Best South African Online Casinos: A Guide to Gambling Sites in SA

Gambling in South Africa has been a controversial subject for many years, and there are multiple gambling restrictions in place compared to at other international casinos that require some attention, if you plan to gamble as a SA national. Despite this, the gambling industry is booming and South Africans living both in-country and abroad are participating in gambling activities. If this is something you’re interested in, it’s important to know what is available to South African players, how to play, and what the law says about online casino gambling. Let’s dig deeper.

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Top Rated Online Casinos in South Africa to Keep an Eye On

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Finding the Best South African Casinos Online

Is Gambling Legal in South Africa?

Before we dive into the wonderful world of gambling in South Africa, it is essential to cover the basics by understanding what is legally expected of you. South Africa has very strict gambling laws, but this doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t gamble legally! The key is knowledge, and that’s what we’ll be focusing on here.

South Africa’s Gambling Act of 1965 was the start of what would become a heavy ban on gambling throughout the country. Only horse racing remained permitted as it was considered a sporting activity rather than gambling, and the ban caused a dramatic spike in illegal gambling activity.

In 1996, the National Gambling Act announced new changes that would classify horse racing as gambling, while also putting a casino licensing system into place that would make it possible for certain gambling institutions to operate legally in South Africa.

The National Gambling Board was established during this time, along with the National Lottery which still exists today.

Online Gambling Laws in South Africa

A gambling and racing board exists for each of the 9 provinces in South Africa, and all gambling houses, casinos and betting institutions are required to be licensed by one of these boards in order to operate. What this means for South African players is that they can legally gamble at any of these sites, but not anywhere else.

It has been a bumpy road for online gambling in South Africa. The National Gambling Act 2004 banned all types of gambling on the internet, except for gambling at betting sites with the licences mentioned above. For a few years, this ban did not apply to gambling sites located outside the country, but this changed with the 2010 National Gambling Act.

The 2010 National Gambling Act put an abrupt halt to online gambling as it’s known in many other parts of the world, and SA players could no longer gamble at foreign gambling sites without breaking the law.

Today, 30+ online betting sites in South Africa are licensed by the NGB and the board in that specific province, and gambling at offshore betting sites and casinos remain illegal. Note that these rules only apply to South Africans living in or being temporarily based in South Africa, and that South Africans based abroad can gamble at international casinos.

How About Land-Based Gambling in South Africa?

The largest land-based casino in South Africa is Rio Casino Resort, and it is currently not only the biggest casino in the country, but the 5th biggest land-based casino on the planet. Another large SA casino is the Tsogo Sun Monte Casino, and other casinos can be found throughout the nation.

South Africa

Legalities of Gambling in South Africa

What You Should Know About Gambling Authority, Licence & Jurisdiction in South Africa

With the requirement of betting sites and casinos in South Africa needing a province board licence comes one positive outcome, and that is the safety aspect for you as a South African gambler. As long as you stick to one of the legal sites, you can be sure that it’s properly monitored and regulated, with fair games and reliable payouts.

If you are a South African located abroad with the legal right to sign up and gamble at international sites, you will want to keep an eye out for casino licences such as those issued by the Malta Gaming Authority and the UK Gambling Commission, but this is irrelevant for those located in SA as only SA issued licences are valid to make a site legal.

The Issue with Illegal Gambling Sites in South Africa

Strict gambling laws have many benefits, but it also comes with a dark side where illegal gambling is allowed the opportunity to flourish. South Africa currently has thousands of gambling sites operating illegally, and the biggest issue with these is that they are unlicensed and unregulated, and therefore unable to provide a safe gambling environment for players.

It can be tempting to join an illicit gambling site since other casino gambling may be unavailable, but it is unwise to do so. The 2008 Gambling Act of SA included a more relaxed approach to online gambling, but it was never put into place. Many are now anticipating it to finally happen within the next few years.

Popular Games in South Africa

Popular Casino Games Among South African Players

Studies show that the gambling type with the highest national participation in South Africa is currently the National Lottery, which at the time of the performed study had a participation rate of 96.9%. In the same study, it was found that the lottery was followed in popularity by slots, scratch cards and horse racing.

