Today, we’re diving into the scene of gambling entertainment in South Africa (SA). We’ll spill the beans on what to consider when picking an online casino and present you with a hotlist of SA’s finest online casinos. We’ll break down the legalities and government oversight in all things gambling and delve into the main types of bonuses up for grabs for South African players. We won’t leave you hanging on the payment systems that are all the rage, and we’ll even dish on the crypto situation. We’ll touch on gambling aspects like sports betting, lotteries, and various card games, and we’ll scope out the most popular land-based casinos.
Best Online Casinos For South African People
SA is leading the pack in African countries when it comes to gambling legislation. Despite the official ban on online gambling, playing in online casinos is no criminal offense. As a result, you’ll find a plethora of global brands and local online casinos in the market.
With a mammoth list of establishments, it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle. That’s why this article has a dedicated section to help you spot a quality casino. Now, without further ado, let’s roll out the red carpet for the creme de la creme of online casinos available to South African players:
The gambling industry in SA has roots dating back to the mid-17th century. Gambling was slapped with a complete ban in 1653, a prohibition that endured until the late 20th century.
In 1965, this ban was augmented with a few exceptions, such as betting on horse races. This activity was exempt from being deemed gambling and was classified as a sport, thus making it permissible.
In the early 80s of the 20th century, illegal casinos began popping up in the country, often situated in designated zones known as Bantustans. By 1995, the country was teeming with around 2,000 illegal casinos and gaming joints, a situation that couldn’t escape the government’s notice. Consequently, the first strides toward legalizing such establishments were set in motion.
The first major move came with the “Gambling Act” released in 1996. It fully legalized many forms of gambling, such as land-based casinos and bookmaking operations, and established the licensing process for gambling operators. About 40 licenses were issued for various provinces, and a special entity, the “National Gambling Board,” was created to oversee the industry and grant licenses.
The next significant step was the 2006 version of the “Gambling Act,” which repealed the 1996 enactment. It saw further amendments in 2008 and didn’t stray far from the initial version. A large chunk of gambling activities continued to remain in the realm of legality.
Legality and regulation of gambling
At the moment, a big chunk of gambling activities is on the up-and-up and regulated by the government. Both online and offline bookmakers are overseen by the Western Cape Gambling and Racing Board (WCGRB).
The debate on legalizing online casinos in SA has been on the table for a good decade. The big land-based casinos and the Money Laundering Control Department are throwing a spanner in the works of legalization. Hence, as of now, online casino operations are a no-go in SA. Nevertheless, the government recently cooked up a bill aimed at doling out around 10 licenses to well-known online casinos. It’s not in force yet, so online casino aficionados are still rolling the dice in offshore establishments, which aren’t under the jurisdiction of South African laws.
Choosing the best online casinos in South Africa
As promised at the start of this article, in this section, we’re gonna spill the beans on what aspects to keep your peepers on when choosing an online casino. First off, you’ll wanna suss out the presence and validity of a license and peruse player reviews of the chosen joint. Next, take a gander at the bonus policy and the availability of user-friendly payment systems. Last but not least, clock the availability of top-notch support services speaking your lingo and scope out the level of site adaptability to mobile devices if you’re planning to game on your smartphone or tablet.
Legality and Safety
Having a prestigious and up-to-date license is a major deal. The world is crawling with international gambling commissions, each with its own rules for running online businesses. The top dogs in this arena include Curacao and MGA.
You can gauge an online casino’s level by reading relevant reviews on specialized sites or gaming forums. In a solid casino, the positive reviews always outweigh the negatives, and casinos always aim to settle disputes in favor of the players. The most authoritative local sites in SA are casino.co.za and askgamblers.com.
Bonuses & Promotions
For players from SA, there are no strings attached to the bonus policy. As a result, you can sink your teeth into the whole shebang of bonuses, including those for your first deposits as well as regular perks. We’ll dive deeper into all types of bonuses a bit later.
A big slice of players prefers using bank cards for deposits in SA online casinos. But there’s often a hitch with them, as many banks put the kibosh on such transactions. E-wallets and various e-commerce services come to the rescue, along with cryptocurrency.
