The South African online sports betting industry is one of the safest and most trustworthy in the world due to the high level of government protection, licensing and regulation.
South Africa has taken a mixed approach to online betting. The wider industry, covering casinos, poker and bingo, was made illegal in the National Gambling Act of 2004. This included both provision of games and the participation in them. This was re-enforced in 2010 when a High Court judgment decided that games provided by companies based outside South Africa were also illegal.
The good news for sport bettors, however, is that betting on horse racing and online sportsbooks is not covered by this ban.
You can choose from several domestic or international companies to bet online, and it is all perfectly legal. All online licenses issued within South Africa are done so by the gambling and racing boards of the nine provinces with the largest being the Western Cape Gambling and Racing Board.
Only Sports Betting is Legal in South Africa!
You may have heard that sports betting in South Africa is illegal, but that is absolutely false. In fact, sports betting is the exception to the rule – gambling is illegal in all other forms, but there are no restrictions on activities like football betting, cricket betting and rugby betting.
The National Gaming Board clarified things and made it crystal clear that sports betting is 100% legal in South Africa for those who were in doubt when they said: “The NGB wishes to make it emphatically clear that the answer to whether online or interactive gambling is legal in South Africa, is a simple and unequivocal NO with the exception of online sports betting.”
South African online sports betting is licensed and regulated in the Western Cape province, with Cape Town as its center. Traditionally, sports betting in South Africa has not been a large market, due to inconsistencies in the laws governing online sportsbooks.
After an announcement by the National Gambling Board in 2015, certain international online bookmakers operate in South Africa.
South African Sports Betting Legality
From 1994 to 2004, South Africa’s sports betting legality was clear. Under the last years of Nelson Mandela’s administration and the first years of Thabo Mbeki’s administration, online sports betting was legal in South Africa. The National Gambling Act of 2004 repealed the 1996 law which legalised most forms of gambling in South Africa.
Meanwhile, the National Gambling Board announced a policy in 2015 that contradicted the 2004 Gambling Amendment Act. While most forms of online gambling remain illegal, the National Gambling Board said that online sportsbooks and race books were legal.
Safety Of Online Sports Betting in South Africa
Since many legitimate online sportsbooks do not accept South African real money bettors, you should make sure you check all the rules and regulations when signing up with an offshore operator.
Even though the National Gambling Board has said sportsbooks can accept players, there are not many laws that protect South Africans if a website does not pay their winnings.
Online sports betting in South Africa is much safer now with the Western Cape Gambling and Racing Board. It licenses and regulates a few legitimate online sportsbooks.
Only register with the trusted, well-reputed and legitimate online sportsbooks that accepts South African sports bettors and which are licensed by the Western Cape Gambling and Racing Board.
Requirements for Catering to South African Sports Bettors
The best online sportsbooks in South Africa would be those that cater to the bettors’ needs in supporting deposits and withdrawals in the local currency – the South African rand (ZAR).
Catering to South African sports bettors requires payment methods which would support ZAR too.
Sportsbooks that cater to bettors in South Africa need to support the English language. No known legitimate betting sites support all of South Africa’s 11 official languages, unfortunately.
Those who prefer Afrikaans, Zulu, Swazi, Tsonga, Northern Sotho, Sotho, Ndebele, Tswana, Xhosa, and Venda may not be able to use a trusted online sportsbook since these languages may not be available for betting. It is the safest option to select an online sportsbook that supports the English language.
How to Bet Online in South Africa
Each sport is clearly listed on the sportsbook and the volume of possible bets can be a little overwhelming at first.
If you wish to form an accumulator, make your selections one at a time and these will all be added to the betslip. Once you are satisfied, double check it and then choose your type of bet (accumulator, doubles, trebles, etc.) before clicking ‘Place Bet’.
A projected return should be listed on your betslip and this is the amount that will be added to your account, should you win. Winnings are usually deposited within 30 minutes of the match ending.
Mobile Betting in South Africa
The rise of mobile phone technology has allowed bettors to place bets while on-the-go. Most online bookmaker/sportsbooks have a dedicated app or mobile website that allow their users to bet on all markets and odds through smartphones and tablets.
These can be easily downloaded and players can sign-up, make deposits and in most cases, watch live streaming of matches through a smaller screen.
Many of the apps also feature statistics and match results. A live betting feature is also available on mobile phone apps and sites to place in-play bets on the move.
South Africans lead busy lives and it isn’t always possible to access betting sites through a desktop. Apps are a terrific way of enjoying all of the same great advantages whether you are in the pub, on the train or at work during your break.
