South Africa is hit or miss when it comes to gambling. There are at least 20 brick-and-mortar casinos to visit if offline gambling is your thing. However, online casino gambling is illegal per the National Gambling Act 2004.
That’s not to say that you can’t do it, just that there are risks. You’ll have to determine if the risks are worth the rewards. We can’t do that for you. Just know that there are lots of South Africans who continue to play regardless.
If you’re interested in joining them, you can reduce your overall risk by joining a quality casino. We have a few for you to choose from in the list below. Pick any one of them and join now. We can all but guarantee that you’ll have a great time online.
Are you feeling a little skeptical? We wouldn’t blame you if you were. Online gambling can be risky, more so if you choose the wrong casino.
That’s why our team performs a deep dive into every casino we recommend. It’s important to us that we only recommend the best casinos to our readers. We only succeed when you have a great time.
What’s more is that we’re customers at the casinos we recommend. You can feel a little bit better knowing that if we trust a casino with our money and information, you can too.
If that doesn’t make you feel any better, that’s okay. Maybe take a few minutes to read the rest of this guide. We cover gambling in South Africa, suggest games to play based on specific interests, and detail how we go about choosing casinos to join.
By the time you’re done, you should have a pretty good idea of how we do things and why you can trust our recommendations.
An Overview of Casino Gambling in South Africa
What does the casino landscape look like in South Africa?
In some ways, it’s great. You can visit any one of at least 20 brick-and-mortar casinos. In fact, if you want to take the path of least resistance – and the least amount of jail time – then playing live is the way to go.
Here are some of the highest-rated casinos in South Africa and what you can expect to find at each one.
GrandWest Casino and Entertainment World
This casino is located in Cape Town. They have 12 restaurants plus options in their food court. As for their casino, they have nearly 80 table games and more than 2,500 slot machines. They even have options for their higher-limit players.
Garden Route Casino
This is located in Mossel Bay in the Western Cape. You’ll find more than 400 slot machines and table games such as blackjack, roulette, and Raise’em Poker. When you need a break, you can watch live jazz or visit their spa to get a massage.
The Ridge Casino
You’ll find the Ridge Casino in eMalahleni. You can shop in one of 180 stores inside their mall or watch a movie. In their casino, you’ll find more than 425 slot machines, 7 progressive jackpot games, and 18 table games.
This is located in Kimberley. Grab a bite to eat in one of their restaurants or play a few rounds of golf on the Kimberley Golf Course. You’ll find more than 300 slot machines and 10 table games in their casino.
There are several others, but you get the point – there are plenty of options if you’re willing to play offline. Each casino also offers other perks such as a hotel, entertainment, and plenty of food options.
But what if you don’t want to leave your house? What if you want to play online casino games anyway, despite the fact that it’s illegal in South Africa?
Is it even worth the risk?
Benefits of Playing Online
Before we jump into this, let’s make a couple of things clear.
We’re not lawyers. There’s no way for us to tell how likely you are to get caught gambling online or what exactly the consequences are if you do get caught.
We can’t tell you for sure whether gambling is legal or not where you live. That’s something you’ll have to determine on your own (by asking a lawyer).
With that in mind, there are several benefits to gambling online. You might even decide that the perks outweigh the potential risks of getting caught doing it.
Here are some of the benefits we like the most.
All you have to do is turn your computer on and launch the casino in your web browser. You can go from not playing to playing in a matter of minutes without ever having to step foot outside your house.
You can’t really play more than one game at a time in a brick-and-mortar casino. In some cases, you can play more than one hand or machine if the table allows it or the machine is close enough. Regardless, it’s not a problem online. In fact, it’s a feature/option at some casinos.
You can play more hands or rounds online since you don’t have to wait on anyone to shuffle or deal the cards. Slot and video poker machines are also faster online. This can also be a negative, though, if making your bankroll stretch for as long as possible is your primary goal.
Play online, and you can find games for as little as $0.20 per round. Most table games start around the $0.50 to $1 range. And while you won’t find action for hundreds of thousands online, you can find games that let you bet as much as $75,000.
Brick-and-mortar casinos have deals, too – usually a VIP program. You’ll find much more than that online, though. You can claim deposit bonuses, participate in VIP schemes, get free bets, free spins, and loads more.
When you gamble offline, there are so many additional costs to account for. You have to travel, either by plane or car, or sometimes both. Then you have the hotel, food, entertainment, and more. All you have to worry about playing online is making sure you have internet access and money in your casino account.
