Gambling in South Africa

Gambling revenues improved in South Africa in 2014 despite difficult economic conditions and a change in regulations, according to a new report published by financial services group, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

Gross gambling revenues across most sectors of the market (excluding the National Lottery), are expected to expand from R23.9 billion in 2014 to R30.3 billion in 2019, a 4.8% compound annual increase, PwC said.

The company’s fourth annual edition on the gaming industry entitled ‘Taking the odds: Gambling outlook for 2015 – 2019, found that gross casino gambling revenues totaled R17.2 billion in 2014.

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Pietro Calicchio, Gambling Industry Leader for PwC South Africa, said: “Overall, the South African gambling industry continues to remain a vibrant and exciting sector, but is facing significant challenges, in particular a slowing economic climate and changes in regulation.

“An issue of particular concern to the casino segment is that of illegal online gambling. In addition, certain casinos are also facing competition from other gambling facilities opening up in their catchment areas.”

South African gambling market

Casinos are by far the largest component of the gambling market with casino gross gambling revenues accounting for 72% of total gross gambling revenues in 2014, down from 76% in 2013, reflecting the maturation of this segment of the market.

Currently, a total of 38 out of 40 possible casinos are in operation. On 31 October 2015, the Department of Trade and Industry gave notice of intention to increase the set number of maximum casino licences that may be granted throughout South Africa from 40 to 41.

Casinos face growing competition from other forms of legal gambling such as electronic bingo terminals, limited payout machines, sports betting outlets as well as from the increase in illegal online gambling.

Casino gross gambling revenue is projected to rise to R19.2 billion in 2019 from R17.2 billion in 2014, a 2.2% compound annual increase, PwC said.

Gambling taxes and levies

Total gambling taxes and levies amounted to R2.5 billion in 2014, up 10.7% from 2013. Casinos paid R1.8 billion in provincial gambling taxes and levies or 10.4% of their gross gambling revenues in 2014.

The estimated deemed output VAT collected on gross gambling revenues from casinos in 2014 amounted to R1.9 billion, or 11% of gross gambling revenue, bringing the total taxes paid by casinos on their gross gambling revenues to R3.7 billion or 21.4% of their gross gambling revenues.

Casino gambling

Gauteng was the leading province in gross casino gambling revenues in 2014 at R7.2 billion, up 2.4% from R7 billion in 2013. KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape, each with five operating casinos, were next at R3.2 billion and R2.8 billion, respectively, each up from 2013.

These three provinces accounted for 76.1% of total gross casino gambling revenues.

Limited payout machines

LPMs, primarily located in bars, clubs and restaurants, accounted for 9% of gross gambling revenues in 2014.

LPM gambling revenue is expected to expand at a 10.3% compound annual rate to R3.4 billion in 2019 from R2.1 billion in 2014.

The introduction of new machines and new sites is substantially expanding the market. However, competition from electronic bingo terminals is likely to lead to slower LPM growth over the forecast period, the report said.


Bingo accounted for only 5% of total gross gambling revenue in 2014, but rose from 3% in 2013 on the strength of a 52.6% increase.

Bingo became available in KwaZulu-Natal in 2014 and benefited from a full year of operations in the Eastern Cape and North West.

Gauteng continues to dominate the market with revenues totaling R903 million, followed by the Eastern Cape at R114 million.

Electronic terminals have not yet been introduced in the Western Cape, Limpopo, Free State and Northern Cape.

Bingo is expected to continue to be the fastest growing category during the next five years with a projected 19% compound annual increase in gross gambling revenues from R1.1 billion in 2014 to R2.7 billion in 2019, PwC said.

Sports betting

Horseracing remained the dominant component of the sports betting market in 2014 at R1.9 billion compared with R1.6 billion for sports events.

However, betting on sports events has been driving the market, accounting for 75% of the increase over the past five years.

Gross sports betting gambling revenues increased by 57.6% in 2014, more than three times the 18.5% rise in 2013, largely reflecting the wagering associated with the FIFA World Cup held in Brazil during June and July 2014.

In addition, an 18% increase in the number of operational bookmaker outlets contributed to the 2014 increase.

In 2015, it is anticipated that the absence of wagering related to the FIFA World Cup will have an adverse effect on the market. A further increase in sports betting of 36.6% is expected in 2018, associated with the next FIFA World Cup in Russia, followed by a modest 1.8% advance in 2019.

Sports betting is projected to rise at a 12.5% compound annual rate to R2.9 billion in 2019.

National Lottery

The National Lottery is expected to remain the slowest-growing category at under 1% annually throughout the forecast period.

Gross gambling revenues from the National Lottery are projected to rise from R2.28 billion in 2014 to R2.33 billion in 2019, the report said.

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Gambling in South Africa