?
Also, yes. Online sports betting is legal in South Africa.
Online betting is legalized in this country, for only people who have a licensed bookmaker from the
provincial gambling board. Bettors can legally bet and withdraw funds with zero tax in South Africa, as
long as they are eligible to play.
South Africa bars its citizens from using an unregulated international online sportsbook or operating an
online sportsbook that is not regulated. This means limited options for betting on sports online in South
Africa in 2022.
The legitimate online sportsbooks available to South Africans are ones that have been approved and
licensed by the Western Cape Gambling and Racing Board. Since these betting platforms are smaller, you
need to research and review your options when betting in SA.
Although, there are laws in place that protect you if a website does not pay you your winnings. But, do
additional research to be sure of the provider’s legitimacy.
The Legal State Of Betting In South Africa
Gambling has been prohibited in South Africa since 1673, with only horse racing betting permitted as a
form of organized sport, in accordance with the Gambling Act of 1965.
Betting to some extent is legal in South Africa, although bettors would have to use a certified bookmaker
when betting. Even with this, there are varying laws that govern the South African current landscape for
legal sports betting. Presently, the only type of sports betting allowed in the country is through
government-licensed online sportsbooks.
All forms of Gambling have been outlawed in SA since it was first established. This was until the 1994
democratic revolution, when gambling was legalized, but even then in only specific areas. These
restrictions muffled the growth of the sports betting market in South Africa and only betting through
illegal means was allowed.
Land-based sportsbooks never existed in SA, even today. While bettors can’t wager in person, there are
some online sportsbooks that have permission to cater to South African customers. But, the National
Gambling Act ot 2004 clearly states that any online gambling that includes sports betting is termed illegal
unless the provider gets a proper license. This means that unregulated international sportsbooks are also
illegal in SA, both for use and operation.
Types Of Popular Sports Markets In South Africa
Bettors in South Africa can wager on almost all types of sports like cricket, horse racing, tennis, rugby
union, English Premier League, Serie A, La Liga, athletics, and on American events like MLB, NBA,
NFL, and MHL.
But, they prefer SA national teams including – Springboks (Rugby), and Bafana Bafana (Soccer).
Similarly, South African bettors bet on ABSA Premiership, Super Ruby, etc.
Regulation Of Online Betting In South Africa
The National Gambling Board has been regulating betting in SA, since 1966. They also decide the type of
gambling that fits within the country’s legal measures. So, before bettors can wager, they need to
understand the legal framework and regulation behind those activities.
On the other hand, sportsbooks operators must obtain licenses from respective gambling and racing
boards, before they can offer retail or online betting in any SA province. The Western Cape Gambling
Board provides the largest number of licenses to bookmakers in the country. Each legal betting site
displays on their homepage, the province where they acquired their license.
Another important fact to note is that only individuals above 18 are eligble for any type of betting or
online sports betting.
Side Note: Sports Betting Regulation In South Africa VS Other Countries
South Africa’s stance on the legality of betting services not offering poker or casino games, and on sports
and horse racing events have already been known. But how do these rules compare to other countries?
The United Kingdom also loves sports. Just as it is in SA, betting on sports events is totally legal, as long
as it is with licensed betting operators. This activity is regulated by the United Kingdom Gambling
In Australia too, sports betting is legal, but unlike SA that has regulatory bodies monitoring services,
there is no stated legislation that monitors how betting services are provided. Instead, regulation happens
at federal and state levels. The most noticeable restriction is in the inability to wager on in-play betting,
which cannot be done online.
The United States, legalized online sports betting to an extent in 18 states. No federal law bans betting on
the internet. This rule makes sure that the relationship between the US legal system and the betting
industry is due to the state’s ability to support or restrict gambling.
Lastly, South Africans and the Irish share an interest in sports events, and as such, betting with a licensed
betting operator is legal.
Why Is Sports Betting So Popular In South Africa?