Those are some of the many benefits of going the online route. As we said earlier, it’s not our place to say whether it’s okay or even a good idea for you to play online.
The perks are great, though, aren’t they?
The Best Online Casino Games South Africans Can Play
So, once you join one of the casinos above, what do you do next? What games should you play? Do you have an idea of what you might be into?
If not, you’re in the right spot.
What we’re going to do next is list some of the interests that casino players have. Then we’ll follow it up with suggestions for which games to try first. Afterwards, we’ll provide links to a few resources we have on the site for those games so that you can read them and get up to speed on that game ASAP.
What to Play for the Best Chance of Winning
There aren’t too many casino games that you can beat for a profit consistently. The casino wouldn’t last long, especially in the information age we’re living in now.
Here are the games you can play that – if done right – you have a good chance of beating the house at.
Use basic strategy combined with bonuses and a rewards program, and it’s possible to beat the house at blackjack in the short run. It won’t be enough in the long run, though.
You’ll have to learn how to count cards to beat the house over the long term. This isn’t easy to do, as you need to learn a card counting strategy and then practice it over and over again before you ever step foot in a casino.
Even if you do the work to learn how to count cards, the edge you gain is small – around 1%-2%. You’ll need to play for hundreds or even thousands of dollars to see any kind of profits worth talking about.
The only way to count cards online is to play live blackjack. Keep in mind, however, that most casinos prohibit this in their terms and conditions. If caught, there’s a good chance you won’t be able to keep your winnings. They’ll close your account, too.
Here are some blackjack-related guides that will help you get started.
Another game you can try is video poker. Find a 9/6 Jacks or Better and use optimal strategy, and the payback percentage is as high as 99.54% (a 0.46% house edge). A full-pay Deuces Wild with optimal strategy can return as much as 100.76%, giving you a slight edge over the house.
The challenge is finding these machines.
Whatever you do, just make sure you find the highest-paying machine possible. Then memorize the optimal strategy for it.
Next, you’ll want to sign up for any perk you can. Deposit bonuses can be hard to find for these games, since the house edge is so low or even nonexistent for the casino. So, make sure you find a casino that also offers cash back or some kind of VIP program.
Add the value of those perks to your winnings, and there’s a good chance that you can beat the house. Here are some guides to help you out along the way.
There’s not much to keno other than choosing your numbers and then letting Lady Luck have her way with you. Most people should be able to get through each round with minimal effort.
There are even programs you can use that will choose your numbers for you. We cover that and loads more in our keno guide.
Roulette is another one of those games where you can simply select your numbers and then let the wheel do its thing. There’s not a ton of thinking required unless you’re trying to make the most optimal bets.
Roulette doesn’t have to be a solitary game like keno usually is, either. You can play while a crowd cheers for a specific number or color to come up. You can also play all by yourself online if you’d rather.
Then you have a bunch of variants to choose from. For example, you can play French, American, or European roulette. You also have live, auto, and speed roulette, as well as several more variants to choose from.
We talk more about roulette and what you need to know about it in the following guides.
Say you want the best of both worlds. You want to play games that offer a low house edge, but you don’t want to have to spend all of your leisure time learning how to do it. What games do you play then?
We covered a few of the games already – blackjack and video poker. You can take a relaxed approach to both games and still manage a low house edge.
But if you want to try a few different games that straddle the line between a low house edge and minimal effort, here’s what we suggest you play.
Pai Gow Poker
You do not have to do anything in Casino War other than select your bet and hit the deal button. The objective is to have a higher card than your opponent.
It’s just like the war card game you played as a kid.
Depending on the rules, Casino War can have a 2.88% house edge. That’s pretty good for not having to do anything but sit back and watch the action.
Baccarat is another one of those games where you don’t have to do anything but watch the action. You can become the dealer in live games, but it’s not required. You can pass when it’s your turn.
This game has a low 1.06% house edge if you bet on the banker’s hand. However, the house edge is still only 1.24% if you decide to bet on the player hand. Either way, it’s much better than games like slots or keno.
You have to think a LITTLE more playing a game like Pai Gow Poker. It’s not bad, though. All you have to do is decide how you want to split the cards you’re dealt into a 5- and 2-card hand. If you’re familiar with poker, this isn’t hard to do at all.
Even better yet, Pai Gow Poker has a 1.46% house edge. This is super low considering the effort needed to do well.
What to Play If You Want Realism
Now let’s say you want to play realistic games. Is that even possible online?
