Betting on Sports as a South African Player
South Africans are known for a few key things – sunny skies, biltong and braaivleis, Springboks, Proteas, and Bafana Bafana. We are generally a happy bunch that love the sense of competition and doing the very best that we can. This means that we really love sports as a nation, we love watching games, we love cheering our boys and girls on, and we love winning.
That said, a trend is emerging among South African sports fans who have found a way to take their love of sports to a whole new level of excitement and fun. It’s called online sports betting, and it is taking SA by storm as more and more South Africans discover how to transform just watching sports, to getting in where the real action is.
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Your Go-To SA Sports Betting Guide
But how does sports betting actually work and, if you’re looking to get into betting on sports as a South African player, where do you start?
Before you dive into sports betting, there are a lot of points that you will need to consider. After all, there really isn’t much fun in betting on your favourite sports if you end up on a dodgy site that only exists to take all of your hard-earned money. Besides the safety factor, you’ll also need to find an online sportsbook that works with ZAR currency, or you’ll need to be prepared to do some conversion math to other currencies like USD or EUR.
If these basic points already sound like hard work and are making you doubt whether this is the right activity for you, don’t worry, we’ve all been there!
Instead, read this guide to betting on sports as a South African player to learn all the ins and outs of betting online. We’ll take you through the process step by step so that sports betting becomes the easiest hobby you were ever glad you took up.
How Does Online Sports Betting Work?
The first step in becoming a successful sports bettor in South Africa is to understand the basics of sports betting and how the whole thing works. Of course, sports betting has been around for a long time, long before the internet came along. For decades, people in South Africa used to bet on horse racing, as well as private betting on all sorts of sporting events and contests.
However, with the advent of the internet, sports betting became a lot more convenient and a lot easier to participate in. Not only can you still bet on local horse racing, but horse racing from all over the world, plus all sorts of sports like soccer, rugby, cricket, tennis, golf and many others. The big difference here is that you can bet on any of these events in the blink of an eye, simply by clicking your mouse (or tapping your thumb) on a few selections and processes.
To begin betting on sports as a South African player, you’ll need to find a good online sportsbook with a solid reputation among experienced users. The next step is to create your own personal account with your chosen sportsbook, so you can begin betting on sports right away.
Since betting involves money, you’ll need to fund your new account with at least the minimum required amount. To do this, you’ll need to choose a preferred SA payment option, and follow the instructions that go with it.
Learning the Basics of Sports Betting in South Africa
Once you have successfully funded your betting account, it’s time to try your hand at placing a few bets. It is important to note that online betting sites for South African players work in exactly the same way as they do for other countries around the world.
Virtually all online sportsbooks consist of the same basic components:
- Your personal account area
- A cashier page where you can make your deposits and cash out your winnings
- A betting page where you can select your local and international fixtures to bet on
- A betting slip where you can place your bets on and keep track of them
- A live or ‘In-Play’ betting page where you can dive into betting on events as they unfold in real-time
- A support section where you can get help when you need it
- A promotions page that contains details of current and up and coming promotions such as free bets on special sporting events, tournaments and so forth
To get the ball rolling on your first few bets, you’ll need to visit the pre-match betting page that covers all of the available sports that can be bet on for that day, that week, or even for that month. Here, you can see all the sports that are currently available, along with their fixture dates, current odds and betting options.
All you need to do to get going is to pick a sport, check the available odds and, if you are happy with them, add that event plus the odds that you like to your betting slip. That’s basically how to bet on sports online in a nutshell. As you can see, the process is very easy and even a total novice should have no problem placing their first bet or two.
Picking Your Sports to Bet On
When it comes to picking the sports that you want to bet on, most new players tend to get a bit overwhelmed here. That’s because good sportsbooks will always offer a wide variety of sporting codes and betting options to choose from.
