This article is a complete guide on gambling in South Africa. Of all the African countries, South Africa has the most mature gambling market, which is tightly regulated and allows most forms of gambling, including sports betting (both land-based and online), live casino gambling, bingo and lottery games. South Africans enjoy betting on the football and rugby, gambling at licensed land-based casinos, playing bingo and the lottery.
Types of Gambling in South Africa
- Lotteries: The South African Lotto is the most popular form of gambling in South Africa in terms of the number of participants.
- Land-Based Casinos: South Africa has around 40 licensed land-based casinos offering slot machines, table games and video poker games.
- Sports Betting: There are a wide range of sports betting companies operating both online and in-person in South Africa, allowing you to bet on every major sport and league locally and around the world.
- Online Gambling: There are licensed horse racing and online sports betting sites approved by the gambling boards of each of the nine provinces in South Africa. Although gambling on offshore online gambling sites accepting players from South Africa has been banned.
Featured Gambling Sites
Lotteries in South Africa
Established in 2000, the South African National Lotto is a national game played throughout the country. The main lottery draw game is called Lotto 6/49 because as its name implies you choose 6 numbers between 1 and 49. The jackpot is shared between the players who guess all 6 numbers.
The South African National Lottery draw has created a long list of millionaires. If you're not sure which numbers to go with, you can always go with the quick pick option that is available. In addition to buying tickets at lottery agents, you can also purchase tickets online.
Gambling Legislation and Regulation in South Africa
Most forms of gambling is legal and regulated in South Africa. In 1994, South Africa became a democracy, and gambling was legalized in 1996, including the national lottery, bingo, sports betting and casino gambling. Officials in parliament knew gambling in different forms was taking place, albeit illegally, and setting up a regulatory framework would make gambling safer for the citizens.
As part of the regulatory gambling reforms, the National Responsible Gambling Programme (NRGP) was set up to provide responsible gambling training to all industry employees in South Africa. During the late 90s and early 2000s, there was significant growth in the development of land-based casinos in South Africa, and within 8 years, gaming revenue derived from brick-and-mortar casinos had doubled.
However, South Africa has a tough stance when it comes to online gambling. The National Gambling Act of 2004 prohibited operators from offering online gambling services to citizens of South Africa. This applies to online casino, online bingo and online poker games. The National Gambling Amendment Act of 2008 that seeks to legalize and regulate online gambling in South Africa has yet to come into effect.
With that being said, online horse race betting and online sports betting is allowed, provided the operator holds an appropriate bookmaker's licence issued by one of the South African provinces, or is using an online betting website with a proper licence.
Despite the strict online gambling laws in South Africa, there is still a number of offshore online gambling operators that welcome players from South Africa and even accept the South African Rands (ZAR). Considering the online gambling laws are geared towards the online gaming operators, there are many people in South Africa who play at online casinos, although it's not recommended that South Africans participate in gambling deemed illegal online.
Although better online gambling laws in South Africa could be a real possibility in the not too distant future, since a draft bill of the Remote Gambling Bill was introduced in the parliament in 2014. The online gambling bill was actually published in South Africa's Government Gazette, allowing the public to share their opinions about the proposed online gambling legislation. If passed, the bill would open the door to many different types of legal and regulated online gambling.
Land Based Casinos in South Africa
There are more land-based casinos in South Africa than any other region on the African Continent. South Africa's main gambling hub is in Johannesburg, which is home to several land-based casinos, sports betting shops, and the Newmarket Racecourse.
Gold Reef City Casino Hotel in Johannesburg is the city's oldest casino, which is located right next to an awesome theme park going by the same name. The casino has 1600 gaming machines and a selection of 50 table games.
But there are land-based casinos in over 35 cities in South Africa. South Africa's largest casino is GrandWest Casino and Entertainment World, which is in Cape Town. The casino has more than 2500 slot and video poker machines, a wide range of table games, and a poker room.
The Carnival City Casino in Brakpan is owned by the Sun International hotel group and is one of the nation's largest casino. The casino gaming floor boasts 1750 of the latest slot machines. There is also 60 table games, including American Roulette, Blackjack, Baccarat, Poker and Punto Banco.
It should go without saying that you won't have much difficulty finding a luxurious land-based casino in South Africa to play your favorite casino gambling games.
Sports Gambling in South Africa
Horse race betting has always been popular in South Africa, with 12 race tracks scattered around the country, but the totalizers now have to compete with the growing number of land-based and online sportsbooks.
South Africans like to bet on both local and international sporting events and punters will be able to place wagers on horse races in the traditional bookmakers as well. There is literally hundreds of betting shops you can walk into when in South Africa not to mention all of the top online sports betting websites below.
Online Sports Betting in South Africa
The South African gambling laws permit online horse racing betting and online sports betting at licensed online operators approved by one of the South African state gambling boards. The largest provider of betting licenses is issued by the Western Cape Gambling Board.
Since online sports betting is legal in South Africa, you shouldn't have much of a problem finding one that suits your needs and has good welcome bonus promotions. When choosing an online sportsbook to do your sports gambling in South Africa, you should go with one that is reputable and known for processing payouts quickly.
Some of the top online sportsbooks operating in the South African market include Sportingbet, Bet365 and Sportsbet.co.za. They all offer mobile services to facilitate mobile betting. Many South Africans like to bet on all the popular sports leagues in South Africa like the Super Rugby, T20, as well as all of the popular international sporting events and sports leagues around the world.
About South Africa
South Africa is located in Southern Africa. With a population of 53 million people, South Africa has the second largest economy in Africa. The country is very diverse with many different languages spoken. English is a commonly spoken language and used for business, politics, as well as in the media. No persons under the age of 18 is allowed to gamble, whether in-person or on the Internet.