Gambling in South Africa is quite restricted, and players must only bet through licensed facilities. Otherwise, they can be heavily penalized. However, the gambling facilities in the country are quite advanced, and one advantage that they have is that recreational gambling winnings are not considered as income for tax purposes since May 2012. Here below is a description of some of the main gambling possibilities available for South Africans.

South African National Lottery

The South African National Lottery is operated by Ithuba Holdings since 2015, and regulated by the National Lottery Commission. In order to participate, players must be 18 years old or older, and be South African residents.  Tickets must be bought in person at approved sale points, or online via an ABSA, FNB, Nedbank or Standard Bank or other registered websites. A portion of the proceeds is given to the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, who distributes them amongst several charity organizations.


South Africa hosts licensed casinos in all main metropolitan areas. In general, they host a vast variety of games, such as roulette, poker, black jack and more. Some of the internationally best known casinos are the Gold Reef City, and the Tsogo Sun Montecasino in Johannesburg. The Rio Casino Resort in Klerksdorp is the largest casino in the Southern Hemisphere.

Horse racing

South Africa is host to three famous horse racing events, which take place in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. Among them, the very popular Durban July has been running since 1897. Until 1996, horse racing was the only legal form of gambling available for South Africans. At present, the industry is controlled by two organizations, namely Phumelela Gaming and Leisure Limited, and Gold Circle. The country hosts some world class race courses in Arlington, Fairview, Bloemfontein, Vaal, Newmarket and Turffontein.


Lotto is the most popular form of gambling in South Africa. In this game, players need to buy tickets and choose six numbers between 1 and 52. For those who prefer not to choose, there is Quick Pick, a tool that automatically generates six random numbers for them.

Draws are conducted every Wednesday and Saturday on TV channel SABC 2. In each draw, six numbers are drawn without replacement from a set of 52. A bonus number is also drawn, which only applies to those players whose draw cards matched five numbers.

There is an entry fee of R5.00 per board, and by adding an extra R2.50, players can have a third chance at winning. The total jackpot is divided between those players who guessed six numbers correctly. If there is no winner, the jackpot is added to the next draw.


Powerball has been the faster-growing gambling game in South Africa for the last years. This is mainly due to the high payout it has. Draws are on Tuesdays and Fridays on TV channel E. TV, and players have to guess five numbers ranging from 1 to 45, one Powerball number from 1 to 20, and pay a fee of R5 per board. The PowerBall PLUS gives players a second chance to win, by paying an extra R2.50. Some modifications introduced in 2015, allowed players to win if they matched only the Powerball number. Powerball results in South Africa are available online for all those who want to check their numbers.

Online gambling

Online gambling in South Africa is only allowed through licensed websites. Each province in the country has a gambling and racing board, who provides licenses in each respective province. South Africans cannot use overseas sites, and illegal gambling is heavily penalized with prison time and fines.

Other games

South Africans can enjoy other gambling games such as SportStake 13, Pick 3, Raffle and Rapido all available online through the South African National Lottery website. These games offer interesting alternatives. For example, SportStake 13 allows South Africans to gamble on soccer games. , Although they are not so popular, South Africans are slowly starting to use them more frequently.

Final words

Gambling in South Africa offers rich possibilities for visitors and residents alike. Although the industry is heavily regulated, players in the country have access to a variety of world-class possibilities, which range from horse racing to casinos and online games, the most popular one being the Lotto.