If you’re new to the game, the best place to start is with a sport that you already love and know well. This will give you a good foundation to work from, as you will already be familiar with the teams involved, the rules of the game, and the betting options that are available based on the intrinsic features of that game.
Once you’ve found your feet, you can always expand your horizons by checking out other sports that may be on offer. This would be a good time to do your homework and research the intricacies of that particular sport, who the main teams and players are, how the rules work, what sort of tournaments and playoffs they have and so forth.
You may also find that the top sports betting sites will include a bunch of extra information on different sports, including vital statistics on teams and players, breaking news on developments within teams, blogs and advice columns from experts and much more. All of this will help you to make informed betting decisions that have a much higher chance of winning than losing.
Understanding How Odds Work
If you are planning on betting on sports as a South African player, it is vital that you understand how odds work. Odds are the lifeblood of online sports betting, and knowing how different odds work and how they are expressed could be the difference between picking up a good wager, with a good price, or getting hurt by odds that are going against you.
Most online sports betting sites will offer their odds in different ways:
You will find some sites that offer additional odds such as Asian odds or US odds but, by and large, the above two are the main ones. Essentially, betting odds let you know how likely a bet or event is going to occur, whilst also letting you know what your winning amount could be.
Betting odds relate to the probability of an outcome. For example, if one were to take a dice and roll it, there would be six possible results. So, betting that someone rolls a 1, will give you a probability percentage of 16.67% of that 1 result coming up. All sportsbooks are doing, is giving you this information in a format that you can understand and use to make your decision from.
Fractional odds present two numbers divided by a slash mark, like so: 5/1 or 9/1 and so on.
To understand how fractional odds relate to the probability of an event happening, you can calculate fractional odds like this:
4/1 is calculated as 1 / (4 + 1) or 0.20 = A 20% chance of the event occurring.
1/1 is calculated as 1 / (1 + 1) or 0.50 = a 50% chance of the even occurring (50/50 chance).
Decimal odds are becoming more and more popular with online sports bettors and betting sites, as they make understanding odds a little bit easier. Decimal odds work a bit differently to fractional odds because they include your stake plus your winning amount should your bet win. For this reason, decimal odds are calculated as Winnings = (odds x stake) – stake (bet).
So, for example:
Decimal odds of 4.0 means that if your stake was R10, your calculation would be (4.0 x R10) – R10 giving you R30 in winnings.
Live Sports Betting
Live sports betting is an additional facility or service that most top online sportsbooks are able to offer their players. What this essentially means is that you can move over from the normal sort of pre-match betting to wagers on matches or fixtures that are already underway.
Live betting is a great way to enhance your overall online sports betting experience, as you can choose from a host of different fixtures, not only in South Africa but from all over the world as well.
The best part is that you will find top live events all in one platform, without having to do too much research ahead of time. This is because top sportsbooks will include an array of vital match and team stats on each event both live and pre-match.
You also won’t need to worry about setting up a different player account in order to bet on live events, as these features are all included in your user account. Switching from a pre-match page over to a live betting page can be done with just one click, and you can jump into the action right away, even up to the last minute of the game.
Taking Advantage of Live Streaming and Other Perks
One of the big perks of live betting is being able to monitor the action as it unfolds. Different sports betting sites will offer different live streaming services, with the best including a live video stream of the event. Live streaming can also include graphic displays of every event, with each point, penalty or goal displayed as and when it happens.
Depending on the sport, you may also be able to receive a live radio broadcast of the event, which allows you to keep up with the action via your headphones. This type of service is especially popular with horse racing events.
Betting on the Go – Mobile Sports Betting Crash Course
It’s fair to say that mobile devices have completely taken over our daily reality. We use our mobile devices in virtually every aspect of our day to day lives, from communicating with loved ones and friends over social media to paying the bills from our mobile banking facilities to planning our day, and much more.
So, it makes sense then that we would also start using our mobile devices to play online games or bet on sports. Mobile technology has come such a long way in an incredibly short space of time, that many of us haven’t even caught up to what is now possible with a mobile device.
