Gambling money on sports event has been growing in popularity all over the world for decades. There are plenty of people that enjoy the rush they get from winning money by betting on a sports event, and since so many people enjoy this feeling, plenty of bookies (or people that take bets and payout to the winners) have set up shop near many of the popular sports arenas. Depending on the sport and the amount of money that is bet on the particular game, it is possible to receive up to five times the original amount of money that was bet, causing the betting industry to become even more popular with much of the world. This article will focus on the different sports that are popular in South Africa, as well as the current legality of gambling online and the prevailing betting habits of the South African population.
There is a very large sports following in South Africa, and many of the attendees of these sports events enjoy betting money on the outcome of the games. The most popular sports event that South Africa offers is soccer, with thousands of fans attending each and every game, and a large percentage betting money on the events. Cricket is the second most popular sport in South Africa, especially among the British diaspora and Indian South African communities. The third most popular sports event for the nation is Rugby, which is was originally only popular with citizens of Afrikaner descent, but now draws thousands of fans from other races as well.
The following is a variety of other sports that are bet on by South Africans as well: Athletics (Running,) basketball, canoeing, chess, cycling, golf, motor sports, swimming, tennis, boxing, and mixed martial arts. With such a variety of different sports available to the area, it isn’t hard to see why betting has become so popular for South Africans.
Currently, there are a few types of online gambling services that are available to South Africans. Gambling online was restricted for many years by the South African government, but recently there has been amendments made that allow each of South Africa’s nine provinces to have their own gambling and racing boards. In order for these websites to offer gambling services, the online betting bookies have to obtain a license through one of the boards that have been placed of the provinces. The Western Cape Gambling and Racing Board (or WCGRB) is currently the largest provider of online bookmaker licenses that are supplied to the online betting bookies that offer online gambling. The board currently has 32 separate online bookmakers active, making them the largest provider of gambling licenses, and the largest reason that South African citizens can use these online gambling sites legally.
Online bets that allow users to gamble on horse races deduct a 6% tax to cover the VAT. In May 2012, another amendment was made so that no additional tax over this 6% is charged to betters, and the winnings of the gambling are not consider income when filing taxes. Although sports betting is currently legal online (for the sites that are licensed,) the National Gambling Act of 2004 prohibits interactive gambling services (such as online casinos) as well as engaging in interactive games that bet money. Interactive gambling sites are sites that offer games such as poker, bingo or other types of casino games. The National Gambling Amendment Act of 2008 was supposed to change this, and legalize interactive gambling sites and their use for South African residents, and provide for the regulation of the online gambling market in an effort to bring money to the government. This Act never came into power however, as the land-based gambling houses and anti-money laundering authorities spoke out against it.
On August 20, 2010 online gambling through the use servers and sites that are located outside of South Africa was banned as well, making interactive gambling online completely illegal for residents of South Africa. The only exception to this law is the use of online gambling sites that are licensed to take bets on horse races, and online sports betting.
The laws that have made the use of interactive online gambling sites illegal may have forced the number of interactive gamblers to dwindle, but the sports betting world in South Africa is still thriving. There are plenty of different opportunities both online and at the events to place bets, and many of the South African residents are taking advantage of this. There are currently plenty of South Africans who are speaking out against the prohibition of interactive online gambling, but there are currently no Acts that have been proposed that will legalize this (other than the one from 2008 which was originally proposed, but never passed due to conflicting interests.)