Sports betting in South Africa was first legalized in 1994. Before then, over 2000, illegal casinos were operating in the country.
South Africa doesn’t allow any online gambling other than sports betting. Today, the sports betting climate in South Africa is among the best in the world.
Online Sportsbooks in South Africa
Sports betting in South Africa has exploded with the introduction of online sportsbooks. Suddenly, a new generation of sports bettor was born.
This new breed of punter was no longer hampered by geographical restrictions. If you have a stable internet connection, you can fulfill all of your sports betting needs.
The market was flooded by young gamblers that suddenly found a reliable and convenient outlet for their favorite new hobby.
Suddenly, they were handed 24/7 access to some of the best sportsbooks available. Because there is so much competition between these sites, punters in South Africa enjoy competitive lines on all of their favorite sports.
The online sportsbooks that sprung up in the early days placed a significant emphasis on security and convenience. Those efforts paid off for the sportsbooks and the sports bettors alike.
South African sportsbooks offer safe and straightforward sports betting to their loyal customers.
All of the top online sportsbooks in South Africa offer their clients a mobile solution. This makes the transition from laptop to betting on the go from their smartphone completely seamless.
Any sports bettor in South Africa over 18 years old can easily make deposits, request withdraws, and place their bets from their palm.
The potential of sports betting in South Africa is yet to be fully realized. However, the market is ripe and grows at exponential rates.
Hundreds of new lines are made available daily over a wide range of sportsbooks. The sportsbooks are well regulated, and most, if not all, sportsbooks operating in South Africa are reputable and trustworthy.
What sports are South African punters putting their money on?
I always preach the importance of sticking to what you know when sports betting. South Africans definitely know soccer.
Soccer is the national sport of South Africa, and it isn’t a close race. Soccer rules the sports scene in the country, and sports bettors can’t seem to get enough.
Until the 1990s, apartheid was rampant in South Africa. This segregation was as prevalent in the sports world as it was in everyday life.
In fact, the first leagues in South Africa did not allow people of color at all. It went on like this for nearly 100 years.
The country ended up being banned from some international competitions due to the sickening policy of segregation.
It wasn’t until the nation started the multi-racial league, the South African Football Association, that they were admitted to FIFA. This was only 29 years ago.
World Cup appearances by the country in 1998, 2002, and 2010 helped increase soccer’s popularity.
Perhaps the most significant boost to soccer’s prominence in the country came in 2011. When South Africa became the first African nation to host a World Cup.
This event drew hundreds of thousands of spectators and fans to the country. For the first time in South Africa’s rich and checkered soccer history, it was placed directly in the spotlight.
South African sports bettors went crazy over the event. Millions were traded on the event despite the South African team not making the event.
The event drew many soccer fan’s from the sidelines and into the world of sports betting.
Today, soccer generates billions of dollars being wagered each year in South Africa.
If soccer has any competition at the top of the South African sports betting mountain, it comes from rugby.
Much like soccer, rugby’s true potential wasn’t fully realized until the end of apartheid. The country had been banned from international play by the sports governing body.
That all changed in 1992, and the Springboks burst onto the scene.
The South African national team is ranked among the Top 5 on the planet. A distinction they have held for nearly 20 years.
Sports bettors enjoy placing the action on the games every week. With 3 significant leagues in action, the punters are kept in action year-round, and the sportsbooks are flush with cash.
In addition to the league matches, sports bettors can choose between international competitions like the Rugby World Cup, the Africa Cup, and the Tri-Nations.
Rugby may never reach the level of soccer when it comes to sports betting, but rugby has undoubtedly earned a spot at the table.
Sports betting on cricket has remained steady over the past 2 decades. Cricket holds a spot at the top of the popularity pyramid in South Africa.
Race has long been among the hot button issues in South Africa, and cricket has always been among the top with both sides.
Thankfully, the days of apartheid are slowly becoming a dot on the horizon in the rearview mirror of South Africa.
Cricket is also popular with sports bettors in the country. Punters will often lay wagers on matches.
Live or in-game betting is also extremely popular with cricket. Matches can last several hours, and this gives sports bettors plenty of time waiting on a final result.
The sportsbooks recognized this massive opportunity and jumped. Punters can place a litany of in-game bets to keep the action going even when the play slows.
South Africa’s cricket scene is uncertain. The country’s governing body on the sport, Cricket South Africa, was recently suspended by the Olympic Committee and the Sports Confederation.
This could spell serious trouble for the national team, although no suspension has been explicitly levied.
It does seem that the move will severely impact international play if a firm and swift resolution isn’t reached.
South Africa has a rich and storied tradition of producing some of the finest golfer’s on the planet.
The first name that comes to mind is the “Man in Black,” Gary Player. Player was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and considered one of the greatest players of all-time.
Player set a spectacular bar for golf in South Africa, winning an impressive 9 Majors. Those 9 are comprised of 1 U.S. Open, 2 PGA Championships, 3 Masters, and 3 wins at The Open Championship (The British Open).
Player has been a true ambassador for the sport and the country. He’s been involved in many philanthropic endeavors, including his own foundation, providing education to underprivileged children worldwide.
Ernie Els picked up where Player left off. Hailing from Johannesburg himself, Els is one of the most well-liked players in the world.
Ernie Els has a fantastic 8 Majors to his name. These Majors include 2 at each of the 4 Majors.
With 2 such exceptional golfers hailing from the country, it isn’t any surprise that sports bettors flock to the sportsbooks for golf.
Much like in the U.S., the Majors dominate the action when it comes to sports betting on golf.
When Louis Oosthuizen won the Open Championship in 2010, the sportsbooks in South Africa saw record money flowing in on golf.
Two years later, the sportsbooks saw another massive influx of cash when Oosthuizen made a push at the 2012 Masters. Oosthuizen came up just short, losing in a playoff to American Bubba Watson.
Horse racing is sizzling hot when it comes to sports betting in South Africa.
Since the 1800s, horse racing has been a staple for punters in South Africa. The country has 8 main tracks, where the action takes place.
South Africans show up in force every week to watch the action unfold and cheer their ponies to the finish line.
Horse Racing mobile apps have been responsible for a boost to the dollars spent by bettors. Gamblers no longer need to drive hours to the track or take time off work to make the races and place their bets.
All of the bets and results are presented to them on their phones or tablets. Meaning that those gamblers that can’t get enough of the action can do so from wherever they happen to be.
What could be worse than missing out on a “sure thing” because your second cousin’s stepkid is getting married?
Not a problem if you’re able to place the bet from your smartphone during the ceremony.
It’s been my experience that sports bettors are sports bettors. It makes no difference what our language barriers (South Africa has 11 official languages), cultural differences, or backgrounds may be.
Sports bettors have a sort of universal language. We’re all looking for an edge on the sportsbook. Sports betting in South Africa is no different.
Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. …