If you are thinking about getting into betting on sports as a South African player, then considering a sports betting platform on your mobile device is an absolute must. To this end, here’s a quick crash course on sports betting from your mobile device.
Why Bet Via Your Mobile Device?
Betting on your mobile device comes with a lot of advantages that you might not be able to enjoy when engaging via your standard desktop platform. In fact, most experienced sports bettors prefer using their mobile betting app for a number of reasons.
Betting via your mobile means that you can do so from virtually any location in South Africa. As long as you have a good data package, or are close to a Wi-Fi hotspot, you can log in to your betting account and monitor current odds on the match or game you want to bet on or follow the action as it unfolds.
Here’s something that a lot of experienced and successful South African sports bettors like to do – combine watching the game or match live from the stadium with real-time live sports betting on that very game via their mobile device. This is not only easy to do, but it also adds an entirely new dimension to interactive sports betting via a live betting platform or app.
Device compatibility is often one of the most overlooked aspects of mobile sports betting. All too often, sports bettors are over-eager to get going with betting on their favourite sports, and totally forget to check if their device is even compatible with the available mobile sports betting apps.
When it comes to mobile sports betting apps, the vast majority of sports betting sites will focus almost exclusively on the Android and iOS (Apple) markets. This is simply because these two mobile operating systems are still the biggest in the industry. In fact, Android is (and has been) the biggest operating system for some time.
Most online sports betting sites will include details relating to compatibility, although it’s a fair bet to assume that, as long as your mobile device is fairly new, you should be fine. Android and iOS devices that ship with the latest operating systems are usually able to handle most apps thrown at them.
However, what if you don’t use either Android or iOS or what if you just don’t need another app cluttering your device screen?
Luckily, most top sports betting sites are now choosing to switch over to the more inclusive HTML5 mobile browser platform for their mobile sports betting services. What this basically means is that you can enjoy mobile sports betting regardless of which mobile device or operating system you are currently using.
You’ll find that HTML5-driven mobile sports betting platforms offer exactly the same user experience if you were to log on from your desktop or laptop computer. You’ll be able to enjoy the same betting features, mobile support, secure payment options, and betting promotions on the go as you would at home.
Is it Safe to Bet on Sports Via Your Mobile Device?
Betting on sports via your mobile device is every bit as safe as when betting from your normal desktop or laptop platform. The key here is to ensure that you always pick a good sports betting site to sign up with. It naturally follows that, if they are a highly reputable operation, their mobile platform will be just as reputable and just as safe.
Is it Legal to Bet on Sports in South Africa?
This is probably the most asked question surrounding online sports betting in South Africa, and the short answer is yes, it is. Unlike online casino gambling, which is banned in South Africa under the National Gambling Act of 2004, online sports betting is permitted under certain conditions. As long as the online sports betting site is legally licensed through one of our local gambling boards, you will be able to bet on a wide range of sporting codes online.
A Background to Gambling in South Africa
Gambling in South Africa has always been a very restricted activity, even as far back as the late 1600s. In 1965, the introduction of the Gambling Act ensured that all forms of gambling were officially outlawed. The Gambling Act covered a lot of ground, banning virtually all gambling activities within the borders of South Africa. The only exception to this rule was horse racing, which enthusiasts could still gamble on trackside or at government-approved totes.
During the 1970s, brick and mortar casinos began to flourish in what was then known as ‘Bantu Homelands’. These areas were independent of South Africa, even though they still fell within the borders of the country. They included Bophuthatswana, Transkei, Swaziland and other areas. However, since most South Africans simply couldn’t afford to visit these rather upmarket casinos, illegal gambling flourished.
In 1994, South Africa entered a new phase in its history with the creation of a new democratic constitution. The National Gambling Act of 1996 sought to legalise a number of gambling activities within the country. This included the creation of a system of legal brick and mortar casinos throughout the country and a new national lottery system.
