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Where to bet safely in South Africa and Which online bookmakers to join?

In the table below, we have outlined some of the top online bookmakers which accept players from South Africa. They are all reputable companies with strong positions in the market, so you can give them a try.

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  • Currency: Rand – ZAR
  • Population: 56,720,000
  • Active Players: 10,000,000
  • Designated Authority: The National Gambling Board
  • Regulated Gambling Products: Horse Racing, Bingo, odds Sports betting, Casino Games, Poker, Betting Exchanges, Lottery
  • Types of Operators: Online operators and land-based operators

Did you know that:

  • Players playing for fun are not taxed
  • Professional players need to pay a tax of 6%
  • Horse racing winnings are also subject to a tax of 6%
  • Mobile gambling is not as popular as playing on your laptop or computer
  • Gauteng generates the most revenue from gambling compared to all other South African regions combined

Gambling in South Africa

The issues surrounding gambling in South Africa can be a bit confusing. South Africa is located at the southernmost part of Africa, holding a total population of about 56 million people. In South Africa, land-based gambling entities are quite famous and act as a source of revenue from the tourism sector; this is because some of the best land-based casinos are found here. Online gaming is, however, illegal in the country; the South African government has taken strict measures to curb online gaming in the country.

The government is keen to take stern measures on people found to be actively pursuing online gaming. The question remains why a country that embraces land-based gaming activities would be so adamant to online gaming activities. The reason is that the government is afraid that the legalization of online gaming will lead to gambling addiction. An issue it is trying to fight; there have also been cases where illegally obtained cash has been used on online gaming sites with players using online gaming sites as means of hiding this earned cash unlawfully.

The other reason why the South African government is adamant in legalizing online gaming is the fear that online gaming sites will overtake land-based gaming sites which provide revenue and are a source of tourist attractions. Some of the popular land-based gaming sites in South Africa include Monte casino, Emperors Palace, and Sun City Resort.

Since the inception of South Africa’s Gambling Act of 1965, there have been so many changes realized in the gaming laws in South Africa. The government in the country has a very bad attitude towards gambling, more specifically towards online gambling. In 1994, the government decided to lift the ban on gambling activities and a more comprehensive system in the National Gambling Act of 1996 was introduced. Enactment of the 1996 National Gambling Act gave authority to the National Gaming Board, and they were allowed to provide licenses to both land-based gaming entities and also online sportsbooks.

In 2004, the National Gambling Act banned all forms of online gambling in South Africa. Further, in 2011, the updated gambling laws made it clear that online gaming was restricted within the borders of South Africa. The new laws offered new opportunities for land-based and sports betting gaming entities. In South Africa, the online form of online gaming that is allowed is sports betting. The online sportsbooks are required to provide a license obtained from one of the provinces.

Online gambling sites that are located outside South African borders are not allowed to offer services to the residents of South Africa. In the present day, it is illegal for a citizen in South Africa using the IP address of the county to place bets with online gaming sites. However, licensed and regulated operators can still offer their services. The penalty for persons, online gaming sites, and banks that are found facilitating online gaming stands at 10 million Rand or ten years in prison or both.

Do South African Players get restricted by some bookmakers? Why?

Even though online gaming is illegal in South Africa, most of the online bookmakers still offer their services to South African players. Some bookmakers such as Mr Green and 888 readily welcome players from South Africa. The citizens of South African are also not deterred by the gambling laws in the country, and the number of online gamers keeps rising. The reason is that the gambling laws in South Africa are geared towards online gaming and not individuals. There are plenty of bookmakers for players to choose from. The bookmakers offer quality services and plenty of games for players.

How much tax do you pay on gambling winnings in South Africa?

In South Africa, gambling winnings are taxed depending on the reason for gambling. For instance, players who gamble for fun are not prone to taxation. The player is required to declare these winnings to SARS as a non-taxable income. For players who undertake gambling activities as a full-time job, the SARS requires them to maintain their winnings which are then taxed according to standard protocol.

The tax includes a 6% VAT and is also subject to all horse racing winnings.

About the gambling market

In South Africa, there exists competition between various bookmakers. The domestic gambling market is dominated by SunBet bookmaker, which is a land-based gambling site. However, even though no other land-based bookmaker in the country competes with SunBet, they are overtaken by BetOlimp and Betting World, which are online gambling sites that hold a gambling license in South Africa. These online bookmakers offer high odds and also good betting markets to players in South Africa and other territories. Other bookmakers are legally operating in South Africa and include Betta Bets, GoldRush, TopBet among others.

