The government may have enforced a complete ban on online casinos in South Africa back in August of 2010, but sixteen months on, sports betting sites appear to be going from strength to strength.
Ladbrokes for instance, applied for their license to operate sports betting sites a whole month after the ban was first implemented, in September 2010, and have been largely unaffected by it, finding themselves in a market where customers are eagerly willing to bet on sports in South Africa.
Despite the ban, in a twist of fate, the online sports betting site appears to be doing quite well. Increases of 50% in monthly registered customers, a 40% hike in the amount of monthly bets, and a 25% increase in turnover have seen them prosper in South Africa’s rapidly reduced gaming market.
There have been one or two issues however, that needed addressing in recent months. Such as when a technician removed an open bet during a one-day international cricket test match, whilst reportedly managing traffic on the sports betting site. This error lead to the case where customers were no longer able to bet on the match in progress, and as a result, Ladbrokes lost considerable income.
Ladbrokes marketing manager was left to pick up the pieces by saying that “they should have removed other matches that were less popular. We did lose some important business at the weekend as a result.”
Ladbrokes is not the only sports betting site to set up shop in South Africa. Others have made themselves and their intentions known to the country’s sports gamblers too. At least three other brands are now accessible to sports gamblers in the country. Whilst at present the South African gambling laws prevent any online casino games from being operated in the country, online sports betting sites continue to thrive in their relative freedom.
There is no sure way at present to judge what will happen in the future, as to whether or not the South African governments’ attitude to online sports betting will change. But there is a strong sign that it will be allowed to persist, at least for the time being.
It is widely felt that having online sports betting sites legalized in South Africa is a good thing for the sports economy, as it provides sports leagues and clubs with an excellent source of revenue to keep them in operation, in a time when so many sports clubs find themselves folding due to a lack of financial support.