Legal Online Betting at South African Bookies

South Africa has gambling laws similar to Australia. There are nine provinces each with their own gambling and racing board. These are the equivalent of gambling commissions. In order to offer online betting bookies must be licensed by one of these boards. As a punter living in South Africa, you can use any licensed bookie legally regardless of which province they are licensed by. When betting sports, winnings are not taxed, but for horseracing a 6% tax in the form of VAT is deducted from winnings. As of 2015, no additional tax is charged to recreational bettors, and there is no need to include gambling winnings on income tax returns.

List of Licensed South African Bookies

There are many South African licensed bookies. A list of some of them we assembled in March 2015 is as follows.

  • has online betting from one of the largest SA corporate bookies. It is licensed by the Gauteng Gambling Board.
  • is the online site of Keith Ho which is a licensed bookmaker with the Gauteng Gambling Board.
  • is licensed by WCGRB.
  • – is licensed by the KwaZulu Natal Gaming and Betting Board.
  • is licensed by the Western Cape Gambling & Racing Board.
  • is a traditional family owned South African bookie also licensed by the Western Cape Gambling & Racing Board.
  • is another licensed by the Western Cape Gambling & Racing Board.
  • is the online account of Tab which horse racing punters likely need no introduction to. It is official tote of South African horseracing with R50 million paid out every week.
  • is the Western Cape Licensed Bookmaker Marshalls.
  • is World Sports Betting licensed by the Gauteng Gambling Board.

Sites licensed in South Africa tend to understand what local punters are looking for, and provide more personable support. Most have betting odds on all the popular bet leagues. This includes Super Rugby, Currie Cup, ABSA Premiership, MiWay T20 Challenge and other sports. You can also bet on soccer around the world, and on American sports such as NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL etc. This names just some of what’s available for wagering.

Licensing and Odds Format

One thing that is confusing is often even sites licensed by the same gambling commission use different odds formats. For example Sportsbet and Sportingbet are both licensed by the Western Cape Gambling and Racing Board (WCGRB). This can be confirmed on the WCGRB License holders’ page. Between the two sites there is confusion regarding odds formats. Traditional South African bookies, such as Sportsbet, use a decimal odds format rest of the world refers to as Hong Kong Odds. Take for example a Currie Cup match with the following odds:

Lions: 0.91
Draw: 20.00
Natal Sharks: 0.91

The odds are how much you’ll get paid in winnings for each rand staked. For example, if you bet R 100 on the Lions and win, you get paid R 100 * 0.91 = R 91 AND you also get back your R 100 stake.

At corporate bookies, such as Sportingbet, decimal odds also include the stake. Here the same odds would be listed as:

Golden Lions 1.91
Draw: 21.00
Natal Sharks: 1.91

These are the exact same odds – the only difference is these odds represent total return (stake + win). If you bet the same R 100 on Lions and win you get back R 100 * 1.91 = R 191. Of this, R 100 was your stake and your winnings are the same R 91. There’s no difference in the payouts, only in how the odds are displayed. This is important to understand to avoid confusion and/or the false feeling the payout has been shorted. Just know at some bookies the odds include the stake, and others the odds represent just the winnings.

How to Deposit and Withdrawal

When betting online at licensed South African bookies the banking options are not a mystery. These websites are 100% legal to use, and therefore clearly display their policies for making deposits and getting payouts. The most common method is credit or debit card, but most also accept instant bank transfer, UKash, Skrill and Entropay.

Credit Card Payments

South African Credit CardUsing a credit card or debit card issued from a South African bank is the most popular way to deposit at ZAR bookies. Each betting site has a different policy regarding which cards are accepted and if payouts can be processed to the card. As a general rule most accept VISA, MasterCard, Delta and Maestro cards, and most will only issue credit/debit payouts up to the rand amount deposited. To get payouts for our excess winnings you’ll need to use a second banking method such as bank transfer or paper cheque.

Traditional Bank Transfer

For players without a credit or debit card it’s possible to deposit and withdrawal via traditional bank transfer. This involves getting a reference code from the betting website to send a traditional bank transfer. Once the payment has left your bank account, you’ll need to contact the betting site back to notifying them of the payment. They’ll then confirm the payment within 1-5 days (most often in just 1 day) and manually credit your betting account with the rand amount sent. This process is well explained on betting sites accepting this method.

Ukash – Fast Transfer with Standard Bank

Much faster than traditional bank transfer is using Standard Bank AutoPay to purchase Ukash. If you don’t have already have a bank account with Standard Bank, it is well worth opening an account with them to use this feature. To add AutoPay capabilities to your Standard Bank account, inquire with your branch (or see details here).

Other Deposit Methods

Each bookie has its own unique banking methods. The three covered so far are the most popular, but some bookies also accept SID Payments Instant EFT via Standard Bank, ABSA, Nedbank and First National Bank. Many others accept EntroPay, Skrill and other e-wallets.

Foreign Betting Sites Supporting South African Rand (ZAR)

There’s a lot of confusion whether or not using foreign betting sites from SA is legal. What we do know for sure is that online gambling is illegal in South Africa, however betting on sports and horse racing is fully legal. If players were only to bet sports and races, and avoid poker and casino, using foreign betting sites might be legal. No court has ruled on this. In short, we are not sure if using foreign betting sites is legal or not. Consult with your own authorities or legal professionals.