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South Africa is a country full of big and exciting things, like Table Mountain, it's 19,000-mile railway system and the most prominent game park in the world. It is exceptionally mineral-rich and provides the world with up to 90% of its needs for certain minerals and precious metals. South Africa also has a rich sporting history, being home to the Springboks national rugby team, a successful international cricket team and many other well-known sports personalities.

All forms of gambling were banned officially under The Gambling Act (1965) except horse racing. This ban remained in place for over 30 years, at which point The National Gambling Act (1996) came into force, meaning the lifting of many restrictions. At the same time, The National Gambling Board was put in place to oversee licensing and regulation of the industry. Since that time, sports betting had remained legal, even when The National Gambling Act (2004) banned all other forms of online betting.

As well as a love of cricket, boxing and athletics, many South Africans favour some unique regional sports such as Ringball and Jukskei. Residents of South Africa are not only fond of games, but they also love to wager on them as well. However, sports betting is under stringent regulation. As a resident, you are permitted to wager on any sport, either on or offline, provided the sportsbook holds a current South African licence and does not offer any other kind of gambling opportunities.

In this article, you will learn:

  • The history of South African sports betting
  • Legal and tax implications in the country
  • Which methods we use to rate sportsbooks

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Risk Warning / Ad Disclosure

Risk Warning: The products offered by the companies listed on this website carry a high level of risk and can result in the loss of all your funds. You should never risk money that you cannot afford to lose.

Ad Disclosure: Some of the links that you will find on this website are advertisements for which we do receive financial gain for referring new customers.

Players inSouth Africa

South Africa

As a recreational bettor in South Africa, you are most likely reading this guide to help you find a suitable sportsbook. Although you may be a little more limited in your choices than in other parts of the world, there are still plenty of opportunities for legal wagering. Before you make any firm decisions, we do suggest that you consider a few factors first:

Mobile Gambling

The technology behind South African sportsbooks is usually top level and will include live streaming or other ‘real time’ wagering opportunities. The majority of sportsbooks also cater well for mobile users, with most offering access to all of the same services as their website, usually without any download required. If mobile gambling is essential to you, please make sure you check your device and its operating system are suitable to avoid a disappointing experience.

Bonuses And Incentives

Because there is less competition than in some other countries, South African sportsbooks are not best known for offering big initial bonuses. Instead, their ploy is to provide the sports that the majority of participants like to wager on and then to give the best range of betting options designed to suit most clients. The overall aim for most operators is to generate customer loyalty and to enhance this; their longer-term incentives include Privilege Accounts and generous loyalty reward systems.

Great Payouts

For the large part, South African sportsbooks tend to operate using similar odds, particularly for the sports which most participants favour. The differences from there come in the form of wagering options (exotics, multiples, etc.), in-play bonuses with low playthrough requirements and live-play specials. Another area where they may differ is in fees charged and the speed of payout options. The actual cost is something you will need to review when selecting a sportsbook, as high fees for withdrawing funds might radically affect your overall profit.

Customer Support

To comply with strict South African licensing regulations and to be as competitive as possible, sportsbooks operators will provide a very high level of customer support. The majority have fast-response methods of contact, including a toll-free telephone number, live chat in addition to a web contact form or e-mail provisions. Staff members are usually knowledgeable and there are often specialist teams which look after different aspects such as technology, odds and financial matters.

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Sportsbook Fees And Tax

There are some taxes which are unavoidable for South African residents. For wagers on any form of horse racing, the government will automatically deduct 6% from your winnings to cover VAT. Otherwise, you are allowed to keep all of your winning amounts without penalty, unless you should be lucky enough for them to exceed R25,000, in which case you are required by law to declare them as income.

Otherwise, personal taxation is dealt with pretty much the same as in many other countries. If you are a self-employed ‘Sports Trader’ or class yourself as a sports betting ‘professional’ with income solely from your activities, then you will be liable for tax related to your income. If that should be the case, you will need to confirm percentages and tiers, because tax contributions are applied to individual states or territories, rather than to the South African nation as an entirety.

