Best bookmakers in South Africa

betting sites in south africaSouth Africa is a country of nearly 60 million people in the south tip of the African continent. It boasts a vibrant and fully regulated gambling market where the 9 local Gambling Boards act in accordance with the National one. The nearly 8 million active players enjoy top services in both land-based facilities as well as online. South Africans have traditionally been vivid bettors.

This, along with the fact that there’s a pretty wide offering of bookies available, makes the local market a very busy one. The 2004 National Gambling Act has deemed all online gambling activities to be illegal in the country, except for sports betting. In such a regulated environment, many international bookmakers also manage to operate. What we have done was to size them up to give you the best bookmakers in South Africa. All their major features have come under our radar and are featured in an exhaustive list, in order to help you choose the best online bookie based on your betting preferences.

Best South Africa bookmakers

Many online bookmakers accept local players. We list here the best bookies South Africa has to offer. We rank them based on the number of markets and high odds they offer on top competitions like the Premier League and the Spanish La Liga.

How to choose the best South African bookies

How to choose the best Champions League bookmaker Before analyzing the local and international bookmakers that operate in South Africa; let’s first take a look at the features that are taken into consideration when the selection process is underway. Those features play an important role when looking for a decent bookie:

  1. Number of available events & markets: More variety of events means more wagering options. While some operators may limit their offering to a handful of competitions, others may offer up to 500+ extra bets on every football match; that may sum up to 60.000 pre-match events monthly.

  2. Top-level live streaming: A large percentage of South African sports betting takes place on international events, like the Champions League, or major leagues like the Bundesliga or La Liga. That’s why another key factor in choosing a bookmaker is how many competitions it offers on its live streaming service.

  3. High odds: This is pretty much straightforward, and probably the most sought-after feature during players’ search for online bookmakers. Higher odds equal bigger winnings; the epitome of what betting is all about after all. High odds are about backing let’s say England to win the Euro @3.50 instead of @2.50.

  4. Welcome offers and bonuses: It’s always good to be greeted with a welcome offer. So a decent sign up bonus is actually a decisive factor for many players before finally signing up with a bookmaker.

  5. User-friendly interface: This is another factor that keeps a player attached to a specific site. Some South Africa bookmakers stand out for their ease of use, while others don’t have such an inviting layout. It all plays its role in players’ minds.

  6. Decent customer service: Betting in South Africa is filled with options. Thus, another crucial factor is a responsive and 24/7 available customer service. Everybody hates waiting for days to get a reply to their queries, so, it’s a differentiating parameter.

  7. In-play betting options: It’s no secret that in the past few years, more and more players are betting live, as a game -or race- unfolds. The number of events and sports that are offered for live betting, is yet another factor for choosing the best South African bookies.

  8. Early prices: Last but not least, although specifically applying to horse and greyhound racing only, are early prices. Bookmakers that offer early prices, and ‘best odds guaranteed’ options, are definitely climbing our ladder of overall performance.

Advantages of local South African bookmakers

red arrowAll local bookmakers South Africa has to offer, allow you to bet in your local currency. That of course is very convenient, taking away all the fuzz of exchange rates and possible currency conversion fees. Then again, many international betting sites in South Africa also offer ZAR accounts.

red arrowGreater coverage of local competitions. That’s normal and happens around the world. Local South Africa betting operators cover significantly more competitions and leagues from the national sports scene.

red arrowLocal payments is yet another point where local bookies excel at. They allow deposits through all your favorite payment gateways, such as OTT Voucher, PayU, Ozow and Secure EFT. However, international bookmakers in South Africa offer many options too, some local included.

red arrowMany punters tend to feel more secure when betting with locally licensed sites. They get a more legitimate sense of their gambling activity. Still, though, just a quick reminder that all online betting sites South Africa has to offer are totally legal to join. The law is clear, online sports betting is the only legally accepted form of gambling in South Africa.

Pros of international bookmakers in South Africa

✔️ As you probably expect, South African betting sites don’t offer as many betting options as their international counterparts. The latter provide an average of 30,000 markets per month, as well as more sports and competitions, giving you a wider array of wagering options.

✔️ Apart from more sports, offshore bookies also tend to offer more special bets. For example, on the Champions League final game, you may find bets ranging from ‘halftime winner’ up to ‘who will kick-off the game’, or if the number of corners will be one or two-digit.

✔️ Another important factor is the offering of higher odds. Local South Africa bookies are improving year by year; however, they still fall behind in that area, since most international bookies come with a 94%+ overall payout. And yes, it’s of paramount importance to be able to win as much as possible through your hard-chosen selections.

✔️ All bookies we list in our analysis are licensed by some of the most prestigious licensing authorities in the world; including UKGC and the MGA. Therefore, when betting on them you should expect no less than a safe betting experience. Moreover, if any issue comes up, their customer service also follows top-notch protocols and guidelines.

