South African Online Casinos Guide - February 2019 Updated
You’re a gambler. You’re willing to spend a couple of bucks in online gambling to earn a fortune. You’re chasing luck. We are CasinoHEX. We know the online casino industry’s ins and outs. We are here to help you have the best experience of your life.
Read a comprehensive guide on choosing a trusted South Africas online casino, so you don’t lose money in vain, check out the FAQ section or go straight to the reviews section to find an online casino that suits you.
Top South African Online Casinos
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How to choose trusted online casino in South Africa
We all like to gamble, but some online casinos are more of a gamble than others. Some offer more welcome bonuses, others offer more entertaining games, some promise huge jackpots. Some rip you off.
How do you navigate the world of online gambling of South Africa online casinos without turning an enjoyable experience into a financial nightmare? That is what this chapter answers. The following is a detailed explanation of what to look for when you are choosing an online casino to play in.
Software and website security
Safety in online casinos is a big concern in the gambling industry, as many untrustworthy websites are created with a sole purpose of luring you into giving them your personal information. Just as you won’t go to a shady neighbourhood in the middle of the night, you don’t want to try your luck in the shady parts of the web, if you care about your wallet.
Avoiding these sites is really simple, but some players don’t even give it a second thought, as they think phishing or fraud is something that happens to someone else, not them. If you are reading this article, the chances are you care about your security, so here’s what you should look for.
First off, check if the site has a SSL certificate. If the left side of the South African online casinos address bar is green, has a padlock on it, says “Secure” or mentions the company’s name, you’re good to go. If it doesn’t, or worse yet, is red or says “Not secure”, that’s definitely a no-no.
Your second step is to look closely at the address itself. Some fraudsters register a domain that sounds similar to a popular casino to steal users’ banking information. Big companies buy out lower level domains, to prevent scammers from registering casino.org to take customers from casino.com, but preventing them from buying a similar sounding domain is virtually impossible. So if you are looking for yebo.co.za and ended up at yedo.co.za, be sure to double check the domain name.
Next, take a look at the downloadable software and SA online casino’s web application. Does the software list a valid developer? If it doesn’t, it might be an indicator that tells there’s something wrong with the casino in question. Check if the software and the web app are tested by a third party and does the random number generator have the right certificates. One of the reputable companies that do that is eCOGRA. This process can be simplified, if a online casino operates under a white label license and uses games of a reputable developer. If there’s a developer’s license, you’re good to go.
Another sign that shows rogue South African online casinos well is a badly written text on the site. If the description is written in poor or overly simplistic English, it can show that the
online casino company is either not based in South Africa, or they wanted to make the price of their website as low as possible. The same goes for some of important pieces of information missing. Scammers or not, this makes you think whether this online casino hired low skilled programmers to write their software to cut down costs as well. If they did, your security might be compromised either by the company itself, or by hackers who pray on such weaknesses.
Great customer support
Have you ever been in a situation where you enjoyed yourself in an online casino up to a point when you had a minor problem and it took the support a couple of days to solve it, or even to respond? That is one of the markers of a bad online casino. You should avoid such places, as someday a delay in solving your problem may be crucial.
Don’t be afraid to contact the online casino support before you make a deposit to check the quality of their work. Ask something you don’t get about gambling procedure, withdrawal or whether a certain deposit qualifies for a bonus. If they answer you fast, are helpful and nice to you, you can be sure this online casino cares about your experience, not just their profits. If the support won’t answer you for days, is negligent or even rude, leave the place.
Also, check the company’s policies on withdrawal, bonuses and their possible actions in case something goes wrong. You can look for that info on the site, or ask the support.
If you want to play fair, you have to know all the rules.
All things banking
Here’s arguably the most important part. Making a deposit or withdrawal is where many rogue online casinos cash in on you. You have to be really careful, when checking this one out.
Look for an online casino with a variety of deposit methods. This shows they care about your convenience and will take a payment from a service that suits you best.
Most South African online casinos have a table comparing different payment options. Take a look at it to understand what option will be the most beneficial at this particular online casino. Some payment methods would take more to transfer the funds than others.
When making a deposit with PayPal, Skrill, Neteller, Easy EFT, EcoPayz or any other payment service, double-check the domain address and make sure it is the online casino site you were looking for, not a copycat that will steal your banking information.
Last, but not least, look for withdrawal policy. Some online casino withdrawal methods, like wire transfer, would take significantly longer to transfer the winnings from South Africas online casinos to your account. Be sure to check out payout percentage and real reviews on problems with withdrawal. Pay attention to whether the company responded to them, and how quickly they were solved.
