Bookmakers in South Africa have come a very long way in the last fifteen to twenty years. Horse racing used to be the only legal form of gambling in South Africa but it definitely was not the only gambling outlet enjoyed by South African punters. South African punters have always enjoyed having a flutter and since the government would not allow this to happen openly bookmakers were forced to operate under the radar.
The most popular venue for bookmakers in South Africa to set up was in the local shop. Here the owner doubled up as the bookmaker. He/she would run the operation with as much professionalism as any high street bookmaker. The odds were very carefully calculated and were always competitive. The irony is that some of the most frequent punters were the very people who were being paid to stop bookmakers in South Africa, namely the police. South African people generally enjoy sport, and everything that goes with it, and since the requirements for joining the force were often related to physical prowess it is little wonder that the police were not just sportsmen, but also punters.
These days the corner shop is only good for groceries and sweets. The days of the corner shop bookmaker are forever over, in South Africa. When the legality of bookmaking changed in South Africa, everything changed. Casinos sprung up everywhere. There were suddenly slots openly displayed in the very same, formally clandestine bookmakers.
The era of online bookmakers had arrived, and done so with a bang. British and European bookmakers like Ladbrokes, bet 365 and betfair were seen to be putting down firm roots in South Africa. Local punters were very happy, because while they lost the romance of the old-school bookmakers, they now had the convenience of being able to bet on any sporting event, anywhere in the world at the touch of button. The ease with which you can open an account with one of these bookmakers is astounding and they are in South Africa to stay, whether this is good or bad remains to be seen.