Best Betting Sites in South Africa

Created by potrace 1.10, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2011
Last update by on : 20 March 2020

Where can we bet securely and which are the leading bookmakers in South Africa?

To find a reputable and trustworthy online bookmaker in South Africa will not be an easy task, so we provide you with a table with the leading betting websites in the country. All of them have a big name in the industry, so they deserve a try.

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Gambling in South Africa has enjoyed a checkered past, from being completely banned, to currently being mostly (but not completely) legalized and regulated. Although South Africans are limited to national companies when it comes to betting online, there are still several large brands that they can choose from, and enjoy their time.

Interesting Facts about Betting in South Africa

  • The first casino in South Africa was built in 1974, and the country now has 38
  • Annual revenue from 2019 is expected to exceed R30 billion
  • South Africa has one of the largest gambling markets in Africa
  • Casinos make up 72% of the market’s total revenue
  • Even though casinos generate more money, the most popular form of gambling is the lottery
  • Annually, illegal gambling costs the government over R140 million in lost taxes

Gambling Legislation and Laws

Gambling was illegal in South Africa until 1996, when the government created the 1996 National Gambling Act. This allowed gambling to be regulated by the National Gambling Board (NGB) and also allowed provinces to dictate and give out their own licenses to operate within their boundaries. The country also passed the 2004 National Gambling Act, which approved certain types of online gambling (mostly just sports betting), but not online casinos.

The law also states that online gambling services based outside of the country are not legally allowed to offer their services to South Africans – they are limited to what the country offers them.

Top Online betting Websites in South Africa

Although it may appear that the online gaming market is relatively limited in South Africa, that is not the case. Some high-quality betting vendors offer their services to punters, including:

Betway South Africa is affiliated with the original Betway from the UK, but this localized brand means that they can get around the legal side of things. The site is one of the most popular in the country and only continues to grow. The site is simple and easy to use, and punters can enjoy a wide range of sports to bet on, that include local tournaments and matches, as well as international ones.

Sportingbet is currently the largest online gambling site in South Africa and has been for a while now. It was one of the first online sportsbooks, and the company has existed since 1997. Although the company originated in Cape Town, it has grown and now offers services to almost 30 other countries globally. Their popular and most extensive market is undeniably rugby betting. However, they offer several other sports to bet on, as well as a variety of different betting types.

1xbet has over 400,000 users globally, including many in South Africa. This is an international site, but they strive to make it as accessible as possible for a wide range of punters. The site is full of everything you need to know, while still being easy to navigate, as well as fun. The site’s primary focus for South Africans is also rugby, but they also offer betting on television games as well, which is somewhat of a novelty in the South African market.

Competition between Operators

Luckily for South African punters, there is no monopoly operating either online or offline. Although Sun casinos owned and operated the majority of the casinos in the country at one point, they have since branched out, and there are a diverse number of vendors on the market. This is beneficial to punters because it means that market competition freely exists, and bookmakers are constantly offering competitive odds, and different sports and betting options. Users can pick and choose the site that works best for them.

Bonuses from South African Bookmakers

South Africans are spoilt for choice when it comes to all of the bonuses and promotions that they are offered. Bookmakers try and entice new users by providing a range of rewards, and users can choose a site that offers promotions that are most compatible with their betting interests.

When registering for a betting site, most will offer their new customers a welcome bonus. These often appear very exciting – most sites offer bonuses in the range of R500 – R1,000. Usually, they match the amount of the customers’ first deposit. Punters should always be wary because although these welcome bonuses seem large, they often come with extensive wagering requirements before any winnings can be withdrawn.

Although new users can receive these benefits, existing members are also encouraged to continue to use the site. There are always ongoing bonuses for customers, and these are often more diverse than the welcome bonuses. Punters can receive increased odds on specific games, double their winnings, and free bets. These promotions occasionally change, so users should frequently check the promotions page to ensure they are not missing out on anything.

Betting Features and Options in the South African Bookmakers

South African bookmakers offer their punters a range of different services for clients, to make their experience as enjoyable as possible. Some of the features that are widely offered include:

Live Betting
This service allows users to continue to bet on an event, even after it has started. Traditional betting must be done before the event has started, and uses odds based on previous events. With live betting, bettors can continue to gamble as events unfold, using odds that reflect what is happening and are changing in real-time.

Live Streaming
This allows users to watch a sporting event in real-time through the betting site. This is an excellent service, especially for games that are not televised or not freely televised. Punters can still see what they have bet on, and enjoy the sport as well as the betting. Most sites require that you have a minimum balance before you can access live streaming services, but this should not be an issue for those who were going to bet anyway.