South Africa is a country with a colossal linguistic melting pot. Most South Africans are aces at English, but plenty prefer to get chatty in Afrikaans or Venda. So, in top-notch casinos, the customer support team chats away in a whole bunch of local languages.
A major aspect we’ve got our eyes peeled for in our casino reviews is how well the joint adapts to mobile devices. Sites that don’t play nice with mobile gamers don’t make the cut for our rankings. Consequently, we recommend giving sites a whirl for ease of use on mobile phones.
Bonuses and promotions for South African players
As mentioned, players from South Africa have the full spread of bonus programs at their fingertips. This includes welcome packages as well as regular treats. VIP systems, different varieties of races, and tournaments hosted by both the casino itself and its providers add an extra layer. We’re diving into each type of bonus next.
The welcome bonus is on the table for any player who recently signed up for an account. In the cream of the crop casinos, it’s a whole welcome package deal, bundling deposit boosts and a certain number of gratis spins. And it’s not just for one deposit; it covers multiple ones right out of the gate.
Regular Player Bonuses
For players who’ve exhausted the welcome package, the full spread of bonuses available to regular players is unveiled. This encompasses weekly reloads, monthly cashbacks, a special VIP program, and a host of other perks.
Races and Tournaments
As mentioned earlier, races and tournaments are special marketing events held by both the casino itself and its providers. The rules are pretty much the same across the board: just play slots and earn tournament points. The more points you pile up, the higher your rank, and consequently, your reward. Fairspin Casino has these tournaments in its lineup:
Millionaire’s Fortune – play your favorite games and earn TFS. The more you stack up, the higher your standing when the tournament’s curtains drop. The total prize pool is $30000.
Triple Cherry Crash – the more you wager, the higher your standing in the tournament. The total prize pool is $4000, spread across the top 20 places.
Magic Apple – the higher the multiplier you hit in each of the slots, the higher your final ranking. The prize pool is $5000.
It’s worth noting that most tournaments aren’t open-ended; they have a set time frame. Nonetheless, most casinos have several different tournaments running simultaneously.
Sports betting in South Africa
Betting on sports in South Africa is a fully legit scene. We’re talking both brick-and-mortar bookies and various online sites. The whole licensing and watchdog deal for bookmakers falls under the jurisdiction of the Western Cape Gambling and Racing Board (WCGRB). There’s a load of bookies operating in every province, offering bets on all sorts of sports. The big guns include Hollywoodbets, BetWay, Stake, bet365, and a slew of others.
Sports itself is a pretty big deal in South Africa. The nation’s got its fair share of pro athletes, and even more folks who dabble in amateur athletics. We’ve whipped up a quick ranking of the most popular sports:
Football – no shocker that this sport takes the lead. English colonizers brought it over to South Africa eons ago, and it’s been a hit with the locals ever since. You’ll find folks playing it both in backyards and on dedicated pitches.
Rugby Union – a team sport that can actually give football a run for its money in terms of popularity. The national team, the Springboks, are a force to be reckoned with on the world stage. They’ve notched up major victories, snagging the World Cup in 1995, 2007, and 2019.
Cricket – a classic European sport that’s found a happy home in South Africa. The nation’s a bigwig in the world of cricket, thanks to a bevy of top-notch players and modern trainers who bring a fresh approach to training year after year. Hence, the national squad, Proteas, regularly pulls in impressive results.
Athletics – a variety of track and field disciplines are pretty popular in South Africa. Everything from sprints to marathons and long jumps gets love. South African athletes regularly grace the Olympic and Paralympic stages, bagging medals in various categories.
Basketball – this sport’s been picking up steam in South Africa lately. The South African Basketball Federation was founded in 1992. The national team might not be top-tier players on the global arena, but they do show up for African championships.
Convenient payment systems
Despite having a pretty solid e-commerce system, there aren’t heaps of ways to top up your online casino account in South Africa. Mainly ’cause the online casino scene’s a bit of a gray area legality-wise, leading many banks to give the cold shoulder to transactions heading their way. Another option is electronic wallets, though there’s a snag here too, as many big-name services like PayPal still haven’t set up shop locally. Still, we’ve put together a shortlist of the most convenient payment systems for South African online casinos.
