Online Sports Betting: How does SA compare?

Online Sports Betting in South Africa has become increasingly popular in recent years through the increase in its population’s access to the Internet and Smart Phones.

A history of gambling in SA

Previously, sports betting kiosks dotted around the country were the only means for people to place their bets on sports matches and events. Gambling as a whole, was only made legal in South Africa in 1994 when the new democratic government came into power. Before this there were an estimated 2000 illegal establishments operating. Currently, 1 – 3% of the South African Population gamble. This includes offline and online gambling but with a population of almost 53 million, this means that over 1.5 million people gamble. It is a logical conclusion that the use of online sports betting sites will only increase over the coming years as technology and infrastructures improve in the community.

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Online Sports Betting Industry

Legalities

There is a gambling and racing board in each South African province. To offer online sports betting to South Africans bookmakers must be licensed by one of these boards. The Western Cape Gambling and Racing Board (WCGRB) is the largest provider of online bookmaker licenses and it currently licenses 32 online sports betting sites. As of May 2012, no additional tax is charged to recreational bettors, and recreational gambling winnings are not considered income for income tax purposes.

Gaining momentum

Studies conducted in 2015 cite Sports betting as the second largest category of gambling in South Africa, making up 13% of total gross gambling revenue in 2013. The Sports betting market quintupled between 2009 and 2013. The abundance of sports betting shops and online sports betting is the driving force behind this huge expansion and it is expected that sports betting will overtake horserace betting within the next five years.

We spoke to Warren Ho, MD of Keith Ho BetXchange.co.za, one of South Africa’s leading online sports betting platforms, and he gave us more insight into the world of online betting. Warren states that South African systems are certainly starting to catch up to international online betting standards: “Keith Ho became a licensed Bookmaker in Gauteng in 1989. Back then only Horseracing was legal. Sports betting become legal in 1996. Betxchange was therefore formed as part of Keith Ho for all sports bets in 2001.” As far is South Africa goes they were definitely ahead of the pack. “We were the third bookmaker to go online in South Africa,” said Ho “we had a website from 2001 but launched a live betting platform in 2006 as it became available on our betting software.” Our biggest challenge now is keeping our betting software up to date with today’s intense international standards, but we are definitely on the same level”

Most popular bets

Keith Ho BetXchange has grown between 10% and 15% in the last year and its sees Soccer, Rugby, Lotto and  horseracing as bringing in the highest number of online bets. Their highest pay-out to date has been R2,1 million to a single player.

Competition

The online sports betting industry has become increasingly competitive. With the restrictions around online sports betting advertising, online bookmakers are only able to really compete on service, bet types and prices. This, says Ho, is a leading factor in making Keith Ho BetXchange a leader in the online sports betting industry.

The online sports betting industry is heavily regulated, ensuring the fairness and protection of gamblers. This makes it an enjoyable pastime for people passionate about sports, giving them the ability to place sports bets in a safe and secure environment.

For more on the online sports betting industry visit www.betxchange.co.za

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