When we talk about international betting sites that serve South African players, we can say that 1xBet tops the list of the most preferred international betting site in the country. There are other international betting sites in the country, such as 22Bet, Betrally, and Melbet that offer exciting bonuses and sports betting games.

South Africa’s top bookmakers

To provide gambling services to South African players, bookmakers are required to follow strict rules and regulations laid down by the licensing authorities in the country. When you decide to sign up with any bookmaker in the country, you need to know which bookmaker is licensed to avoid facing severe consequences. Some of the bookmakers that you can trust as a South African player include 1×Bet, Betrally, 22Bet, SportPesa, Nairabet, among others.


This online bookmaker was established in 2006. It is a great sportsbook, and over the years, it has been operational in the gambling market Betway has managed to make a name for itself. They are licensed and regulated in the UK, Malta and more. They offer good bonuses and promotions, a wide variety of games and excellent customer service. In terms of odds, the bookmaker provides incredibly competitive and very high odds.

  • Pros
  • They have a great selection of markets
  • Offer some of the most competitive odds in the market
  • The site supports over 40 languages
  • They offer live streaming services
  • They have dedicated apps for both mobile and desktops
  • Cons
  • Sometimes limiting winning players


This sportsbook operates in several countries in the world. These countries include Kenya, Italy, Tanzania, and the United Kingdom. The bookmaker headquarters is in Kenya and offer a wide variety of sports and a huge betting market. When compared to other sports betting platforms, SportPesa has some of the best odds.

  • Pros
  • They have low minimum deposit limits
  • They offer flexible gaming options
  • An impressive customer support team
  • Cons
  • They have a limited number of payment methods.


Hollywoodbets is one of the leading sportsbooks in the gambling market today. It has rapidly grown since its establishment and has diversified across several countries. The sportsbook has its headquarters in Nigeria and Hollywoodbets has grown to serve other African countries, including South Africa. They offer up to 20 different sports categories and has diverse betting markets. They also have some of the best and highly competitive odds.

  • Pros
  • They have well-structured betting markets especially for football fans
  • Offer highly competitive odds
  • Offer outstanding mobile betting options
  • Cons
  • Online casino needs improvement
  • Bonuses and promotions are quite limited

What to consider when choosing a betting site in South Africa?

As a South African player, you need to factor in some things before you decide to place bets on a particular betting site. As you are well aware, the regulations pertaining to gambling in South Africa are pretty harsh, and you do not want to find yourself in trouble for playing at an unlicensed bookmaker. For your safety as well, consider the following factors before joining any online bookmaker.

  1. Betting Site reputation
    This should be among the first things you have to consider when you join an online bookmaker site. As a player, entering a betting site with a good reputation will not give you any problems in the near future as compared to when you join a bookmaker with a poor reputation. To enable you to get details on the reputation of a betting site, you need to do your research by googling the betting site. Read the reviews available as this will give you a good picture of the betting site.

  2. Welcome bonuses and promotional offers
    What draws a player to a betting site are the bonuses and promotions offered. The most betting site will give you free bets, welcome bonuses, and other incentives to draw you to their website. Some terms and conditions have to be met before you are rewarded with the bonuses. You need to go through each of them since some of them might not be as good as the bonuses.

  3. Customer service
    Choose a betting site with a reliable customer care system. You do not want to join a betting site where you will go for days on end without reply to your questions or without your problems been solved. Also, choose a betting site with a customer service that supports multiple languages, in this case, the betting site for a South African player should be able to support the English language although most betting sites do.

  4. Payment options
    As a South African player, choose a betting site that supports the country’s currency that is the ZAR currency. You should also consider the payment methods available; they should be trusted ways and ones that are well known, including Visa, MasterCard, e-wallet methods, among others.

  5. Do they accept players from your country?
    Betting sites should also be those that accept players from South Africa. Choose a betting site that has legally obtained a gambling license from South Africa gambling authority.