Live Betting and Streaming in South Africa
Live betting is extremely popular and this allows registered users to make bets once the match is underway. Most sportsbooks in South Africa offer live betting on a variety of sports with football, rugby, golf and cricket amongst the most popular sports in the rainbow nation.
This is ideal for those who have missed the start of a game and were unable to place a bet pre-match. It could also be beneficial for those who felt that the odds were not favourable before the game and are looking to make the most of the odds during it. There are a number of markets for sports betting that have constantly fluctuating odds.
Some online betting sites offer live streaming and this allows customers who have placed a bet to follow their selection by watching the action through the sportsbook’s site or mobile app.
Betting Deposits and Withdrawals in South Africa
You can deposit money in the local currency of rand (ZAR) and have your balance converted to US$ or Euros, although the value of your account between depositing and withdrawing may vary slightly due to the exchange rates so do keep this in mind.
For many sports bettors in South Africa, e-wallets are the easiest and most preferred option for deposits and withdrawals. Online payment companies have made it extremely easy for quick and cheap deposits and withdrawals from different sites.
South African bettors wanting to make deposits and withdrawals have access to Visa, MasterCard, i-Pay, EFT, and SID Instant EFT.
In South Africa, NETELLER and Skrill are among the current market leaders. Visa and MasterCard are also widely accepted, although MasterCard does not always allow you to process withdrawals, requiring you to request a cheque or bank transfer instead.
Most of the major banks are supported by the top South African betting sites. Anyone with an account at one of the “Big Four” banks — Standard Bank, Nedbank, First National Bank (FNB), or ABSA Bank Limited — should have no issues in making a deposit on reputed online sports betting platforms in South Africa.
Here are some of the most popular payment methods for online betting in South Africa:
Credit and Debit Cards
Credit and debit payments are one of the most popular methods of making deposits at South African betting sites given how familiar people are with the payment method.
Deposits and withdrawals are accepted by all major South African banks. The only drawback here is that withdrawals usually take a few days longer than e-payments.
MasterCard is a world-famous credit card network. These deposits are supported at South African sportsbooks. Deposits are free and immediate, with minimum and maximum limits between R10 and R1,000,000.
Visa is the world’s largest credit card network. These deposits are accepted at the legitimate online South African sportsbooks. Deposits are free and immediate, with minimum and maximum limits between R10 and R1,000,000.
NETELLER is like a bigger version of ecoPayz. South African betting sites commonly allow quick and easy electronic payments using NETELLER. Since international payments are common, NETELLER can be used whether you’re playing at a local site or when in Europe as well so you can literally bet from anywhere.
Skrill is easy to use in South Africa as there are many types of payments and money transfers available. Many of the best sports betting sites in South Africa list it as an option.
All you need to do is enter a username and password to access your account, just as you would for a regular betting site, which makes it quick and easy to deposit funds into your account.
i-Pay is a new online payment method for buyers and merchants. These deposits are available via SMS, Email, QR Code, and even via Push Payments. Deposits are free, but take 1 to 3 business days to appear.
Deposit limits are set at a minimum of R10 and maximum of R1,000,000.
EFT (Wire Transfer)
SID Instant EFT
The “Big 4” EFTs
ABSA Bank EFT
First National Bank EFT
Standard Bank EFT
Bitcoin sports betting has become increasingly common now. It is an available mode of payment at a lot of the top sports betting sites in South Africa.
Bitcoin is the most common cryptocurrency, but some sites also accept Ethereum, Litecoin, and more.
Taxation on South African Sports Bettors
Winnings from recreational betting are not subject to income tax, but it is still a good practice to declare winnings to the SARS as non-taxable income.
If you are a professional bettor, where betting is your primary source of income, you may be subjected to paying tax. However, for most of you, winnings will not be taxed.
The tax which applies to bettors is a 6% VAT deduction, which applies to all horse racing winnings.
Types of Betting Bonuses Available in South Africa
The most common type of bonus advertised to new users is a deposit bonus. This is not the case only in South Africa but all over the world.
When signing up for an account, the online sportsbook rewards its registered users with a first deposit bonus of some kind.
The percentage of bonus varies across online sports betting platforms.
Money back if you lose your first bet and free bets. This gives players a bit of freedom and confidence when starting off. These are virtually free bets being given to bettors for joining the sportsbook.
This is a way of rewarding players for joining a bookmaker and is a common method of keeping existing players interested and loyal.
The Most Popular Sports for Betting in South Africa
Football is the most popular sport in South Africa and it is no surprise. The nation had the privilege of being the first African nation to host the FIFA World Cup in 2010.
