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South African Online Sports Betting Laws

There is an important distinction to make when having this discussion.  In terms of the situation in South Africa, ‘sports betting’ and ‘gambling’ are two distinct activities.  Although ‘sports betting’ or ‘bookmaking’ is a type of gambling, sports betting is a completely legal form of ‘gambling’.  Confusion may arise for some because online gambling is restricted when referring to casino-type games like blackjack, baccarat, craps, online slots, poker and bingo games.  

There have been various Acts passed in South Africa to prohibit interactive online gambling games.  Of late, in August 2010, online gambling offered through servers located outside the country was banned in South Africa. This was the result of the North Gauteng High Court judgement on the jurisdiction of online gambling transactions in the country. Consequently, both offering gambling services online and gambling online became illegal. Also, South African Banks and credit cards are no longer allowed to directly process transactions to online gambling companies.  This however has not stopped online gamblers from using other intermediary banking methods like e-wallets or prepaid cards that avoid or circumvent this manner of prohibitive legislation.

The only exceptions to the gambling ban are province-licensed horse racing and online sports betting. Casino sites, individuals, internet service providers and banks that process payments for online gamblers are subject to a fine of 10 million Rand or 10 years of imprisonment, or both. Mass media channels that transmit or facilitate advertisement of online gambling services are also subject to penalties.

So, the bottom line is that in South Africa, online sports betting (and horse race betting) is legal with any provider of your choice and many of the best brands in the world provide service to South Africans, four of which also provide rand betting accounts and can be found below.

How the list was constructed:

Several of the biggest names that you might recognise that advertise alongside popular sports for South Africans are not listed.  Unlike other sites, I am not interested in simply trading on a brand that you know if it is not actually a good choice for you as a South African bettor.  I want you to play with the betting sites that I truly believe are the best for South Africans.

My list only includes sites that have satisfied the following criteria:


The best legal online sports betting sites for South Africa

Legal South African Betting Sites

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Pinnacle Sports operates as a reduced-juice betting site.  This means they rarely advertise do not offer a sign-up bonus. The savings is passed back to bettors with consistently higher paying odds on all sports, not just football.  A favourite of high-stakes bettors as they have very high betting limits. Read the Pinnacle South Africa review.

Unibet, headquartered in Sweden, provides some incredibly deep coverage of all sports including those that could be considered niche sports.  This also means there is vast coverage of the sports South Africans tend to love most - rugby, cricket and soccer.  Beautiful desktop and mobile sites.  Read the Unibet South Africa review.

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MarathonBet has been operating since 1997. You may know them from sponsorships of top English & Spanish football clubs.  They offer perhaps the most competitive odds and their unique AdvanceBet feature allows bettors to unlock the value of unsettled bets toward new bets, even with a zero account balance.  Read the MarathonBet South Africa review.

MansionBet is the sports betting brand of one of the top online casino companies.  Running on the excellent SBTech sports betting platform, you get a slick, intuitive interface from your desktop or mobile and competitive odds from a brand that partners with AFC Bournemouth of the EPL.  Read MansionBet South Africa review.

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ZAR

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Betway serves over 2 million account holders world-wide and offer a beautiful interface with an excellent mobile platform.  Like most top betting sites, they also offer an early cash out feature.  Betway offers great cricket and football betting.  Long-time sponsor of West Ham United FC.  Read the Betway South Africa review

ZAR