Yes, it is. There are a couple game types or variants you can play that will give you a realistic experience. It won’t entirely replace playing offline, but it’s the best you’ll be able to do playing from the comfort of your own home.
Live Dealer Games
Live dealer games are relatively new, having only been around for the last 5-8 years. What’s great about them is that it’s almost like playing in a real casino, but from your own home.
You have lots of options for what you can play, too. You can play live dealer blackjack, roulette, Casino Hold’em, baccarat, Sic Bo, Punto Banco, and more.
These games have lots of neat features, which include things like chatting with the dealer, moving camera angles, betting behind, and more. You can also play for stakes as low as $0.20 to as much as $75,000 per round.
3D games straddle the line between live dealer and animated games. They provide a little bit of realism, while still being animated.
One example is the game Poker3 from BetSoft. A couple slot examples include the Aliens and Dark Knight titles. These are based on movies, so you get the movie clips, as well as the 3D graphics for the symbols and bonus rounds. You get a heavy dose of realism all around.
There are a few software providers that have super-realistic table and video poker games, too. Everything is still animated, but the tables and machines look real enough that you feel like you can reach out and touch them.
7 Ways to Determine If an Online Casino Is Worth Your Time
There are hundreds of casinos online.
We’re serious. Look in our review section, and you’ll see that our team has written more than 220 gambling site reviews. They’re not all casinos, but between the dedicated casinos and the all-in-one sites, there’s got to be at least 100 there.
We haven’t reviewed every single casino on the internet, either. A lot of them simply aren’t worth the manpower.
But how do you know? How can you determine whether an online casino is worth your time without having to take the risk of depositing your money and finding out the hard way?
Here are a few tips to help you out.
1. What’s Their Rating?
One thing we include in every review we write is a rating out of five stars. One star is the worst; five stars is the best.
So how do you know if a casino is worth your time? Stick to casinos that have at least four stars. Avoid casinos that have less.
Casinos with at least four stars are going to have the following attributes:
They are licensed and regulated
They have an above-average selection of casino games and variants
They have a good selection of banking options. Their limits and fees are reasonable
They have a good selection of promotions with reasonable terms
They have a positive reputation within the industry
Just about any casino with these attributes is going to be worth checking out. You might want something specific, such as a software provider, game, or offer. You’d have to read our reviews or do your research to find the right casino for you.
But if you didn’t?
You can choose just about any four-star casino and have a great time online.
2. Check for a Gaming License
Another quick thing you can do is check the casino you want to join for a license.
Most casinos post this information in at least one area of their website. The most common is in the footer. Scroll down to the bottom of their website, and you’ll see which jurisdictions they have a license through and their license number.
Many casinos include a link to their license, too. Click the link, and you can double-check that their license is valid and current. Sometimes you can also see the other casinos their parent company owns.
If you don’t see it at the bottom of their website, the next place to look is the about page or in their terms and conditions.
You can always check our reviews, too. We always include a casino’s licensing information because it’s important to know they have it and where it’s from since each jurisdiction is different.
Now, a license doesn’t mean much in terms of whether the casino is high-quality or safe. Plenty of low-quality or even shoddy casinos have or have had licenses.
We’ll be the first to admit that it’s only one variable of many that you should check. But it’s such a quick and easy thing to check that we recommend doing it first. If a casino isn’t licensed, you can and should immediately remove it from your list.
Then move on to the next casino.
3. Check Blacklists
This is another lightning-fast thing you can do – check a few blacklists to see if your casino is listed. You might also check to see if any of the software providers, affiliate programs, or their parent company is listed.
We have our own blacklist where we list some of the most rogue gaming companies out there and a summary of the shady things they’ve done.
This, too, doesn’t immediately guarantee that the casino is worth your time. But it’s a fast and easy way to determine if they’re not.
4. Search Watchdog Sites and Forums
Something we do whenever we review an online casino is browse watchdog sites and casino forums.
One reason why we do this is because they often have customer reviews. While we have accounts and play at the casinos we review, all we can do is reflect on our own experience.
When you use forums and watchdog sites, though, you can read about and consider the experiences of dozens or even hundreds of people.
What’s great about this is that people are brutally honest. If they think a casino’s games or promotions suck, you’re going to hear about it. If their customer support was rude, they’re going to tell you about it.
If their payment took 2 days too long to hit their bank account, they’re going to post about it in ALL CAPS.