Other Popular Game Types in SA

That said, there are also many South Africans who prefer other types of games, such as slots and table games, but it is believed that their popularity would rise significantly if it wasn’t for the strict gambling restrictions currently existing in the country.

Bonuses at South African Casinos

Enjoy Top-Class Bonuses at South Africa Casinos

The gambling sites available in South Africa often offer bonuses to both new and returning players, just like international gambling sites. You can expect to come across generous welcome bonuses such as cash match deposit bonuses, free spins and special deals, along with attractive rewards for loyal casino gamblers. VIP clubs and cashback programmes are excellent examples.

Unlicensed gambling sites may offer bonuses that sound almost too good to be true, and unfortunately, chances are that they are. With non-existing regulations, there are no guarantees that these sites will follow through on their promises, which is yet another reason why you should stay clear of these types of sites.

Wagering Requirements for South African Players

The general setup of online gambling is different in South Africa due to the many restrictions, but there are still many features you can’t escape. If your gambling or betting site comes with bonuses, then chances are those bonuses have wagering requirements attached. Always read through terms and conditions carefully, so that you know what you’re signing up for if you choose to accept a bonus.

Signing Up at a Casino in South Africa

Signing Up for an Online Casino in South Africa

The first step is locating a gambling site that allows South African players to join, and how difficult this will be depends on whether you are currently located within the country or abroad. Players in South Africa cannot join international sites and must stick to those licensed by a South African bookmaker.

South Africans living abroad can legally use international gambling sites and are not subject to the SA gambling restrictions. We strongly advise against joining unlicensed or illegal SA gambling sites, and we recommend that you look up what type of authorised site you can safely use for your own safety.

Create an Account

Signing up for an account includes visiting a casino website or mobile app and locating the signup button. Keep in mind that it might be possible for SA players to sign up on international sites where you can’t legally gamble at this point, and it is the responsibility of each individual player to verify the legal status of a site.

Provide Basic Personal Information

During the initial sign up process, you’ll be asked for your name and email address, along with other basic information that could vary depending on the gambling site. Some might ask for your age or phone number, and this is all to make sure you meet the requirements of SA law as well as the regulations of the casino.

Verify Your Account

The first step of account verification is to go to your email inbox and click on the link sent to you, and unless you are gambling at a no-verification casino, you’ll need to follow up by uploading the requested supporting documents. Identity verification by uploading copies of your passport or national I.D is common, along with proof of home address in the shape of a utility bill or similar.

Casino Payment Methods in SA

Popular Gambling Payment Methods in South Africa

How you pay matters, and in South Africa, some online payment methods are more popular than others, and it’s something that you can take into consideration when choosing your preferred gambling sites. If you are currently in South Africa, then your choices of online casinos are somewhat limited due to existing laws, but payment methods are something you won’t have to worry about. There are plenty to choose from.

Bank cards remain a very popular payment method in SA, possibly because of its availability and how many people have access to some type of a payment card, but it is safe to say e-wallets and other contactless payment methods are on the rise!

We are going to have a look at some of the payment methods that are frequently used by South African players, both those living in the country and those living abroad. You might even have a preferred payment method, but you can still benefit from having a basic idea of what your options are. All our recommended payment methods allow payments with ZAR.

South Africa Mastercard

VISA/Mastercard

In South Africa, it is very common to have a bank card from any of the major banks, and these are usually VISA or Mastercards. The benefits here are the safety features that come with card payments, along with the availability. Almost everyone has one, and it is a familiar payment method that gamblers rely on for this reason.

The downside is that you need access to your card number when you want to make a deposit, and you run the risk of accidentally exposing your card number if you tend to gamble in public areas, or lose your card if you have the habit of carrying it with you. It can also be a hassle to have to type in these number sequences every time.

VISA and Mastercard payments in South Africa usually take anything from 3 to 7 business days when you make a withdrawal, but deposits are almost always instant. You can expect fees when using a bank card at many online casinos, and the fees are usually between 2-3% of the transaction amount.

Skrill

Skrill is a popular e-wallet that is also available in South Africa, and the advantage is that it is almost always available as a payment method, regardless of the gambling site you choose. With Skrill, you create an account and a virtual wallet where you can store cash, and you only need your login credentials when it is time to make a casino payment.