Welcome bonuses and free spins
Any gambler enjoys a good bonus and free spins on slots. But this is tricky territory, that can indicate a good or a bad online casino. Here are some guidelines that can help you to differentiate between the two.
A good online casino is not afraid to make a generous offer. In South Africa online casinos this normally means anywhere from R8,000 to R12,000. It is the price they pay to get you interested in wagering on their platform, and online casinos are well aware that it pays back. Some even offer a small no wager welcome bonus to let you test the online casino for free, before taking real money into the game.
If an online casino offers a sum that is too good to be true, like R30,000 or even R60,000 it may mean one of two things. It’s either doing very good and can afford it, or is luring you into a fraud. Don’t be too judgemental of big bonuses in online gambling, though, as many good and respectable online casinos offer generous promotions.
The thing you should really pay attention to is promotions terms. It is where the rogue casinos want to rip you off within legal boundaries of their offer. Look for vaguely defined bonus abuse or other terms. Many online casinos that are now blacklisted refused to pay up on jackpots due to the player using bonus money to wager or claiming bonus abuse, where it definitely wasn’t the case.
Withdrawal limits and wagering requirements are another things to look into, if you think the online casino you are looking at is a bit shady. You might need to spend a huge sum on gambling in order to withdraw anything. Or withdrawal can be capped at a very low monthly sum to prevent you from cashing out big winnings.
Easy navigation and relevant information
Most online casinos we deem not worthy our trust at CasinoHEX do not care about providing all the relevant information to users, or making their site easy to browse. Take a look at the site, click a couple of links, look for some important information. If you are having a hard time finding it, the odds are, it is a casino we would not recommend.
Look specifically for information on banking, promotions, and guidelines on how to operate the online casino site or how certain games work. A good online casino must have these sections, and the information there should be well written and cover all your questions.
A variety of games
It’s what we’re all here for, right? Why is it not coming on number one then? The thing is, even if it might be a factor that shows trustworthiness of an online casino, it definitely doesn’t influence the rating as heavily as all the things described above do. We at CasinoHEX want gamblers from South Africa to have the best and the safest experience in online casinos, that is why we stress the importance of the other factors way more.
If you are looking for the same type of experience, take a second look at the games an online casino you want to play in offers. Do they have all the latest games from the developers they work with? If they don’t it might be suspicious. The best marker that shows an online casino is reputable is having games developed especially for them.
Final thoughts on trustworthy SA gambling sites
What you just read is a condensed guide on choosing a trustworthy online casino. Our experts at CasinoHEX work by more complex protocols, and test the South African online casinos they write about themselves. We encourage our users to form their own opinions, so we publish these general guidelines. However, if you want to save your time, take a look at our casino reviews. We are constantly looking for the best casinos for you to enjoy.
Is online gambling legal in South Africa?
The quick answer is no, it’s not. To get to know why is that so, and what does it mean for you as an SA online gambler, read this chapter.
Legal status of land based casinos
South Africa has a long history of gambling prohibition, with horse betting being legalized only in 1965. As of today, land based casinos are completely legal and serve as a tourist attraction that brings tens of thousands of people into the country. Casinos have transformed from mere gambling establishments to luxury entertainment centers. They offer spa, theatres, and theme parks for their guests to explore, when they are not trying their luck at a poker table or a slot machine.
Another legal form of gambling is a National Lottery. It is operated by ITUBA company, and is regulated by the government. The biggest jackpot so far was R102 mio. The lottery’s revenues are measured in billions of ZAR, making it a huge source of revenue for the budget.
Legal status of online gambling in SA
Online sport betting, horse betting and bookmaking is legal, regulated and can be licensed. However, online gambling is prohibited by the National Gambling Act of 2004. This concerns specifically SA online casinos or games with real money that involve either chance or skill to win and receive a payout. So, online slots, poker, roulette and other similar games are not legal in South Africa.
In 2010 the court ruled that not only providing such services on South African land is prohibited, but engaging in SA online casinos is as well. Those who break the law are subject to heavy fines or imprisonment of up to ten years. Banks that process payments associated with online gambling South Africa, internet service providers and mass media, that are involved in advertising, are affected by the law as well.
Is it going to change?
In 2008 the National Gambling Amendment Act was published. It was an attempt to legalize online gambling and introduce viable regulatory options. Unfortunately, it was heavily confronted and as a result, was sidelined. Today this act is still not being introduced, so online gambling remains illegal. However, it shows that there are partisans of legalisation in the country, and there is hope it will happen someday.