Over the years, online sports betting in South Africa has become popular, with many people especially
youngsters engaging in it. This activity is a source of income and enjoyment to South Africans who wager
on sports regularly.
But, why is sports betting so popular in South Africa? We have answered this question below:
- Majority Of South Africans Love Sports
Most South Africans love sports, and are not ashamed to show support for events surrounding cricket,
football, hockey, tennis, rugby, basketball, horse racing, boxing, and motorcycle races. Also, European
leagues are popular among SA locals who often hold discussions about it.
South African gamblers wager on sports as much as they have passion for it. Several outcomes they
wager on include – number of goals scored, match results, and player scores.
- Growth In Moblile Sports Betting
The establishment of online South African football betting, in turn contributed to the rise of mobile sports
betting. Over 23 million South Africans have a smartphone and can easily access betting sites on the
- Simple Sports Betting Regulation
South Africa is top of the list in African countries, when it comes to managing online sports betting
The gambling regulations put in place by the government, will regulate the market and benefit both
gamblers and sportsbooks. Due to this, international online sports betting firms, have set up branches in
the country, to enjoy its liberal betting regulations.
The entry of international sportsbooks and local betting platforms, have made the sportsbetting business
more competitive. As a result, aggressive marketing campaigns are used to draw thousands of South
Africans to online sports betting.
- Enticing Bonuses
Bonuses help to increase the total earnings of bettors, however they are more complex than they seem.
Betting sites offer a sign up bonus that’ll match an initial deposit of 100% up to 100 euros. This bonus
isn’t very good, but it is more than what other sportsbooks are offering.
A 100% deposit bonus, gives you the opportunity to double your money. Due to this bonus, you may get
twice the amount of your money with the first stake on the site. But, ensure that you follow the wagering
requirements associated with each bonus before you withdraw your earnings.
Tips And Tricks For Successful Sports Betting In South Africa
If you want to earn big from sports betting in South Africa, or avoid falling into the hands of dishonest
websites that cheat you out of your money, follow these tips and tricks:
- Do Your Research
Know the teams, players, and the statistics thoroughly. The more knowledge you have about a sport, the
better your chances of placing a successful bet.
- Shop For The Best Odds
Different bookmakers can offer different odds for the same event, so it is benefical to compare odds
before you wager. Also, ensure that you shop around for the best betting lines.
- Don’t Let The Hype Stun You
Do not get too caught in the hype. Just because every other bettor is backing a team, doesn’t mean they’ll
win. Sometimes going against the grain and betting on an underdog, can pay you.
Legal South African Betting Websites
There are some licensed and regulated sites that has the Western Cape Gambling and Racing Board’s
stamp of approval to take bets from South African residents.
● Willaim Hill
● GG Gaming
● Hollywood Bets
● Playa Bets
● Lucky 365
Note, sites not on this list are not approved legal betting sites in South Africa.
Where Does The Revenue For Sports Betting Go?
The South African gambling revenue witnessed a surge, merging into one number gotten from markets
like Casino gaming, the Lottery, sports bets, bingo, and several machines that let bettors gamble.
Projected revenue for 2020 was almost $2 billion.
Horse racing has seen the most action so far, of all the gambling markets in the country; others are
growing too, including sports wagerig.
Following the official legalization of online sports betting, SA earned a good amount in revenue which
has increased over time. The revenue is invested back into the gaming industry, which is why gambling
has high developed in the country.
South Africa works hard to ensure that citizens choose legal methods of gambling which can benefit both
the country’s economy and user’s experience.
Sportsbetting is on the rise in South Africa, and more bookies and operators are likely to advertise their
services to locals. Gambling operators who are already licensed, may also get the opportunity to expand
With the attention sportsbetting constantly gets from punters across the world, and in SA too, regulation
is important to keep this popularity in check.
Although, we can’t shift the focus from the fact that this industry will continue to expand in the years to
come. So far, nothing has hindered its growth, which is good news for sportsbetting and lottery fans.