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鈥檚 supposed to be fun. Prison doesn鈥檛 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 鈥?and this is VERY important 鈥?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鈥檛 be any blowback to come your way.
You can navigate this on your own if you want to. We wouldn鈥檛 recommend it, though. Choosing your own site takes time, especially when you need to determine whether they鈥檙e 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鈥檙e 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鈥檚 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鈥檛 like, whether it鈥檚 something small about their video poker section or even their entire site, we let you know. We鈥檒l tell you exactly what we don鈥檛 like about it.
That鈥檚 one of the things that distinguishes our reviews from the majority of reviews on the web. We don鈥檛 give every gambling site a 10/10 glowing review and tell you in ALL CAPS to sign up now.
That鈥檚 not honest, for one thing. It doesn鈥檛 paint an accurate picture of what you can expect from an online gambling site, either.
The truth is, most sites aren鈥檛 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鈥檙e 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 鈥?stick to the sites we recommend, and you鈥檒l be all right.
That said, not everyone will be a great fit for the sites we recommend for one reason or another. Or you鈥檒l get there and realize there are things about the site you don鈥檛 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鈥檚 a good chance you鈥檒l find a site that鈥檚 a good match for you there.
Another option is to find a site on your own. This isn鈥檛 for everyone because it takes longer due to the due diligence that goes into it. But if you鈥檝e 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鈥檙e not going to profit from in the long run. That doesn鈥檛 make sense for them.
That doesn鈥檛 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鈥檒l 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鈥檙e done with the playthrough.
It鈥檚 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鈥檛 always be in your benefit. You鈥檒l have to pay fees on top of that, too.
For example, say you want to play everything 鈥?casino games, bingo, sports betting, and poker. Here鈥檚 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鈥檛 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鈥檒l 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 鈥?Visa, Mastercard, Skrill, PayPal, Neteller, and so on. But if there鈥檚 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鈥檛 often find stakes as high as you can play for in these establishments.
There are several reasons for this, we鈥檙e sure. If anything, it鈥檚 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鈥檒l also want to make sure there aren鈥檛 any (unreasonable) restrictions on how much you can win from any given bet or round.
You鈥檒l 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鈥檛 come from their pockets, but from the software provider that makes the game.
Many casinos don鈥檛 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鈥檙e 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鈥檛 even have a cap on the total amount they鈥檒l 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鈥檙e 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鈥檒l want. Junkets and electronics do you no good if you鈥檙e 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鈥檚 very little reason not to.
If the site you found is legit 鈥?it鈥檚 been around for years and has stellar ratings and reviews 鈥?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鈥檛 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鈥檙e comfortable losing.
This way, you鈥檙e not risking hundreds of dollars on a casino that might not work out. It gives you peace of mind knowing you鈥檙e only risking $25, $50, or $100.
If you can鈥檛 find much information about the site you鈥檙e 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鈥檙e probably okay. If one of their sister sites has a bad rep, that鈥檚 not necessarily an indicator that the site you want to join is bad.
If they鈥檙e all bad, though?
It鈥檒l 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鈥檝e found to do this is to visit gambling forums. See if there鈥檚 anything negative being said about them. More importantly, see if multiple people are having the same problem.
If not, you鈥檙e probably okay. However, if lots of people are complaining about slow payouts, unfair games, or unreasonable bonuses, then it鈥檚 reasonable to assume you鈥檒l be treated the same.
It鈥檚 not terribly hard to choose a gambling site. However, it can be hard to choose a SAFE gambling site that鈥檚 tailored to YOUR specific wants or needs.
You need to do a lot of research to make sure the sites you鈥檙e considering have the games, sports, bonuses, and banking options you want.
It鈥檚 also important to ensure that they鈥檙e 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鈥檒l eventually figure it out. It鈥檚 just one of those things that takes time.
If that doesn鈥檛 sound like something you want to do, a much faster option is to go with one of our picks instead. You鈥檒l save hours of your time, and you鈥檒l no doubt join an excellent gambling site filled to the brim with fun and possibly even profitable gaming options.
The choice is yours.
There鈥檚 lots of information we didn鈥檛 get to include in the sections above. Between that and the questions we see people ask about gambling in South Africa, we thought it鈥檇 be a good idea to include a FAQ.
If you have a question you don鈥檛 see here, send us an email and let us know. We鈥檒l 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 鈥?basically anyone that doesn鈥檛 follow these rules 鈥?is subject to a R10 million fine and/or 10 years in prison.
We鈥檝e 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鈥檛 taxed.
Gambling is considered recreational and your winnings aren鈥檛 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 鈥?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鈥檛 for you.
Yes. Most South African sites will either have a native app for you to download, or more likely, they鈥檒l 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鈥檚 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鈥?reviews and ratings for new customers.
There is no guarantee with either option. You鈥檒l 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.