Another thing we like about reading players’ experiences is that it’s easy to spot whether a casino is even worth reviewing or recommending. If you use the search feature to look up Super Duper Casino, and then all you get are results with “scam” in the title, and each thread has hundreds of pages, it’s safe to assume that casino is a no-go.
You do need to be careful here, though, and apply some common sense. Many people complain about the dumbest things. Sometimes they’re the ones at fault. And then there are others who are simply trying to rip the casino off.
It’s important that you develop the ability to separate the wheat from the chaff as far as legitimate complaints go. Otherwise, you might pass on a casino that you’d have a great time at.
Or worse, join a casino that you wouldn’t recommend to your worst enemy.
5. Check the Casino’s Banking Page
Let’s say that you decided you wanted to give this Bitcoin gambling thing a shot. You bought $500 worth of Bitcoin, and now you want to find a casino that accepts it.
You could read our reviews. We cover this information in each one we publish.
However, if you wanted to check this out on your own, the fastest way to go about it is to check out the casino’s banking page. Nearly every casino publishes one. At the very least, it will include the methods they accept.
If their list says they accept Bitcoin, then great. Move on to the next must-have on your list. If they don’t, you can either see if they accept your backup or move on to the next casino.
This also applies to banking limits.
For example, if you want to deposit $10, but the least a casino will accept is $20, you’ve got to make a decision. Either you wait until you collect another $10, or you find a casino with lower limits.
The point is that you can find this information out before you create an account or make a deposit.
6. What Games Can You Play?
Once you get beyond safety, the most important aspect of any online casino is the games you can play. Some people are up for playing anything. That’s part of the fun – walking into a casino blind and finding an interesting slot machine or blackjack variant to play.
Then there are people who know exactly what they want to play. It could just be a specific variant they’re after. It could also be a specific game from a specific software provider.
If this is you, there are a couple of things you can do to figure out if a casino is going to be a good fit for you.
The first thing you can do is check out the casino’s search filters. Many casinos let you filter their games based on the software providers.
Another thing you can do is search for the specific game or variant you’re after. You can enter it in the search box, or you can use the casino’s other filters to see if you can find it that way.
If you’re not after a specific title, but you’re after a specific kind of game – say, live dealer games or blackjack variants – you can quickly figure this out by using the casino’s basic navigation.
Things are a little tougher if you’re after games where you can play for specific stakes. You can play most games for $1, and often less on live dealer games.
From there, it varies drastically, though. If you don’t mind creating an account, you can often find out by opening the games up. However, the fastest way to find out what stakes you can play for is to refer to our reviews.
We do all that legwork so that you don’t have to.
7. Contact Their Customer Support
No casino with slow, unresponsive, or useless support is worth your time. That’s why we always contact support when we review a casino.
Casinos that have more ways to reach them are more worthwhile than those with fewer options. We’d rather join a casino that offers a way to contact them by email, contact form, phone, and live chat over a casino that only offers a contact form and live chat to customers only.
In fact, we give casinos who offer phone support bonus points. Few casinos do this. We imagine it has to be a nightmare between the thousands of customers they have and the types of complaints we’ve seen on gambling forums.
It gives us shivers thinking about it.
We recommend that you at least send the casino an email with a question. It doesn’t matter if it’s a basic question or something more complex. We’ve seen casinos get even the simple stuff wrong, so don’t overthink this.
As far as email goes, we expect to see a response in less than 24 hours and prefer to get a response in 3-6 hours. Keep in mind that there may be a time difference between you and the casino.
If the casino can get back to us quickly and help us without a ton of back and forth, they get a virtual high five from us.
And…there you have it – that’s how you can determine whether a casino is worth your time.
We use these tips whenever we review casinos for GamblingSites.com. They helped us come up with the recommendations above. That’s one way you know that you can trust them.
Feel free to use them to find casinos on your own. If these tips can help us find legitimate online casinos to recommend to our readers, they can help you, too.
Gambling is alive and well in South Africa. You have plenty of offline gambling options that include hundreds of games and dozens of food and entertainment options.
You can go the online route, too, if you’re willing to take on some risk. We can’t say for sure how much. That’s a question better suited for a lawyer.
However, if it’s legal, or if you’re willing to shoulder some of the risk, one step you can take to protect yourself is to join a safe and legit casino – such as the ones we recommend at the top of this page.
You can get started in just a few minutes, too. Just scroll back to the top of this page and choose a casino. Then create an account and make a deposit.
You’ll be playing your favorite game before you know it.