With an incredibly diverse and multicultural population of over 59 million people in South Africa, the country has a large pool of potential gamblers for both land casinos and the online gambling space. Today we track the progress of both casino formats which are growing in Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban, as companies seek to take the title of best online casino in South Africa.
Legality of Gambling in South Africa
While in the past, gambling was not permissible in South Africa, come 2023 both gambling in person and online is completely legal. However, despite large-scale bans on the pastime before, horse racing for the most part has been legal in the country. The 2000s changed all that as the laws allowed gambling to operate in the country. However, any company wanting to trade in the sector for South African audiences must obtain a gambling license from the country. These are issued by the nine provincial governments with the most utilized being the Western Cape Gambling and Racing Board, which provides a lot of licenses for companies looking to operate online gambling in the country.
A Destination for African Gamblers
While countries like South Africa and Nigeria in Africa regulate gambling within their borders, there are some states which don’t permit it at all. The populations of Somalia, Tunisia, and Egypt have hazy laws at best. The Rio Hotel Casino and Convention Resort in Klerksdorp (two hours from Johannesburg by car) offers them a destination to gamble if they want to do so. Furthermore, it’s the biggest casino within the African continent so is very exciting even for those who reside in countries that permit casinos, as the complex has a wide array of games, slot machines, and other attractions like a fine dining restaurant.
The Sun City Resort and Casino while not the biggest in Africa, is regularly ranked as the best casino on the continent. Over 850 slot machines and 40 gaming tables have made this venue in Rustenberg a must-visit for any budding African gambler. The Emerald Casino and Resort in Vanderbijlpark and the Emperor’s Palace Casino in Johannesburg are also highly rated, making up a rich tapestry of casinos in the country.
Contemporary Growth and Trends of the South African Sector
Between 2022 and 2027 the overall marketplace is growing at around 7% per annum. By 2027 the entire market is projected to be worth over $30m in USD. However, a lot of this overall market value is dependent on the performance of the local currency, the South African Rand – which isn’t particularly stable.
So what are the South African bettors playing? Well, it’s been reported that slot games remain to be one of the most popular choices among the demographic for their simple pick-up and play attributes. This links in with more and more of the country’s population getting connected with advancing technology. Given these specific players are likely to be new to the online platforms, they are more likely to play a simple game (like slots and roulette). More experienced users however make up a good number of players who opt for more skill-based games like blackjack and baccarat.
Unlike a lot of casino markets, the South African gambling market has a decent usage from female bettors. On average South African women spend longer in their online gambling sessions when compared to their male counterparts.
Online Casino Presence
While a lot of markets greet international traders with open arms, South Africa makes all betting companies (international or domestic) comply with their own national standards and licensing conditions. While some of the big international firms (Betfred, Betway, and Hollywood Bets) have done the necessary work within the local legislation other major operators like Bet365 have decided not to do so. Potentially for good reason as most South African bettors prefer to use locally based companies that understand their needs and preferences better.
Casino Tropez, Europa Casino, and Springbok Casino are potentially three of the most popular online casinos as the most trusted and offer the best sign-up deals to their new users. All of these push online slots to the forefront of their offerings, however the latter, Springbok Casino does also highlight its casino-led games like roulette and others.
In 2022 however, it was reported that ‘Huuge Casino Slots Vegas 777’ held around 13% of all casino app downloads, making it one of the market leaders. While not strictly a real money casino application, this platform is very socially orientated as it is more about the experience than simply winning funds.