Reasons why online gambling is prohibited
There are many reasons why gambling remains legal only inside few online casinos. The full answer must be a combination of them.
One of the major concerns is that SA online casinos can be used for money laundering. With tons of money coming in and little money coming out, all online and anonymously, the possibilities for taking illegally obtained money and making them legal revenue of a casino are huge. After legalisation, applying international anti-money laundering laws will become rather tricky.
Another possible reason is the rise of underage gamblers abusing online casinos. This can lead to credit card fraud, as youngsters would take their parent’s credit cards to finance their gambling.
Also, there is an argument that legalisation will lead to forming a class of pathological gamblers, addicted to the quick high of the game. This can result in financial ruin and broken families.
All these reasons can be amended in one way or another by regulation. Some online casinos even offer pathological gamblers an option of self-exclusion for a period of time, if they feel like their habit is getting out of hand. This is done out of their own will, as they are not enforced to offer that by any law.
Some would argue that the true reason behind the ban is big casino lobbyists, who don’t want to lose the revenue to their online competitors. However, this is a speculation, and there are no sure ways to know that. There is a more interesting question that you should ask.
What does ban on online gambling in South Africa mean for me?
Technically you are breaking the law, if you are engaging in gambling from any device on South African land, and you are at risk of legal action, if you are proven to do so in court. In practice, however, the government does not prosecute individual players, as it is too pricey. Normally, all the blame is on the online casino itself.
Please note, that CasinoHEX does not encourage illegal activities of its users, we only provide information for them to make a sound decision.
- What casino games are the most popular in South Africa?
- Table games
Table games are a classic that is enjoyed world wide. One of the games gamblers go for is poker, texas holdem and omaha being the most popular variations in South African online casinos. However, some South Africas online casinos offer Pai Gow poker and caribbean holdem in addition to the classic ones.
- Slot games
South African players love slots, especially progressive slots, where the jackpot is constantly getting bigger. Some of the top picks are Achilles, Cleopatra’s Gold, Lucha Libre, Cash Bandits and Perfect pairs.
RealTime Gaming, one of the largest developers of slot games, is constantly creating new entertainment for its users. The company has released Ritchie Valens La Bamba, Shanghai Lights and Asgard, that might become popular as well.
- Is it safe to play at a casino online?
Some of them are, some of them aren’t, just like most other businesses. The trick is finding the most trustworthy ones, testing them first with a bit of cash you won’t care to lose, and only then proceeding to play big. You can read the guide above to get acquainted with techniques of differentiating between good online casinos SA and bad ones. Or you can save yourself the time and check out our casino reviews.
- Can I win real money at online casinos?
Yes, most definitely, you can. If you wager real money in online casino, and lose real money, it’s only fair that you can win real money. Before deciding to spend any money at a casino, be sure to check out their withdrawal policy and methods of cashing out. There might be limits on deposits and withdrawals.
- What popular banking methods there are at online casinos?
Most South African online casinos offer a range of banking methods that suit local players. MasterCard, Visa, wire transfer and PayPal are the obvious ones, being popular worldwide. In most cases, you can also use Skrill, Neteller, Easy EFT, EcoPayz and Secure Instant Deposit.
Note that Neteller can only use EUR, so there will be some exchange fees. Most casinos offer instant deposits with all their banking methods, but Wire Transfer, Easy EFT, EcoPayz and Secure Instant Deposit may take up to 72 hours to withdraw.
Also, check out withdrawal limits at your casino, as these differ from one to another.
- Can I use my smartphone or tablet to play casino games?
Most definitely yes. In many online casinos in South Africa there’s an option to play via a mobile app. If you prefer to gamble from your mobile device, look for the mobile app on the site, it is sure to be there somewhere. Android, iOS and Blackberry are common platform choices that casinos make.
You can browse our reviews to find casinos that have a mobile app for convenience.
- What do payout percentages mean?
Payout percentages represent the percentage of your wagers that are returned to you in the long run. It combines all the winnings, bonuses, cashbacks, bonus points and loyalty programs that take money back into your pocket. So, if a casino’s payout percentage is 95% it means you’ll only lose 5% of all your wagers over a long period of time.
- Can I wager in Rands?
It sure is. South African online casinos operate in ZAR, even though they may take deposits in Bitcoin or Euro. If you want to save on exchange commissions, choose casinos that take wagers in ZAR from our casino list.
- Can I test an online casino for free?
Some of them, yes. Browse our list of casino reviews to find out that online casinos offer a no-wager welcome bonus. As a rule, they are not massive, being about as big as R500. However, this is a great opportunity to give it a go and see if the South Africas online casinos is working for you.