Are you interested in online gambling in South Africa?
Just a forewarning, gambling is a bit of a sore subject here. Not all forms of gambling are legal. Failure to comply with the laws can result in a R10 million fine and/or 10 years in prison.
Gambling’s supposed to be fun. Prison doesn’t sound like fun to us, though.
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So, our first recommendation is to read up on the laws for where you live. We go into a little detail about the gambling laws in South Africa on this page. Still, consulting a lawyer before you play is going to be your best bet.
Our next recommendation – and this is VERY important – is to choose one of the best gambling sites available for South African players. These sites will not only be trustworthy and safe, but they will also be following the rules so there won’t be any blowback to come your way.
You can navigate this on your own if you want to. We wouldn’t recommend it, though. Choosing your own site takes time, especially when you need to determine whether they’re following the laws in South Africa.
A much faster and surefire alternative is to choose from one of our top picks in the list above. Alternatively, if you’re look for a specific type of gambling site, you could also check out the following recommendations.
Each site we recommend is trustworthy. But we understand that you might be skeptical. How can you be sure that you can trust our recommendations?
Well, we have a team of reviewers with years (read: decades) of combined experience in the gambling industry. They know what to look for whenever they review a new gambling site.
It’s important to us that each gambling site we recommend to our South African readers is above board, has fun games and betting options, and plenty of promotions.
When we find something we don’t like, whether it’s something small about their video poker section or even their entire site, we let you know. We’ll tell you exactly what we don’t like about it.
That’s one of the things that distinguishes our reviews from the majority of reviews on the web. We don’t give every gambling site a 10/10 glowing review and tell you in ALL CAPS to sign up now.
That’s not honest, for one thing. It doesn’t paint an accurate picture of what you can expect from an online gambling site, either.
The truth is, most sites aren’t worthy of a 10/10 rating, or even a 9/10 or 8/10 rating. Many casinos are average on their best days.
What we’re getting at is that when you see a site recommended by us, like those in the table above, you can be confident that all of the following is true.
In short – stick to the sites we recommend, and you’ll be all right.
That said, not everyone will be a great fit for the sites we recommend for one reason or another. Or you’ll get there and realize there are things about the site you don’t like, or maybe there are features you wish they had.
Well, one suggestion is to go through our reviews. We have written dozens of gambling site reviews, as well as more specific reviews for sportsbooks, casinos, poker, and bingo rooms. There’s a good chance you’ll find a site that’s a good match for you there.
Another option is to find a site on your own. This isn’t for everyone because it takes longer due to the due diligence that goes into it. But if you’ve got time to spare, then have at it.
In fact, here are some tips for how to choose a gambling site on your own.
In no particular order, here are some tips for how to choose a gambling site.
No casino will ever give out a bonus that they’re not going to profit from in the long run. That doesn’t make sense for them.
That doesn’t mean that they need to rip you off, though.
A reasonable playthrough will be something like this.
These are the best-case scenarios. If you can find bonus terms like these, then you should consider taking the site up on their offers.
The bonus terms can be higher, of course. Just know that the higher the terms, the longer it’ll take before you can cash out. You also risk losing your winnings by playing, which may not leave you with much by the time you’re done with the playthrough.
It’s a good idea to find a gambling site that accepts Rand (or the currency of your choice). Otherwise you may have to deal with exchange rates, which won’t always be in your benefit. You’ll have to pay fees on top of that, too.
For example, say you want to play everything – casino games, bingo, sports betting, and poker. Here’s what your list might look like.
Take this list and try to find a gambling site that has the best poker room possible, followed by an okay casino, and acceptable sportsbook and bingo room.
The reason you want to do this is because few sites have more than one or two GREAT products, much less all of them.
Approaching the review process in this way will make sure that the site you join will be strongest in the areas you care about most.
A license doesn’t necessarily mean much, depending on the gambling commission that issued it.
That said, most, if not every single commission/jurisdiction that issues a license, has an application process the operator has to go through, as well as fees they need to pay.
This is a small barrier to entry that should weed out the scumbags.
If you can find a casino with a solid license, say a license from the UKGC or MGA, then you’ll have options for if the casino ever wrongs you.
This is like the gambling product exercise above. Create a list of banking options you want to use, in the order you prefer to use them.
Most gambling sites offer the common options – Visa, Mastercard, Skrill, PayPal, Neteller, and so on. But if there’s something more specific or local you want to use, then write that down and try to find a casino that accepts it.
One of the benefits of online gaming and betting is that the minimum stakes you can play for are much lower compared to brick-and-mortar venues. The downside is that you won’t often find stakes as high as you can play for in these establishments.
There are several reasons for this, we’re sure. If anything, it’s just a big risk for the operator.
Anyway, it may take some searching and some emailing in order to find a gambling site that will accommodate you.
If you manage to find one on your own, make sure everything else is up to par. Make sure their deposit and withdrawal limits will accommodate a large bankroll and potential win. You’ll also want to make sure there aren’t any (unreasonable) restrictions on how much you can win from any given bet or round.
You’ll want to make sure the casino will pay out the full amount if you win one. Most casinos can do this, since the jackpot doesn’t come from their pockets, but from the software provider that makes the game.
Many casinos don’t pay jackpots out in full, though.
So if you have to accept payments, make sure the site has been around for a couple of years. There have been horror stories of players winning hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars, only to receive them one pitiful payment at a time (in addition to other shenanigans).
You’re not going to be able to avoid banking fees. Most online gambling sites charge fees, usually on their cash-out options.
Sometimes these are only for specific options, like bank wires. We recommend you compare fees to try to find the lowest ones. Another option is to have a back-up option, like an e-wallet, that you can use if the gambling site charges a fee on the option you prefer to use.