With Skrill, you use your bank account to top up your account, but a potential benefit is that only ‘Skrill’ will be listed on your bank statement, and nothing related to online gambling or what you ultimately chose to use the money for.

One thing you’ll inevitably notice if you read casino terms and conditions, is that many gambling sites don’t give out casino bonuses to those paying with Skrill and Neteller. This applies also to South African players and may be a deal-breaker if you are someone who values casino bonuses.

South Africa Casinos Skrill

PayPal Casino South Africa

PayPal

You can open up a personal account or a PayPal business account, and use this well established payment service to make purchases and money transactions all over the world. It is one of the top options in South Africa, and the company’s long history and reputation as one of the first e-wallets likely contributes to its popularity.

Unfortunately, PayPal is one of the less commonly found payment methods at online casinos in SA and worldwide, but there is a good explanation. The payment platform is very selective with the casino sites they collaborate with, and what this means for you as a player is that a casino with PayPal is likely a casino you can trust.

PayPal also charges some fees when you withdraw money from your e-wallet and to your bank account, and it could be worth exploring if you benefit more from making small withdrawals or save up for a larger withdrawal.

Neteller

Neteller is also available in South Africa, and while the statistics show that it’s somewhat less popular than Skrill, the two tend to go hand in hand and are often mentioned together. Just like with Skrill, Neteller is usually a poor choice when wanting to claim a casino bonus, as casinos may have restrictions in place for both.

If this is not a concern, or if you would like to use Neteller for deposits when no bonuses are available, it is a highly trustworthy service that offers instant deposits and reasonably fast withdrawals, where you’ll have your money in your e-wallet within hours and a day or two.

Neteller SA

Bitcoin South Africa

Bitcoin

With the strict gambling rules in South Africa, it is not surprising to see gamblers becoming more and more drawn to cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin. Bitcoin is a volatile currency that is fully electronic and border-free, and it is as close as you can get to anonymous payments. It requires some knowledge to start using cryptocurrency for casino payments, and you will inevitably have to do some research to find crypto friendly online casinos.

The anonymity of cryptocurrency payments could be favourable for players in South Africa considering how tricky it can be to navigate the existing online casino gambling laws, but it is certainly not a payment method that works for everyone.

Comparing Different SA Payment Methods

A Breakdown of Payment Methods at South African Casinos

Payment MethodPayment TypeProsCons
VISA/MastercardDebit/Credit CardAlmost everyone has a card. Widely available.Inconvenient to always need your card number.
Bank TransferBank Transfer Wire TransferExtremely secure. Available everywhere.Slow casino transactions that are visible on your bank statement.
SkrillE-WalletInstant deposits and fast withdrawals.May make you ineligible for casino bonuses.
PayPalE-WalletAvailable only at trustworthy casinos.Restricted availability and fees.
BitcoinCryptocurrencyAnonymous transactions and low fees.Volatile and sometimes unpredictable.

Responsible Gambling In SA

Responsible Gambling Resources in South Africa

Each and every online gambler is responsible for their own behaviour on the internet, and that includes making sure you gamble responsibly. Responsible gambling includes setting reasonable budgets for yourself and to never gamble for more money than you can afford to lose. In SA, resources are available to those who need help regulating their gambling.

The South African Responsible Gambling Foundation (SARGF) offers free resources for those needing help with gambling regulation, such as toll-free phone lines, reading material, tips and advice, and you can use this if you feel you need additional support.

Online casinos available in South Africa also offer tools like daily, weekly and monthly gambling limits, as well as options to voluntarily suspend yourself from using the service for a set period of time.

south africa casinos online

Gambling is Rising in Popularity in South Africa

South Africa’s Gambling Culture is On the Rise

Yes, South Africa is still waiting for a much anticipated update to their gambling laws, and many hope for online gambling to become more accessible. For now, it remains illegal for South Africans in South Africa to gamble at international gambling sites, and only gambling at SA licensed sites is allowed.

Despite the restrictions, there are plenty of options out there for South Africans, and if you are a South African located outside of your home country, then you can legally gamble at online gambling sites.

Use the information provided in this guide to find the best gambling opportunities for you, and don’t forget to gamble responsibly. Online gambling is available in South Africa, and you just need to know how to play.

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