A deposit method that’s like the granddaddy of ’em all, usually snatching the top spot in most rankings. South African residents make swipes with their credit/debit cards daily, snagging goods online. And topping up your online casino account is no exception. It’s quick, dependable, and convenient. Only hiccup? The occasional transaction hassle favoring online casinos, something that a few banks have caught themselves doing.
The well-known e-wallet duo, a breeze to register with and no fuss. After you’re in, you can fund your wallet through any method that suits you, like a bank card or account. Then, you can easily shuffle funds wherever, say to your online casino account.
Another international e-wallet, letting you juice up your online casino account. The standout here is the wealth of top-up options, which also include local services like Sofortuberweisung, Moneta, direct bank transfers, and more.
This method’s gaining steam ’cause it comes with a load of perks. First, it’s anonymous, second, transactions zip through in minutes with minor fees. Plus, getting your hands on some crypto and sending it wherever is a piece of cake, making the whole deposit process super simple.
NOTIFY Cryptos are all legal on South African soil. However, there’s no separate legislation for ’em just yet. It’s a work in progress, so in a couple years, we might see some slick and modern regulation in action. So, feel free to get your hands on some cryptocurrency from a well-known exchange without a hitch and then use it to fuel your online casino adventures.
Popular gambling providers in South Africa
South Africa’s got quite the diverse lineup of developers. Some have been around the block and shaped their style and fan base, while others are newer kids on the block who managed to climb the fame ladder swiftly. In this section, let’s dive into the 5 most popular providers in South Africa.
One of the OG providers, crafting practically every type of casino game. They’ve got thrilling online slots in their arsenal, as well as various table and card games. A special shout-out for NetEnt’s “NetEnt Touch” series, tailor-made for mobile phones, which players from South Africa have really taken a shine to.
A provider that could give NetEnt a run for its money in terms of experience and sheer number of released products. What sets them apart? A wide network of slots with progressive jackpots, with one even scoring a Guinness World Record spot.
A provider whose main gig is land-based slot machines, with work dating back to the mid-70s. They took a dive into online products in 2005, and they’ve been doing darn well ever since.
A relatively young developer who’s managed to speed-run their way to the top of the industry charts worldwide. Their creative development approach, coupled with daring and intriguing mechanics, have earned them support not only from South African players but from all around the globe.
A well-known developer that kicked off in 1999. Since then, they’ve cranked out around 600 different products, with most being video slots. Give a shout-out to their captivating range of slots dedicated to the iconic DC universe, as well as their variety of table games, card games, and various bingo/scratch cards.
Land-based casinos in South Africa
Land-based casinos in South Africa are totally legit establishments, and there’s a whole bunch of them around the country. Some are quite modest joints, standalone or within hotels. Others stun with their grandeur and opulence. Let’s dive into more detail about a few of the most interesting examples.
Sun City – a lavish resort and casino nestled in the North West province of South Africa, not far from Rustenburg city. It opened its doors on December 7, 1979. Since then, it’s been a magnet for tourists and locals alike, boasting four distinct hotels on its grounds: Soho Hotel, Cascades Hotel, The Cabanas, and The Palace of the Lost City. Aside from the hotels, you’ll find several golf clubs and the Super Bowl arena, which has hosted many Miss South Africa and Miss World pageants.
A nifty fact: this is where a big chunk of the famous film “Blended,” starring Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler, was shot. So, fans of the movie will recognize many familiar spots if they visit this resort.
The gaming lineup here is seriously sprawling. Hundreds of slot machines and dozens of tables for various table and card games. There’s even a VIP zone for players who roll high. Combine all of this with loads of promos catering to different types of players, and you’ve got yourself one of the finest establishments in the country.
Montecasino – the premier gaming hub of Gauteng province, just a 30-minute drive from Tambo International Airport. Beyond the casino itself, the complex hosts a five-star hotel and a plethora of restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and other entertainment spots.