Best SA bookmakers: Licensed vs International

When facing this ‘bottom line’ dilemma, we always keep as neutral a position as possible. A key factor lies at the type of bettor you actually are. So, if for example you are a relatively low stakes player who just occasionally places a bet or two; then you should probably practice your South African sports betting with a local bookie. It will surely offer you more localized payment methods, as well as a -probably- bigger variety of local sports and races.

On the other hand, when betting on local bookies, even from the registration process, you're asked to provide info about your source of income.

income SA
That’s of course something a bit awkward to be honest, since online betting is perfectly legal in the country.

However, you can always avoid it simply by playing at international bookmakers in South Africa. In addition, there are many more bookies to choose from, more markets and offers. You can also find what you’re specifically looking for; like horse racing early prices, best odds guaranteed offers, and definitely higher odds. Experienced bettors tend to keep more than one active betting account, depending on what they’re wagering on each time. For example, 1xBet and Betwinner have a great coverage on almost any sport you can think of; while also allowing you to bet using ZAR.

To sum up, there is no black and white on the local vs international bookmaker choice. It all comes down to what you’re after. Either way, sports betting in South Africa covers all types of players.

Betting sites in SA: The law framework

Online gambling in Kenya: The law frameworkThe Republic of South Africa is the southernmost country in the African continent. It won its independence from the UK in 1931. It consists of 9 provinces, each of which very often implements local legislation. In all of them, people love sports; mainly football and rugby. The football ‘Bafana Bafana’ team won the Africa Cup of Nations in 1996; while the nation’s rugby team, the world-famous ‘Springboks’, are 3-time World Cup winners in 1995, 2007 & 2019.

Concerning the legal framework for gambling, the situation here is actually pretty simple. Still, it’s good to know the chronological steps that have shaped online betting in South Africa. So, in 1996 came the 1st effort to regulate the sector. Numerous illegal casinos and gambling dens were already apparent.

However, it was in 2004 when full-scale legislation was voted on. Notably, the National Gambling Board was founded. That was also when online gambling in South Africa became illegal; except for online sports betting. Nowadays, everything still functions under the 2004 National Gambling Act.

In 2008 there was an attempt to legalize online casinos, with the introduction of the Amendment Act. The act was drafted and ready to implement, but never actually came into force. Another interesting decision came in 2010, when offshore gambling was banned. Still, many international bookmakers in South Africa are offering their services to local players.

On August 14th, 2020 the NGB issued an official statement in order to clarify online gambling’s illegality:

“To eliminate any uncertainty in this regard, the NGB wishes to make it emphatically
clear that the answer to whether online or interactive gambling is legal in South
Africa, is a simple and unequivocal NO, with the exception of online sports betting”.

Sports betting South Africa: The provincial regulators

Apart from the National Gambling Board, South Africa simultaneously regulates all gambling activities locally. Each of its 9 provinces has its very own gambling board and each provincial board has its own licensed SA bookmakers. We list them all for your convenience; so, just locate your whereabouts and abide by the local standards.

1) Western Cape Gambling and Racing Board (WCGRB):
One of the largest regional boards, the WCGRB regulates all types of gambling in the area. It currently has the widest list of licensed South Africa betting sites, including big names such as Sportingbet and Betolimp.

2) Mpumalanga Economic Regulator (MER):
Things are a bit more strict here. Gambling is illegal, either online or land-based, apart from totalisators. It does however invite companies to apply for a license, which will be closely monitored by the MER if eventually issued.

3) Gauteng Gambling Board (GGB):
In the Gauteng area, the local board is one of the oldest in the country, in place since 1995. It allows many forms of gambling within its boundaries, including casinos. Overall it’s one of the best-organized boards, providing constant supervision of the sector, as well as self-exclusion programs for problem gamblers.

4) Kwazulu-Natal Gaming and Betting Board (KZNGBB):
A well-structured gaming board, the KZNBGG evaluates and regulates all aspects of the gambling sector here. This includes evaluating and monitoring licensed SA betting sites, as well as new applications. Supabets and Playabets are among their licensees.

5) North West Gambling Board (NWGB):
Betting World and Gbets, two of the most renowned local online bookies, hold an NWBG license. Established in 2001, it emphasizes on players’ protection and on the implementation of the appropriate law. It also provides a clear picture of licensing fees on its site.

6) Northern Cape Gambling Board (NCGB):
While no licensees currently exist, the board does provide a close oversight of the local gambling sector. It strongly encourages safe and responsible gambling, as well as reporting of any illegal activity to its helplines or to the police.