The most popular betting features and options in South Africa

Some of the betting sites available for South African players give you amazing features and promotions for you to choose from. They include:

  • For example, Nairabet will provide you with a diverse number of betting options. The football betting section offers players about 30 betting options including 1X2, Over/Under and the HT/FT markets. You can also enjoy betting options from racing events as well.
  • Players can enjoy using the bet slip option; where they can place single bets or multiple-bets that combine multiple events.
  • Live betting features are also available on several sportsbooks such as Nairabet and 1xBet. Live betting events are featured on some games such as football, tennis, hockey, and basketball.
  • There is the cash-out option that allows players to savage their bet slips. This can be done through cashing out on your bet before the event comes to an end. With this option, you can keep some of your profits and minimize losses.
  • Live streaming is another feature made available by some sportsbooks in South Africa. Virtual sports are live-streamed by the Nairabet sportsbook. Other sportsbooks such as 22Bet offer live streaming services for football matches and other games.

Available bonuses for South African players

Most of the bookies offering services to South African players offer bonuses and promotions as a way of attracting players. As a norm, most of these bookies offer welcome offers, for example, if you choose to play at SportPesa you will receive a matching-deposit welcome bonus of up to a certain sum. Other offers are given to loyal customers such as birthday bonuses, and VIP Loyalty Programs at offered by online bookies such as 1xBet.

The favourite sports of South African bettors

South Africans are known for their huge love of sports. This is the reason why almost all South African bettors will find themselves placing bets on their favourite sports while vouching for their favourite teams. Some of the most common sports in South Africa include:

  • Cycling
    In South Africa, there are very many cycling routes in Cape Town and Peninsula that offer cyclers great experiences. South Africans will find themselves placing bets on their favourite cyclers, hoping that they will turn their bets into profits.
  • Rugby
    This is a common sport among South Africans. They have registered a population of over 400,000 as rugby players. Rugby is the second most popular sport in the country. They also have a team that competes in international events, and you will find South African players placing bets on their National team during these events.
  • Golf
    South African has some of the best golf courses in the world. Thus, golf is among the leading sport among South Africans.
  • Cricket
    South Africa has a cricket National team known as The Proteas which is named after the country’s national flower. They also take part in cricket tournaments giving bettors in the country an opportunity of placing bets on them.
  • Football
    Although it is not among the favourite sports of South Africans, a total of two million people are said to enjoy playing football. They also enjoy placing bets on football matches, and they also have teams that have played in the World Cups, and they also hosted the 2010 World Cup tournament.

Are online casinos popular on the market?

Yes. Online casinos are a common thing among South African bettors even though the South African government is against online gambling. South Africans always find a way to play their favourite games since the government has not yet put up stringent measures on individuals who engage in online gambling. These online bookies are quite accommodating to South African players even though they are fully aware of the legal laws. They offer them good bonuses, attractive betting odds, and different games such as slots, table games, and poker for them to keep coming back.

Currency and Preferred payment methods in South Africa

South Africa’s online bookies offer several secure and reliable banking methods. Players from the country will be able to make deposits and withdrawals easily using a wide range of methods. Players are also given the opportunity of playing using their local currency known as South African Rand/zar. The banking methods available for South Africans include debit or credit cards, e-wallets, among others.

Bookies with mobile apps for South African customers

South African bettors find it pretty easy to gamble from their mobile devices. Numerous sports betting apps can be accessed via mobile. They are compatible with Android, Windows phones, iPhone and iPad users. The most common apps include 22Bet mobile app, 1×Bet mobile app, and others.


Is it legal to gamble in South Africa?

According to the National Gambling Act of 2004, it is illegal to practice online gambling. In 2010, placing bets with online bookmakers was banned.

When I play at an online bookie in South Africa, can I enjoy all services of the bookie?

Yes. Of course, you can, there are no restrictions on what you can or cannot enjoy form the online bookie.

Are there any other laws that apply to online gambling in South Africa?

The law first prohibits online gambling on South African borders. However, there have been no incidences where individuals or bookies were prosecuted for offering online gambling services in the country.

Can I place bets through my mobile device?

Yes, many of the bookmakers which are operating in South Africa provide mobile apps and mobile website version of their services. They are accessible from all type of devices, including iOS and Android.

Can I register in a website if the bookmaker doesn’t accept the local currency?

Yes, you can, but you should know that when you transact money in Rands to and from your account, there would be an automatic conversion of the currencies.

Final Comments

The National Gambling Act of 2004 admonished all forms of online betting in South Africa. However, this has not stopped bettors from the country from placing their bets at some of the top bookmakers in South Africa. Online bookmakers in South Africa have not withdrawn their services to South African bettors, and sports betting websites in South Africa continue to flourish.

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