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Sports betting – Legal in South African online casinos fast becoming a challenge for other games

Sports betting in South Africa- online casinos

Sports betting is fast developing in the online gaming industry. In 2017 the South African National gambling Board (NGB) reported that land based casinos still generate the most money in the broad gambling industry but that in the fiscal year covered by the report, land based casinos had actually lost revenue. But why are the land based casinos which are  still at the top of the gambling pyramid in South Africa are losing ground to other gambling opportunities.  Well the fact is that gamers are interested in other online games, low payout machines, lotteries and sports betting that are all growing and present a strong challenge to the leadership of the land based casinos.

2017 Fiscal Year in Review

Sports betting in South Africa

In a recent study it was found that the gambling sector overall gained 3.8% in fiscal 2017 to R27 billion.  Just a fraction less of two-thirds of this revenue came from land based casinos, revenues from which actually decreased by 1.8% in fiscal 2017.

A decrease of 1.8% may seem small but when compared it to gains in other gambling sectors.  Sports betting and horseracing each saw increases in the past fiscal year of almost 15%.  Since horseracing is a form of sports betting, it could be said that sports betting rose by about 30% in 2017 but that would be misleading. Because sports betting is not one sport but betting on sports games in every sporting category. Sports betting has also come to encompass non-sports betting such as on entertainment prizes, election outcomes, and many other aspects of modern life on which people are willing to place a wager.

Low paying machines and bingo also increased revenue but it is in the sports betting niche that the future of gambling in South Africa may be found.

 Sports betting legal at online casinos

Sportsbetting at SA online casino to play in Rand

The law regarding online casinos is still vague and South Africans actually enjoy online games as much as they enjoy any other form of gambling.  Online casinos would certainly offer stern competition to all forms of gambling if the law were less murky.  The day when there will be no doubts about the value of online casinos is not far off. Sports betting is legal in South Africa both online and at land based venues.

When you look at worldwide scenario, sports betting is in its bright “infancy” headed toward a vibrant “adulthood”.   There are so many sports, leagues, competitions, tournaments, and sports activities that punters love the endless action. Sports betting affords players the chance to outwit the professionals in the sports, both the athletes and the coaches on the sports side and professional analysts on the gambling side.

Sports betting- Growing Betting Market

Sports betting in Rands

Where sports betting is legal and fully regulated, punters can place bets on dozens of games and events.  Many sites that take sports bets also streamline the games and competitions so gamblers need not pay for expensive cable hook ups.

There are many ways to bet on sports and new players must take the time to study the various betting options before beginning to place bets on sports. For instance, in American football there are three possible leading bets. There are also a large number of lesser bets that defy prediction.  The three bets that do allow for analysis and prediction are winner or loser; over under; and the spread.

Winner or loser is a straight bet on the outcome of the game with no regard for the score.  Over under is a bet on whether the aggregate number of points scored will be over a set number or under it.  The spread is the expected differential between the expected winning team and the expected losing team.

If you feel that if a certain team will win by 7 points, you bet to that effect but if they win by only 6 points you lose your bet.  Similarly, a team that is expected to lose by a wide margin can win many bets for gamblers by losing by a smaller margin.

A similar range of bets is possible in almost all sports events or competitions so punters are well advised to become armchair experts on one or two sports instead of spreading themselves too wide and missing out on important information that would affect their betting.

Billions of dollars are bet on sports in the US each year but only a small fraction of it is legal as a law from 1992 made sports betting illegal in all but the four states where some form of sports betting was already legal.  As you might expect, Las Vegas is in one of the states where sports betting was and remains legal.

The law from 1992 is being challenged in the US Supreme Court and sports betting may become legal in all states if the court repeals the law.  The significance is that Americans would then begin to pay attention to sports all over the world including in South Africa.

If the world’s largest economy begins betting on South African rugby, cricket, or football, one can expect to hear criticism from the states about how managers ran competitions based on how well the American punters did on their bets.  The South African government needs to make sure that the integrity of African sports is not threatened by American sports bettors.  

As the report for fiscal 2017 shows, sports betting has joined online casino betting as the prime choices of South African bettors.  Even as sports betting is permitted online and raises revenue for the government, it should clear up all the cloud in the online casino gambling sector so that the government can realize the full potential in revenues from that source as well.

Popular online sports betting sites for South African punters

Where to do sports betting online in Rands

South African punters can do sports betting in Rand or ZAR at many of the well known reputed online sites such as Sunbet, Sporting Bet, Betfair, Betway, William Hill, 888sport, bet365 and many more.

As gambling in South Africa is regulated by the National Gambling Act of 2004. The Act applies to all gambling activities and includes clauses that specifically prohibit online gambling. However, the Act makes provision for bookmakers to acquire licenses and thereby offer legal online sports betting services.

The National Gambling Amendment Act was published in 2008 but is yet to come into effect. If it’s passed, this Act will legalise a wider variety of online gambling activities. So far, however, objections from within the South African casino industry have kept the Act from being adopted.

Note that South African citizens are prohibited from making use of unlicensed bookmakers, including offshore bookmakers that haven’t obtained South African licenses.

In many countries that regulate online gambling, gambling legislation largely targets betting providers, rather than individual bettors. However, South African gambling laws target both bettors and providers. South Africans who use unlicensed bookmakers, or engage in other illegal online gambling activities, risk having their funds confiscated, as well as criminal prosecution.

Finally note that sports betting is legal provided you make use of a bookmaker that has been licensed by a gambling or horseracing board in South Africa. An increasing number of international bookmakers are acquiring licenses to operate in South Africa, and South Africans can now bet online with a small selection of major bookmaker brands.