As the name implies, sports betting is a form of gambling through placing a wager over a prediction of the results of a sports event in order to win more money than initially gambled with.
In South Africa, one can bet on a variety of sports (including horse-racing, motorsport, boxing, soccer, cricket, rugby and snooker) using a variety of methods such as placing a bet personally, by telephone, through a bookmaker or through any of the many online platforms called “online sportsbooks”. However, the above mentioned are only the legal and generally accepted ways of placing a wager. Illegal or informal betting is also very popular in South Africa. At a low level, illegal sport betting occurs when ordinary people, without the services of a registered bookmaker, bet with each other on who the winner of a certain game is going to be. At a higher level, illegal sport betting sees players and/or officials participate in what is known as match-fixing, where the players/officials deliberately play badly/make unjust rulings during a match in order for a certain favoured team to win.
The most favoured form of sports betting in South Africa is that of Horseracing. Because of this, one of the biggest events in the South African socialites’ calendar is the Durban July which is mainly dedicated to the love of horseracing and subsequently the excitement of betting on the winning horse. Coming in close second is soccer wagering. Through the National Lottery’s initiative called SportsStake, the public is now able to predict the outcomes of local soccer matches and win handsome amounts of money for it if the prediction is correct.
The hobby of sports wagering in South Africa has had its fair share of scandals, an example of which included the late Hansie Cronje (former national cricket team captain) and several other top players in the team at the time being involved in match fixing with some Indian bookmakers. This clearly illustrates that although the greatest advantage to sports betting is the increased interest of the bettors in a specific sporting discipline, the greatest disadvantage is that, like any other form of gambling, it can be very addictive and lead to great loss.