The gaming offering is bound to wow any seasoned player. Montecasino boasts over 1700 slot machines and numerous dedicated areas for specific types of games. Table and card game enthusiasts won’t be left hanging either, as there are more than 60 gaming tables at Montecasino with various betting levels. Big spenders are in for a treat with special VIP rooms, where high rollers frequently gather.
Lotteries and other gambling entertainment in South Africa
Lotteries are the OG of legal gambling, and some reckon they’re so widespread that they claim about 95% of the whole legal gambling market in South Africa. The South African National Lottery is the big name in town, and it’s got quite a few varieties of lotteries under its wing. Let’s dive deeper into these bad boys.
Lotto – to get in on the action, you gotta cough up 5 bucks for a ticket and pick 6 numbers between 1 and 52. Draws happen every Wednesday and Saturday, broadcasted on SABC 2 at 20:52 local time. During the draw, they pull out 6 balls in sequence, and there’s a special bonus ball too, for folks who got 5 numbers in a row right. Payouts come for guessing at least 3 numbers, and the size of your prize depends on the total jackpot:
Chance of fallout
Payout as % of total fund
2 + bonus ball
1 : 96
1 : 72
3 + bonus ball
1 : 1028
1 : 1371
4 + bonus ball
1 : 30 161
1 : 75 402
5 + bonus ball
1 : 3 393 807
1 : 20 358 520
PowerBall – this is like a fancy twist on the classic lottery game, featuring a power-packed ball that can boost your winnings. After you snag a ticket, which goes for 5 bucks, you need to pick 5 main numbers between 1 and 45, and a PowerBall number between 1 and 20. The more numbers you nail, the fatter your wallet gets. We’ve crunched the numbers in a table:
Chance of fallout
Payout as % of total fund
1 : 35
1 + PowerBall
1 : 57
1 : 150
2 + PowerBall
1 : 299
1 : 225
3 + PowerBall
1 : 4 280
1 : 9 912
4 + PowerBall
1 : 188 234
1 : 2 220 274
5 + PowerBall
1 : 42 375 200
Another popular game in the South African gambling scene is poker. You can get your poker face on at any land-based casino in South Africa. Whether you’re a low-stakes player or a high-rolling ace, they’ve got tables to fit your style.
As for online poker, it’s still kind of in the wild west, with no official status or government regulation. But don’t sweat it – you’re not breaking any laws by playing. That means South African players can jump into the big international poker rooms like 888poker, PokerStars, GGPokerok, PartyPoker, and the gang.
Reliability and safety of online casinos in South Africa
There ain’t no special online casino licenses handed out in South Africa. Heck, there ain’t even any locally-based online casinos. It’s all because of the lack of a solid legal framework defining the legality of online casinos. So, players are left to choose offshore online casinos operating under prestigious international licenses. Now, you might be wondering, “What if the casino tries to pull a fast one on me?”
That’s a rarity in licensed casinos, but if you do end up in a bind, you can holler at the gambling commission that issued the license. You can hit up their website and find a feedback form or just shoot them an email.
Wrapping it up, it’s worth noting that South Africa’s a pretty gambling-friendly place. Just about every form of land-based gambling is legalized, whether it’s casinos, sports betting, or various lotteries. Things are a bit trickier in the online casino and poker room realm, as the legislation hasn’t caught up yet. But hey, steps are being taken, so it’s just a matter of time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there any land-based casinos in South Africa?
South Africa is home to a wide variety of casinos. Some of them are quite modest and designed for locals, but most of them are amazing in their brilliance and gaming arsenal.
Are online casinos legal in South Africa?
There is no separate legal framework for online casinos, so they are not regulated in any way. As a consequence, there are no local online casinos, but South Africans can always turn to offshore establishments.
Can I bet on sports in South Africa?
You can, and both in land-based bookmakers, and in their online variations. This type of gambling is completely legal and available to any adult citizen.
What is the situation with poker in South Africa?
Offline poker is available at any land-based casino in South Africa. Online poker is a bit more complicated, the situation is similar to that of online casinos. They are de jure illegal, but no one prevents you from playing in foreign establishments.
Are cryptocurrencies legal in South Africa?
Cryptocurrencies are legal in South Africa. There is no separate legislation that assigns them any status. Neither is there any state regulation.