Cash Out
This is a service that allows punters to exit bets early if they wish to. Punters can withdraw their bet, and take winnings based on the odds at the time, to avoid losing a bet if they stick it out to the end. Most sites will offer partial cash-out option, and/or an automatic option, where a bet is ended as soon as odds hit a certain point. This should not be considered a method that allows users to withdraw money to their bank account, just out of a bet.

Bet Builder
Bet builders have different names on different sites, but the premise remains the same. Users can combine many different bets together, for better odds, and greater winnings if all of the bets are successful, compared to placing separate bets. Most sites allow some flexibility with these builders, and punters can choose exactly what bets they want to include, and how many bets. The chance of increased winnings comes with increased risk though – if any of the bets in the bet builder lose, the whole bet builder loses.

Available Payment Methods

There are a number of different payment methods that are widely accepted to deposit and withdraw money from gambling sites. These include Visa and Mastercard credit/debit cards, bank transfers, as well as 1-Voucher. The majority of these options are free, and while most of them are instantaneous, the bank transfers can take up to 3 working days to process. Punters should note that most betting sites will only allow you to withdraw money using the same method that you used to deposit it.

One of the benefits of having an online gambling market that must be based within South Africa means that it will always accept the local currency. South Africa uses Rand (ZAR), and punters can place bets using this. When punters use illegal international sites, they will frequently have to convert their currency, and while most sites offer this service, they can charge high conversion fees. This is just another reason to stick to local, legal sites.

Mobile Betting in South Africa

With the rise of smartphones, mobile betting is becoming the new way to bet online and is almost as famous as betting on a desktop site. Practically all reputable betting sites in South Africa offer a mobile version of their website and an app to download. These are generally free and work for both Apple and Android devices. These apps contain all of the content and options that can be found on the main site, but in an easier to navigate format for small, touch screens. This allows punters the convenience of betting wherever and whenever they want.

Online Casinos

At a national level, it is illegal for any South African to gamble on online casinos, as they were not legalized when other forms of online gambling were. Despite this, there are still a number of betting sites that offer casino services to punters. As it stands, there is no risk of prosecution for punters who do access these sites, which mean that a lot of people try their luck. It should be essential to note that due to their illegal nature, there is no legal support if something goes wrong with an offshore betting site.

Leading Sports for Betting in South Africa

Because sports betting is one of the only legal forms of online gambling in the country, it enjoys unrivalled popularity. The country itself is known to be very good at a number of sports, and betting on games remains a common pastime. Here are some of the most popular sports to bet on:

  • Football
    Football is the most popular sport in the world to play, and South Africa loves the sport also. They hosted the FIFA World Cup in 2010, and they were the first African country to do this. Since then, gambling on the sport has increased, and all sites offer extensive coverage of the national team, locally referred to as Bafana Bafana.
  • Cricket
    Cricket is another team sport that South Africa performs exceptionally well. The country annually competes in the Cricket World Cup and betting on the sports spikes whenever the national team is playing. If punters are not interested in the national team, most sites will allow betting on inter-state tournaments, and provide a range of different betting options.
  • Rugby
    Rugby is one of the most popular sports in the country, and it is no wonder. The national team are consistently one of the best teams in the world, and many people follow the sport. All South African betting sites offer extensive coverage of the sport at an international level, so punters can bid on teams from other countries, but also at a local state level, for something closer to home.
  • Tennis
    Although this is one of the lesser-played sports in the country, it still enjoys a healthy betting following. Many people enjoy the fast-paced matches, and there is always extensive coverage of the major international tournaments such as the US Open and Wimbledon.
  • Boxing and MMA
    This is a betting market that is relatively new compared to some of the other sports, but the following behind it is growing. Boxing and MMA are played in South Africa, but they are not as popular as they are overseas, so the majority of the betting markets focus on international events. But if they are interested, punters can follow along with UFC or other popular tournaments, placing their bets and often watching live streams of events.

The Profile of a South African Bettor

Relatively little is known about South African bettors, other than the fact that more and more people are beginning to bet, and online gambling is becoming more popular, while the number of offline gaming venues also continues to rise.

The advent of mobile gambling apps has increased the ease with which people can bet and has played a significant part in betting within the country.


Is online gambling legal in South Africa?

Are there any taxes for South African players on their winnings?

Can I bet using Rand?

How to find the best betting app for South Africa?

Are there any betting restrictions for South African players?

Is betting on foreign websites safe?

Our Verdict

Gambling in South Africa has come a long way since its’ blanket ban in the ’90s during Apartheid, but it is still not as progressive as several other international markets. The South African government recognizes that they are losing millions of Rand in taxes due to the illegal online casinos that still operate, which also leave South Africans open to fraud. Every so often, there is the talk of extending and better regulating the online market, but until that happens, South Africans should just stick to sports betting online just to be safe.

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