South Africa’s casino industry continues to grow and diversify

  • The 2017 fiscal year saw sports betting revenue rise significantly
  • On the other hand, land-based casino intake was only gambling medium to report a drop

Figures have revealed South Africa’s casino and gambling industry to be in healthy – and varied – shape. And, while the country’s sector is still dominated by land-based establishments, it was only these that reported a revenue decline across 2017.

Last week, the country’s National Gambling Board unveiled its annual report, which covered the year ending March 31, 2017. In the report, total revenue gained from gaming (with the exception of lotteries) was R27billion (US$1.2 billion). This marks an almost 4% increase over the previous fiscal year.

south africa casino revenues
Sun City Resort: casino gambling, South African style

It has also been reported that Gauteng, compared with the rest of South Africa’s regions, made up the most global gaming revenue, boasting a share of 41.1%.

Stats and figures

More specifically, over 66% of this total came from South Africa’s land-based gambling facilities, which earned R17.9 billion in 2017. This total represents a decrease of nearly 2% from the previous year’s report. The National Gaming Board has noted its belief that this decline is down to six of the nation’s provinces having reduced operating positions.

Furthermore, 73.2% of the total gambling turnover came from casinos, despite the fact that the overall amount of money spent by players at slot machines and table games dropped by over 1% year-on-year.

Interestingly, although land-based casinos bring in more than any other betting medium in South Africa, they are the only one to have reported both total turnover and revenue declines throughout 2017.

Also worthy of note is the fact that sports betting and horserace betting made up almost 19% of the market’s overall gaming revenue, with betting having seen a 14.3% increase, year-on-year, to almost R5.1 billion. Likewise, sports betting revenue grew by 22% and sports tote betting intake increased by 11%.

South Africa punters’ love for sporting events was highlighted elsewhere in the results, with the Euro 2016 football tournament in particular showing a demonstrable increase in betting – revenue grew by more than 40% in 2017, up to R32.8 billion.

To put that into context, turnover associated with race betting grew by nearly 25%, although its tote equivalent decreased by 7%.

Online casinos in South Africa

At present, the nation allows web-based sports and race gambling, but the National Gambling Board did not disclose figures that compare land-based casino revenue with online casino revenue.

In fact, in 2016, South Africa officials put forward the idea of upping the penalties given to illegally operating gambling websites, as well as taking away anything won by gamblers who frequent such websites.

That being said, there is debate in the nation of South Africa about the potential legalization of online gambling, giving many reason to believe that its growing popularity will give the government no choice but to permit it.

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