You can expect to pay $20-$40 for a bank wire, which is pretty standard. Anything higher is getting a little greedy. We also recommend avoiding fees based on a percentage, if possible, as that can get expensive, too. Many of them don’t even have a cap on the total amount they’ll charge you.
Finally, we suggest you avoid (most) sites that charge fees on both the deposits and cash-outs. While they may have fees on their end, they make more than enough money to absorb a few bucks in fees.
You’re going to play anyway, so you might as well get something back if you can. This can be something as simple as a points-to-cashback program or something as elaborate as a 5-tier VIP program.
This might seem like a dumb thing to point out, but you want to make sure that the perks are actually something you’ll want. Junkets and electronics do you no good if you’re not interested in them. There are lots of perks casinos offer, from expedited or free cash-outs to bonuses, cashback, and more.
Just make sure you get something. There’s very little reason not to.
If the site you found is legit – it’s been around for years and has stellar ratings and reviews – then you can disregard this tip. Because this tip will screw up how much you can receive from your deposit bonus, as you usually have only one chance to get what you can out of it.
But if you don’t know anything about the site, then we recommend you make a small deposit to test it out. Just deposit something like $20 or $100, whatever you’re comfortable losing.
This way, you’re not risking hundreds of dollars on a casino that might not work out. It gives you peace of mind knowing you’re only risking $25, $50, or $100.
If you can’t find much information about the site you’re reviewing, which is often the case for brand-new sites, one trick is to research their parent company and sister sites instead.
If the parent company has a positive reputation, then you’re probably okay. If one of their sister sites has a bad rep, that’s not necessarily an indicator that the site you want to join is bad.
If they’re all bad, though?
It’ll probably make sense to move on and select a different site to join.
A license and positive reviews will only take you so far. One additional thing you can do is make sure the site has a positive reputation within the gambling community.
The best way we’ve found to do this is to visit gambling forums. See if there’s anything negative being said about them. More importantly, see if multiple people are having the same problem.
If not, you’re probably okay. However, if lots of people are complaining about slow payouts, unfair games, or unreasonable bonuses, then it’s reasonable to assume you’ll be treated the same.
It’s not terribly hard to choose a gambling site. However, it can be hard to choose a SAFE gambling site that’s tailored to YOUR specific wants or needs.
You need to do a lot of research to make sure the sites you’re considering have the games, sports, bonuses, and banking options you want.
It’s also important to ensure that they’re following the rules, as not every form of gambling is allowed in South Africa. Many places choose to skirt the rules, which means many of the sites on your list may NOT be okay to join.
You’ll eventually figure it out. It’s just one of those things that takes time.
If that doesn’t sound like something you want to do, a much faster option is to go with one of our picks instead. You’ll save hours of your time, and you’ll no doubt join an excellent gambling site filled to the brim with fun and possibly even profitable gaming options.
The choice is yours.
There’s lots of information we didn’t get to include in the sections above. Between that and the questions we see people ask about gambling in South Africa, we thought it’d be a good idea to include a FAQ.
If you have a question you don’t see here, send us an email and let us know. We’ll add it right away!
The gambling age is 18 years old.
This rule is adhered to strictly. Underage children are not even allowed in the gaming areas of casinos.
Yes and no.
It is LEGAL to bet on sports and horses at a bookie that is licensed by one of the 9 boards/provinces in South Africa. This goes for all operators.
It is ILLEGAL to offer or play anything else. That goes for casino games, poker, bingo, and so on. This is per the National Gambling Act 2004.
The country has attempted to legalize interactive gaming with the National Gambling Amendment Act of 2008. However, it was met with a lot of resistance, so it was/has not passed.
In August 2010, the country went as far as to ban all operators who had a server outside the country. All forms of online gambling, other than the sports/horse betting licensed in one of their provinces, became illegal.
Any operator, bank, service provider, or player – basically anyone that doesn’t follow these rules – is subject to a R10 million fine and/or 10 years in prison.
We’ve not heard of any player being charged with a gambling crime. But IT IS A RISK that you need to accept if you choose to play online.
6% is charged on horse bets to cover VAT. Other than that, your winnings aren’t taxed.
Gambling is considered recreational and your winnings aren’t classed as income.
Yes and no.
If you choose a legit gambling site, regardless of what they offer or if they follow the rules 100%, you should be okay. These sites are still licensed, and their games are tested for fairness.
If you choose to play at a site that has a weaker license, is unknown, or has a bad reputation, there are more risks.
You also take on more risk if you gamble on any illegal games or options.
The bottom line – online gambling is just as safe as banking or shopping online. Beyond that, there are lots of variables to account for that will determine how safe online gambling is or isn’t for you.
Yes. Most South African sites will either have a native app for you to download, or more likely, they’ll have a mobile-friendly site that you can access from your mobile web browser.
Yes. All South African players can claim a bonus if the site offers one. There might be some restrictions as to the type of offer or the banking option used, but you can find that information out in our reviews or in the site’s terms and conditions.
You have a couple of options.
One option is to file a complaint with whoever the site is licensed through. Some jurisdictions/commissions are better than others when it comes to dealing with complaints. You also have to keep in mind that they probably get hundreds, if not thousands, of complaints. Not all of them are legit, either.
The other option is to file a complaint with a watchdog group or mediator. There are lots of sites that try to work things out on behalf of the player. Many gambling sites work with them, too, as they depend on the review sites’ reviews and ratings for new customers.
There is no guarantee with either option. You’ll probably have the best results trying both, especially if your problem is serious.
Most sites have their games tested for randomness/fairness. Some do this in-house, while others go through a 3rd party such as Technical Systems Testing (TST). Often times, you can view the certificate if a gambling site (and their games) passed the test.