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What is Online Betting? Your Guide to Legal Gambling in South Africa

People have been betting in one way or another for hundreds of years. While the fundamentals of gambling have stayed the same, how we place our bets has evolved with the advent of the digital age. 

Before the internet, all bets were placed in person with a bookmaker. But as soon as online gambling became possible, that all changed and the number of online betting sites in South Africa accepting players increased dramatically.

Want some tips on how to bet safely online in South Africa? Read this article.

What is Online Betting?

Today online betting is very popular in South Africa and the rest of the world. The main reasons are an increase in accessible internet for many people and the advancements in mobile technology. These have allowed people to place bets with any device that can connect to the internet. It’s now easier than ever to place bets on online slots, sports, Spina Zonke games, lotteries and casino games with your phone. 

In South Africa especially, retail betting shops still get a lot of business but more and more people are now using online bookmakers to place their bets wherever possible.

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Yes, online betting is legal in South Africa if you play with a registered bookmaker licensed by any of the provincial gambling boards. Since 1996, gambling in South Africa has been regulated by the National Gambling Board (NGB). This body is responsible for determining which forms of gambling are allowed in the country and for regulating these activities.

To offer any form of retail or online betting, bookmakers located in any of South Africa's nine provinces must be licensed by their respective boards. The Western Cape Gambling and Racing Board is currently the largest provider of online bookmaker licenses in South Africa.

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Types of Online Betting in South Africa

When bookmakers first went online in South Africa in the early 2000s sports betting was the only form of gambling available online. Since then, a lot has changed and there are hundreds of options for online gambling in South Africa, including Sports Betting, Casino Games, Slots, Lotteries and lots more!


Online sports betting involves predicting match results or certain outcomes related to sporting events. Sports you can bet on in South Africa include everything from local favourites like soccer, cricket, rugby and horseracing to American sports like basketball, baseball and ice hockey.

The most popular sport for betting in South Africa though is soccer with over 300 markets offered on games in the English Premier League and Champions League. Horse racing is the only form of sports betting where punters are taxed on their winnings—an amount of 6%.

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With similar markets available, the range of virtual sports available in South Africa for betting is growing fast. Soccerhorseracing, motor racing, tennis and even camel racing is offered by bookmakers like Hollywoodbets.

How betting works with virtual sports is similar to traditional sports betting, the main difference being that each match is a virtual simulation and a computer-powered algorithm (RNG) determines the results. Virtual matches also only last a few minutes, so there are even more betting opportunities than with traditional sports betting.


Just about every online bookmaker in South Africa offers betting on Casino and Live Games. These include traditional table games like Roulette, Blackjack, Baccarat, Craps and Poker as well as lottery-style games and even Game Shows.

Live Games are hosted by charming presenters and offer an immersive experience much like that of a land-based casino. Slot games are the most recent addition to online casinos in South Africa which are available on betting sites like Hollywoodbets and Supabets.

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Unlike the lottery betting offered in some BetGames like Lucky 7 or games in Lotto Instant Win, Lucky Numbers betting is based on national lotteries taking place across the world. The main difference between buying a ticket for a regular lottery and placing a Lucky Numbers bet is that you're betting on the outcome and not entering the actual draw.

This means that with Lucky Numbers you have more betting options and can play any international lottery from wherever you are. Once the draw is over, the official lottery results are used to settle your bet accordingly.


There are many different tote betting sites in South Africa, offered through Tab Online and other operators. Soccer 6, Soccer 10, Soccer 13, Soccer 15 and Sportstake are just some of the tote betting games available. How Tote Betting on horseracing works is that all bets placed on the race are put into a pool together. The odds of an individual horse is calculated by dividing the pool (all bets) minus the bookmaker's margin, divided by the amount wagered on that runner.

After the race, every punter who backed the winner will receive a share of the pool, depending on how much money they bet. Soccer pools work slightly differently from horseracing totes but the gist is the same.

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Online Gambling Sites in South Africa

You have a few choices when it comes to betting online in South Africa. Your best option is to sign up with a bookmaker like Betway or Hollywoodbets and place your bets online with them. 

There are some betting games you play online such as Sportstake and Soccer 6 online without having a bookmaker account, but we don't recommend doing this because the payouts are smaller and your betting options are very limited.

When you sign up with an online bookmaker you always get a Welcome Bonus and can take advantage of thousands of betting options when it comes to sports, casino games and lotteries. 

Playing with an online bookmaker means you'll have access to enhanced odds, Promotions and special features such as Cash Out and Build-A-Bet which aren't available with games like Soccer 6 and Sportstake.

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Mobile Betting Sites in South Africa

With the majority of punters in South Africa now using their phones to bet, many online bookmakers in South Africa have created mobile-friendly sites and made betting apps available. They offer seamless sports and casino betting on your phone, and some betting companies like Betway South Africa even allow you to play data-free!

How to Bet Online in South Africa

The process for opening an online betting account varies from one bookmaker to the next. You can find all the details on Betting Guide including registration and login guides as well as information about Welcome Bonuses, Betting Features and more.

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Here are the steps you should take to start betting online in South Africa:

1️⃣ Choose a bookmakerStart by picking a website or betting app that offers online betting.

2️⃣ Open a betting account Visit the registration page and sign up for an online account.

3️⃣ Make a deposit and claim your bonusDeposit some cash in your betting account and claim your welcome bonus if it's available.

4️⃣ Place your bets ­– Choose a sport, game or lottery and make your betting selections.

5️⃣ Withdraw your winningsIf you win some money from your bets, request a withdrawal to get your money.

Best Online Betting Sites in South Africa

It's easier than ever to place online bets on anything from sport to casino games and lotteries. But with so many online bookmakers around, choosing the right one can be tricky. For help, read our guide to the Best Online Betting Sites in South Africa.

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For more about online sports betting, casino games and lotteries in South Africa, visit the Betting Guide homepage to find bookmaker reviews, promotions, betting tips and more.

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