Football is not only the most popular spectacle and everyone’s favourite game in the country. It is also the most bet on sport in the rainbow nation.
The South African Premier Division, also known as the DStv Premiership, is the top flight of football in South Africa, which has been around since 1996.
South Africans love to bet on the domestic competitions as well as international leagues like the English Premier League and La Liga. You are likely to find these events on every South African sports betting platform.
Here are all the major football events that South Africans love to bet on.
The European Championships is celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2021.
55 nations will take part in the qualifying round starting in March 2019, with 24 teams progressing to the finals to be held next summer.
The Euros are a fantastic tournament that gives multiple opportunities for many to make lots of money through betting as history has proven.
Wales and Iceland did extremely well last time by upsetting some of the biggest teams and no one can forget Greece’s miraculous Euro 2004 victory.
The Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) is a biennial international football championship organised by the Confederation of African Football (CAF).
This is the one event that Africans look forward to the most. It is the continent’s most popular football competition so it is no surprise that this competition sees a lot of betting among passionate football fans supporting their countries.
The Premier League is one of the most popular domestic football competitions when it comes to South African sports betting.
Betting operators focus heavily on English football’s top flight, offering hundreds of markets on every match during the course of the season including first goal scorer, correct score, half-time/full-time betting, and even corner kicks!
It features the big clubs like Manchester City, Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool so there is a lot of betting given the love for Premier League clubs in Africa.
Originally formed in 1955 as the European Cup, the UEFA Champions League is one of the world’s biggest football competitions.
It is Europe’s premier club competition that sees all the top European clubs face off including the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich.
Bookmakers provide lots of sports betting opportunities during the tournament, with markets available on individual matches from the qualification rounds up to the final.
Whether you want to bet on results, goals markets or place outright bets, the Champions League is a great way to enjoy betting on football and the South Africans absolutely love it.
The Europa League is UEFA’s secondary club competition behind the Champions League, but it has steadily grown in popularity over the past few seasons given that the winner qualifies for the Champions League in the next season, and the competition increasing significantly in domestic leagues.
The perfect example of increased competition is the transition of the “Big 4” in England becoming a “Big 6” that could potentially be a “Big 8”.
Given that some of the top teams, especially in England, miss out on the Champions League, it has forced fans of those clubs to then tune into the Europa League to support their teams.
That is why it is not shocking to see the rise in popularity for betting on this event in South Africa.
South Africa’s national cricket team is one of the top teams in the world and is always highly ranked by the International Cricket Council (ICC), and with good reason.
The Proteas are former winners of the ICC Champions Trophy, and eight-time semi-finalists across major international competitions, including the Cricket World Cup, ICC T20 World Cup, and ICC Champions Trophy.
South Africans love to bet on the Proteas. The local Mzansi Super League is extremely popular for betting since its inception in 2018 as well.
From betting on the Rugby World Cup to Super Rugby, there is plenty of action for you to enjoy if you wish to bet in South Africa.
Although teams from Australia and New Zealand dominate Super Rugby, South African teams like the Sharks, Stormers and Bulls have won the competition in the past. Other popular events for betting are the Six Nations Championship and the Rugby Championship.
South Africa are a proud sporting nation and especially when it comes to rugby as the nation has won three World Cups (1995, 2007, 2019).
The South Africans are amongst the favourites to win the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France as well.
Horse racing is extremely popular in South African. Betting on the sport has been equally popular too.
Until recent years, horse racing was the most popular sport for betting in the country. With eight racing tracks, prestigious competitions like the Summer Cup at Turffontein, and 29 annual
Grade 1 races, it is easy to see why horse race betting has been so famous in the rainbow nation.
You can place bets on all the biggest horse races in the country. International horse races like the Kentucky Derby and Dubai World Cup are also available to South African bettors.
The Future of Sports Betting in South Africa
The National Gambling Amendment Act of 2008 has tried to establish legal online gambling in South Africa, although it has been actively opposed by anti-gambling groups and land-based casinos. The good news is, however, that sports betting is 100% legal in South Africa, as clarified by the National Gaming Board.
While sports betting remains legal, the country’s gambling laws impact which companies can advertise, and that has been a problem for many international sites that have casino games and poker available on their platforms. As the amendment gets worked through different legal stages, this may affect the online betting landscape in South Africa indirectly, which would in turn, affect online sportsbooks.
Currently, the online sports betting industry in South Africa is free to grow. If your focus is on online sports betting in South Africa, and not casino games, then you’ve got nothing to worry about.
Enjoy and join the party as there’s a lot of money to be won and lots of bets to place!