7) Eastern Cape Gambling Board (ECGB):
The ECGB already lists many licensed online betting sites in South Africa, such as Hollywoodbets, Lucky Bets, Marshalls World of Sport and GBets. Law enforcement and revenue collection are also among its duties, while promoting responsible gambling and monitoring all appropriate procedures.

8) Limpopo Gambling Board (LGB):
The local board in Limpopo has been active since 1996 and has been regulating the sector ever since. Always in accordance with the 2004 National Gambling Act, it provides guidance and close supervision to both existing and interested gambling entities.

9) Free State Gambling and Liquor Authority (FSGLA):
No licensees are currently listed on FSGLA’s site. Still, though, it provides consultation and step-by-step assistance to any company or individual who seeks to be involved in gambling.

Essential info for sports betting in South Africa

After clarifying that in South Africa, online betting is the only legal gambling activity on the web; let’s share some valuable info. So, there have only been just a few reports of prosecuting bettors who wager on unlicensed bookies. The state mainly targets illegal gambling operators; namely, online casinos, rather than dealing with players themselves.

With sports betting in South Africa being legal, the authorities’ spotlight falls elsewhere. However, we advise using a VPN if you choose unlicensed bookies; simply because It’s better to always keep a low profile when doing so. Interestingly, there’s no tax on winnings, unless you’re a proven professional gambler making a living out of it. Recreational gamblers get to keep all they win.

Lastly, remember to check with your local gambling board for licensed bookies. If accessing international ones that are licensed abroad, do so with caution. Bear in mind that every single betting site featured in our analysis is trustworthy and reputable.

How to deposit at South African bookmakers with ZAR

open account and depositFor punters within South Africa, it is vital for the bookmaker they play at to offer the local currency, the South African Rand. Most international bookmakers that are providing their service in the country have ZAR as a currency. No specific restrictions apply either from the state or the banks. Funding one’s account should however be done carefully; if not betting on a local licensee. In that manner, direct bank transfers and credit cards should not be your first choice.

It’s better to use e-wallets, like Skrill or Neteller, due to the speedy and secure transactions they offer. PayPal is also available and is among the most popular payments. Lastly, if you bet locally, PayFast is probably the most reputable payment processing solution. Below you can check the complete list of international bookies offering the ZAR currency.

The future of betting in South Africa

Reports show that the number of gamblers is constantly rising. Online sports betting in South Africa, in particular, is attracting an increasing number of players. It’s an overall well-regulated sector and more international bookmakers could decide to apply for a local license.

Time will show if the NGB could impose a nationwide policy for licensing and taxation, overriding each provincial board’s regulations. If that happens, South Africa bookies would be able to adhere to just one set of rules and prerequisites. Thus, it would probably ease the decision of big international brands to join the local market. Should any major changes take place, we will be updating you.

The complete list of South Africa bookies

After analyzing the local gambling environment, it is time to list all South African bookmakers that accept local bettors. They are all reputable international bookies, so choose the one that better suits your needs.

Q: Is online gambling legal in South Africa?

It’s only legal to bet online, as long as one practices it at a licensed online bookmaker. Accessing international bookies that are licensed offshore, is also very common. However, it should always be done with some caution, using VPN software.

Q: Is Bet365 available to South African bettors?

Unfortunately, Bet365 South Africa does not offer its services to local bettors. A good alternative is 1xBet, offering one of the most extensive football coverages while allowing you to bet using your local currency as well.

Q: Is Unibet available in South Africa?

Being one of the most reputable bookmakers worldwide, Unibet gladly accepts local players. With a pre-match and in-play Bet Builder feature and over 40 sports available for betting, it is one of the top choices one can make.

Q: Is it safe to bet online in South Africa?

South Africa is actually one of the safest places to place your bets online. Every bookmaker that we list in our analysis holds a license issued by some of the top licensing authorities worldwide. So, expect nothing less than safety and reliability.

Q: Can I bet using e-wallets on South African betting sites?

Neteller, Skrill and EcoPayz, are among the e-wallets that are offering their services to local bettors. They offer fast and secure transactions while allowing more privacy compared to funding your account with a credit card.

Q: Is Sportingbet accepting local players?

Sportingbet South Africa is among the few international bookies that are locally licensed. However, it is only licensed in the Western Cape province, under the local Gambling and Racing Board (WCGRB). Thus, it is not available to bettors who reside in other parts of the country.

Q: Are my online winnings taxed?

No tax on betting winnings applies in South Africa. The only case would be if one is actually a professional gambler, thus, making a living out of it. Recreational gamblers do not fall under taxation, when betting on land-based premises or online.

Q: Are there any betting exchanges in South Africa?

Sadly no betting exchange South Africa platforms are available to local players. Both Betfair and Matchbook decided to exit the local market in 2012 and are still not offering their services to South Africans.

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