The National Gambling Act also created a new body
the National Gambling Board, which would effectively control, license and regulate all gambling activities within the country, including horse racing.
In 2004, an updated or amended National Gambling Act banned online casino gambling but excluded online sports betting from this regulation. This was good news for South African sports fans, as it meant that they could legally bet on all of their favourite sports, including rugby, cricket soccer or football, horse racing and more.
The Legality of Horse Race Betting in South Africa
Prior to 1996, horse race betting enthusiasts would need to go to their local horse track, or a government-approved off-track tote if they wanted to gamble on the day’s horse racing events. However, with the introduction of new gambling laws in 1996, horse racing bettors could now indulge in horse race betting at the track or online in the comfort of their own homes.
What About Betting on Rugby in South Africa?
Rugby is one of the most popular sports in South Africa, second only to soccer. If you are looking to bet on rugby fixtures, both local and international, we offer a list of approved and vetted South African sports betting sites that feature a wide range of top-notch rugby betting options.
Licensed Online Betting Sites in SA
Whenever you choose to bet on sports online in South Africa, always make sure that the site is licensed to offer online betting services to South Africans. With the current gambling act in South Africa, there are a total of 9 different provincial gambling boards that are authorised to issue online sports betting licenses to operators.
The main gambling board that deals with online sports betting licenses in South Africa is the Western Cape Gambling and Racing Board or WCGRB, based in Cape Town. You’ll find the WCGRB logo on most of the approved online betting sites operating within the South African market at present. It is, however, worth noting that horse race betting online does include a 6% fee which is deducted from your winnings by the gambling board.
Getting Started – Choosing Your Online Sports Betting Site
Now that you have a clearer understanding of how online sports betting works as well as the legal position of online sports betting in South Africa, let’s take a look at how to choose a good online sportsbook and how to get started with betting on sports online.
How to Pick Safe Sports Betting Sites in South Africa
The key to a good online sports betting experience, right from the start, is to pick a good online sportsbook. The online sports betting industry is one of the fastest-growing in the world, and South Africa is one of the newest markets that the industry is looking to invest in.
However, as with many other online industries, there are great online betting sites, and there are scammers, and you have to know how to sort the good from the bad. In fact, bad online betting sites don’t even have to be obvious in how they operate and it can be difficult to tell before signing up if they are on the level or not.
For example, an online betting site may look completely legitimate on the surface, and offer plenty of betting options and promotions. However, once you’ve signed up and invested some of your money with them, you find out that they use all sorts of tactics to delay your payouts (winnings) or find ways to declare them null and void altogether. This is something you need to avoid at all costs.
There are two effective ways to go about choosing a reputable sportsbook for betting on sports as a South African player. The first is the easiest, and all you need to do is make your selection from our recommended list of SA sports betting sites. We’ve thoroughly tested and vetted each recommendation, so all you need to do is sign up and get betting.
If you prefer, you can use the second method, which is to check each betting site against the following basic criteria.
Assessing Key Sportsbook Features – What to Look For
As a South African player, the criteria for selecting a good sportsbook isn’t much different that of players from other regions of the world. This is largely due to the fact that many of the top sportsbooks actually operate on a global level and ensure that their services work for a wide-ranging customer base.
Every sports betting site includes certain standard features as well as a range of additional features to make them more attractive as well as more competitive. By creating a list of these basic and additional features, one can easily assess whether or not a given sports betting site is worth your investment or not.
When assessing a potential sportsbook, check for the following:
Ease of use: A sports betting site should be easy to use, even if you’ve never used a sportsbook before. The site should make essential functions such as setting up your account, funding your account, seeking assistance, and taking advantage of special offers, as easy as possible.
Safety and security: A good betting site should follow good internet security protocols, which includes the latest SSL (Secure Socket Layer) data encryption software. Data encryption ensures that all of your sensitive data such as credit card details, personal details, identity and so forth, remains encrypted at all times.