Fees levied by South African sportsbooks can vary. Generally speaking deposits to your sportsbook will be free of charge, but many do charge for withdrawals; in some cases, the amount is quite substantial. You may also be charged for currency conversion if you choose to gamble in anything but Rand. Some other services may be offered to you as an add-on to your account, usually on a subscription basis, but these will be extras to enhance your betting, rather than necessities.

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South African Licensing

The national government of South Africa passes the laws relating to gambling. Government laws are implemented and regulated entirely within the country itself and enforced by state or territory authorities. South African law does not allow gambling in any form; sports betting is the only exception to that.

South Africa is world-renowned for its robust licensing policies and for issuing exceptionally harsh penalties for infringement. Under South African law sports bettors are only legally permitted to gamble on sports and sporting events with licences issued by the following nine authorities:

  • Western Cape
  • Eastern Cape
  • Free State
  • Gauteng
  • North West
  • Northern Cape
  • Limpopo
  • KwaZulu-Natal
  • Mpumalanga

Each of the above has its own ‘Gambling and Racing Board’, the biggest being Western Cape, which issues the majority of South African licenses (around 50%).

If you are a South African resident, before you indulge in any form of gambling, including wagering on sports, we strongly advise you to check the validity of the sportsbook you choose. Gambling in the wrong place (in the eyes of South African law) is an offence punished by hefty fines, a criminal record and in some instances a prison term.

Although you may be a little more limited in your choices than in other parts of the world, there are still plenty of opportunities for legal wagering.

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How we Recommend Sportsbooks

We review and recommend sportsbooks all over the world using multiple factors. For those deemed suitable and legal for South African bettors, we have to be even more stringent, because of the legal implications. Initially, we check that the sportsbook holds a licence under the jurisdiction of one of the nine authorised South African state or territory commissions. We also confirm that the site does not offer any other form of gambling, which would render it unsuitable for you.

Next, we confirm that the sportsbook can offer desktop and mobile users a suitably high level of payment and data security. Any recommended site should display a VeriSign (or equivalent) logo, indicating that personal and payment data has protection using 128-Bit SSL encryption. We also check that all other parts of the website are suitably secure with https:// technology.

The next part is all about what the sportsbook offers that will make using it an enjoyable and pleasant experience. It is always good to receive a welcome bonus, but equally valid is how the operator looks after regular clients and it is still good to see a loyalty reward scheme in place. We also look at the number of sports available to wager on, the odds, betting options and look out for ‘novelty’ betting. Last but not least, we verify that the customer support team is easy to contact and offers acceptable response times.

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  • Gaming Experience
  • Banking & Payouts
  • Software And Security
  • Bonuses & Promotions
  • Mobile Gambling
  • Special Features
  • Customer Support

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Risk Warning / Ad Disclosure

Risk Warning: The products offered by the companies listed on this website carry a high level of risk and can result in the loss of all your funds. You should never risk money that you cannot afford to lose.

Ad Disclosure: Some of the links that you will find on this website are advertisements for which we do receive financial gain for referring new customers.

Frequently Asked Questions


Is online gambling in South Africa legal and safe?

Yes! sports betting legal in South Africa. Although, you can only wager on sports with an operator licensed in South Africa.

Do I need to pay fees and taxes on my winnings?

At the time of writing, unless declared as a professional gambler, you will not be taxed on winnings from most types of sports wagers. The exception is horse racing, where 6% VAT is deducted from winnings.

Can I test sportsbooks before betting with real money?

Currently, there are no legal South African sportsbooks that offer this type of service. If you are a beginner, it is worth seeking out a well-known operation.

Is it easy to make deposits and withdrawals?

Ease of use varies considerably between the legal sportsbooks in South Africa. If you have a particular need in terms of how you want to fund your account, you may need to do a bit of extra research to find a suitable option.

Can I bet using my mobile or tablet device?

Generally speaking, South African sportsbooks are up to date technologically speaking. The majority offer access to all of their services from all types of mobile device, regardless of the operating system.

Meet The Author
Adam Hope
Adam Hope
Sports Analyst

Adam has been an author for us since our launch in 2012. When it comes to all thing’s sports and betting, Adam knows his stuff. Having worked in the industry for most of his adult life in a variety of positions he’s definitely experienced.

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