Online gambling in South Africa is big business – and the market is full of competition. Casinos are still king in South Africa (they generate nearly two thirds of gambling revenue), but sports and horse race betting accounted for nearly 19% in this year’s NGB annual report.
The most popular form of gambling in South Africa is the National Lottery, but horse racing deserves a special mention, as it was the only legal form of gambling in the country for quite a while. Soccer is also a popular sport to bet on.
Betting on sports online in South Africa is both easy and legal, as long as the betting website holds a full gambling licence from the National Gambling Board (NGB).
One area you will not be able to partake in, however, is ‘interactive’ gambling – the National Gambling Act, in 2004, prohibited both the supply and engagement of these games. Interactive gambling, in this case, relates to games such as poker, bingo and casino games – sports betting and horse race betting are fine.
Although there has been some movement to amend the Act, and legalise and regulate interactive gambling, this has not yet come to fruition. Watch this site for updates.
The betting sites we’ve reviewed below are, of course, all legal. Some are home-grown South African companies, and some are international gambling businesses who’ve taken advantage of the active market in South Africa.
We have listed them in alphabetical order, rather than in order of recommendation – each has its pros and cons!
An intuitive site, good for gamblers of all experience levels. Sports are organised in easy nesting menus, and the website has even gone so far as to supply simple guides on aspects of betting, odds and gambling terms.
Includes the most popular sports: lottery, horse racing, soccer, American football, etc. A good variety of live horse racing feeds are available.
Opening times have recently extended, which will make the site easier for nighttime gamblers.
A less obvious layout, but simple enough when you get used to it. This site shines by featuring some unusual sports alongside the usual, including ice hockey and MMA.
BetXchange have a number of promotions running, including an interesting “5 Times Your Money Back Promotion”: take a multiple bet of 15 markets or more, working out at odds of 25/1 or bigger and, if you’re beaten on the last market, you’ll be refunded five times your original stake.
Established gamblers might know the brand as Keith Ho BetXchange, which rebranded in 2002. The in-play betting service is purportedly the largest in South Africa.
Interbet is a bright and useable site with a nice selection of sports, including boxing, volleyball and winter sports. The website has a particularly good live betting tool, which also shows upcoming events.
Interbet are currently running a refer-a-friend programme – get a buddy to sign up and each of you will receive R25 in betting credits.
It’s also worth having a look at their loyalty programme, where you can earn points if you’re a frequent gambler. Each 1,000 points can be redeemed for R1 in betting credits.
A bright website with a lot going on – new users might find the “First bet?” tab handy, as it includes a short guide on how the site works.
You can bet on all the usual sports, organised into country-by-country with nesting menus. There are also a couple of rarer sports, like Aussie Rules football.
Currently (until the end of the month) running their ‘El Clasico’ promotion: bet R20 or more on soccer in a week, text a number and be in with a chance of winning an all-expenses-paid trip to watch soccer team El Clasico play in Madrid.
A simple and fun site, with some unusual bets featuring prominently – including (currently) Royal Baby Specials, and the China and Japan opens.
The website is easy to navigate and use, and features a loyalty scheme. Sportingbet also allows you to watch some live sport for free.
Sportingbet are currently running a newcomers’ promotion that offers a 100% match for your first deposit, up to R1,000.
A reasonable, if fairly sparse, website with a particularly good banking section. More popular sports such as cricket can be viewed by “next 48/96 hours”, which is a helpful extra.
Check out ‘quick pick multis’ for a well-built and exciting tool.
A simple and elegant website with a reasonable selection of sports, including a couple of oddities – beach soccer and E Sports being amongst them.
Not one of the better-populated sites.
“The official tote betting site of South African horse racing” is indeed a good starting point for those gamblers who like a flutter on the horses.
Tab online is a pretty comprehensive equine betting site, with guides to help newbies get the hang of it, plenty of options to filter out the races you want, and detailed statistics.
Marshalls World of Sport
A fairly basic website with a focus on tennis, soccer and rugby.
Although it’s not flashy, it’s a very well-established option: John and Dawn Marshall started the business in the 1960s (indeed, Dawn Marshall was the country’s first “lady bookmaker”).
Marshalls prides itself on its “personal touch” and says its call centre staff will take you through the whole process of betting.
World Sports Betting
A comprehensive and well laid-out website, with a particularly good “in-play” betting page. Covers the major sports well.
A good range of promotions, including a newcomers’ bonus – open an account and they’ll match your first deposit up to R3,000.
World Sports Betting have lead the field in aspects of online gambling customer service – they were the first in Africa to open a call centre 24/7, 365 days a year.
The site is also secured with SSL technology – not always guaranteed in South Africa.