Customer Support: Solid customer support when you need it most, is another key feature to look for. Ideally, customer support should be available on a 24-hour basis and should include a live chat feature, email and a direct call line.
Free Bets and Promotions: Good sportsbooks will always offer their players free bet promotions, not only when they first sign up with the site, but as a valued member on an ongoing basis. However, it’s a good idea to always assess each free bet or other betting promotion individually for fairness (especially where rollover is concerned), before taking up the promotion.
Mobile Betting Option: Most of us use our mobile phones or tablets for just about everything these days, and sports betting is certainly no exception. A good sportsbook should be able to offer an equally good mobile version of their platform, either as a dedicated app (usually for Android or iOS users) or as an Instant Play (browser-based) platform.
Fast Payments: When you win your bet on that nail-biting rugby game or that photo finish horse race, you want to be paid out as quickly and as painlessly as possible. Good sportsbooks always feature timeous payouts and a wide range of payment options, so that you can choose the payment method that best suits your needs.
Should You Take Advantage of Bonuses and Free Bet Promos?
This all really depends on the sportsbook and what they are prepared to offer you as a sign-up bonus, or even as a bonus after you’ve already signed up with them. The key point to whether or not you should take a bonus offer is not based on the amount being offered, but the terms and conditions attached to that offer. Knowing these two factors will determine the overall value of the bonus offer.
For example, if a sportsbook is offering you a free bet worth R100, but your rollover requirement (the number of times they want you to bet your bonus money) is so high that the chances of you coming out with some money to show for it are slim to none, the offer simply isn’t worth taking,
On the other hand, if the offer is good and the rollover amount required is very low, then the offer may be worth considering, especially if you are new to betting online.
Payment Options for Sports Betting in South Africa
When it comes to funding your online sports betting account, you have a few excellent options in South Africa. Let’s take a closer look at the most prevalent of these payment options.
For making secure deposits into your online sportsbook account, the following are available:
MasterCard – Instantly recognisable, MasterCard is accepted at thousands of online sportsbooks all over the world. Whether in credit card or debit card format, MasterCard is easy and safe to use and is supported by all online betting sites for South Africa.
Visa–Just like MasterCard, Visa is instantly recognised and supported all over the world. In fact, Visa is still the number one credit card network globally. You can use either Visa credit or debit card options such as Visa Electron or Visa Debit at top SA online sports betting sites.
EFT–Electronic Funds Transfer or EFT is one of the simplest and safest options for funding your online sportsbook account. The big plus here is that EFT is supported by all major SA banks including ABSA, Nedbank, FNB and Standard Bank. You’ll need to have an active account with one of these banks and you can expect transfer times to vary from immediate to three days.
Instant EFT (SID)– SID EFT works in a similar way to standard EFT but provides instant transfer results. SID EFT is owned by Setcom (PTY) Ltd and features instant deposit times with no service fees added on to your transactions.
I-Pay– I-Pay is a fairly new option for online sports betting fans in South Africa but offers a convenient range of payment channels including via Push Payment, email, QR Code or SMS. You won’t need to worry about any additional fees charged to your transactions and deposit times vary from 24 hours to three days.
Cashing out of your betting account is a fairly straightforward affair, provided that you have uploaded all of the required paperwork to your online sportsbook. This will include information pertaining to your identity, proof of address and other items required by the KYC or Know Your Customer procedures. These are required by international law as a way to prevent online fraud, organised crime and money laundering. Without completing these requirements, you will not be permitted to withdraw money from your betting account.
Once you’ve ensured that everything is correct, you’ll be able to select a payment option that you can use to make your withdrawals with. For the most part, SA online sports betting sites will offer EFT facilities supported by all the major SA banks including Standard Bank, First National Bank (FNB), Nedbank and ABSA. You may also find that some sportsbooks will include additional options such as eWallets like PayPal, Skrill and Neteller for your convenience.