Sports betting law in South Africa

Online sports betting is currently legal in South Africa, provided that bettors make use of licensed bookmakers. All other forms of online gambling are currently illegal and subject to harsh penalties for individuals, companies that offer online gambling services and financial institutions that facilitate online betting transactions.

Laws governing betting in South Africa

National Gambling Act of 2004

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.

To offer an online sports betting service in South Africa, a company has to acquire a license from one of South Africa’s nine provincial gambling and racing boards.

South African citizens are prohibited from making used 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.

Is it legal to bet online in South Africa?

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.

If you’re in doubt about the legal status of an online bookmaker, contact your provincial regulatory board. The West Cape Gambling and Racing Board is the primary dispenser of sports betting licenses in the country.

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Disclaimer: betHQ followed all reasonable steps to ensure that the information on this page was correct at the time it was last modified, in May 2015. However, laws can change over time and it remains your responsibility to ensure that you’re not breaking any laws by betting online.

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