Horse racing has long been one of the most popular sports for betting in South Africa, along with the likes of football, cricket, rugby, golf and tennis.
With daily meetings taking place all over the world, including right here in South Africa, there is virtually almost always some horse racing to bet on in one corner of the planet or another.
Many of the top sports betting sites in South Africa also have special bonuses and promotions for horse racing, such as first past the post rules or even best odds guaranteed offers.
Those who are not experienced with horse racing betting in South Africa might be unsure of how to get started, though, especially as there are so many strong options out there for sites to join.
The legal situation regarding online gambling in South Africa can also be difficult for people to understand, so it is important to know whether or not horse racing betting is fully legal in SA.
For everything, you need to know to get up and running with placing wagers on the sport of kings, read on for our complete horse racing betting guide for players from South Africa.
South Africans are really spoiled for choice when it comes to horse racing bookmakers. Here, we have picked out five of the best horse racing bookmakers to join in South Africa right now.
Arguably the top betting brand in South Africa, Hollywoodbets has close ties to horse racing as the company sponsors both the Greyville and Scottsville racecourses in South Africa. Fans of the sport of kings will love Hollywoodbets as it hosts a blog that covers a lot of horse racing news, as well as publishing analysis and tips too.
Virtual horse racing is available here as well, while special promotions at this bookie include the Hollywoodbets Punters Challenge, a bonus that offers a share of R10,000 at every race meeting that takes place at either Hollywoodbets Greyville or Hollywoodbets Scottsville.
Without a doubt one of the best horse racing bookmakers in South Africa, Betway is famous around the world as a result of the company being the primary sponsor of West Ham United in England's Premier League.
While horse racing is global - so there is almost always a race on somewhere - Betway is one of the online SA bookies to offer virtual horse racing to bet on as well.
This is offered as part of the popular Jika Sports betting feature which has a new event happening every six minutes and also includes soccer as well as virtual horse racing.
The online betting arm of the massive Sun International group, SunBet is licensed and regulated by the Western Cape Gambling and Racing Board, helping to make it a top choice for South Africans who want to place wagers on horse racing. Meetings in the UK and Ireland are among those available to bet on here, along with races from America, Australia and even Japan.
Horse racing promotions at SunBet include the bookie paying out on first past the post, while stakes will be returned as a free bet if a selection falls, unseats their rider or is brought down.
A gambling brand known all around the world, Sportingbet is an elite horse racing betting option in South Africa. As well as offering virtual horse racing, markets for meetings from everywhere including South Africa, the USA and the UK and Ireland are available to bet on at this site too.
Ante-post markets for big races like the Melbourne Cup in Australia and the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, which is run in France, are among those listed at Sportingbet as well, which is handy for those who like to place advance horse racing wagers with plenty of time to spare.
Completing our selections of the top online bookmakers in South Africa for horse racing betting is World Sports Betting. At WSB, South African racing is prominent but there are also meetings from locations like France, the UK and Ireland to bet on here too.
Horse racing promotions offered by World Sports Betting include stakes being refunded as a free bet in the event of a horse falling in a jump race, while WSB users in SA also get a refund as a free bet if their selection wins but is stripped of their victory as a result of an objection.
South Africa has more tightly restrictive gambling rules and regulations than most countries in the world, but what is the situation for horse racing these days? The sport of kings has actually enjoyed special privileges when it comes to the legality of gambling in South Africa.
Indeed, until the year 1996, horse racing betting at on-track bookmakers was the only legal form of gambling in the country, leaving sports fans with extremely limited options for legal betting.
Nowadays, all online sports betting is fully legal in South Africa. This means it is 100% legal to bet on horse racing through internet-based operators, as well as on all other sports. Phumelela Gaming and Leisure Limited and Gold Circle control horse racing betting in SA.
Horse racing fans are reminded that other forms of online gambling, including bingo or casino games such as slots, are not permitted in South Africa under the country's current laws. The National Gaming Board has stated anyone found gambling online illegally could be prosecuted.
Research has found horse racing betting is one of the most popular forms of gambling in South Africa. A study has even found that there was 11.5% participation in horse racing betting in the country. Top racecourses in South Africa for horse racing betting include Greyville, Vaal, Scottsville, Fairview and Kenilworth, as well as Durbanville, Flamingo Park and Turffontein.
Anyone who has never bet on horse racing before in their lives might have no idea about what they need to do, though, so check out our beginners guide for how to bet on horse racing next.
Betting on horse racing can be quite overwhelming for newcomers. There are a lot of different terms and various pieces of betting jargon to understand, but luckily the basics are quite simple.
At its heart, betting on horse racing is the same as other sports, with users just having to predict the outcome of a race. Basic bets are for the horse to win the race, but there are plenty of other options too. As with other bets, players make their selections, set a stake and confirm the bet.
On many of the best online sports betting sites in South Africa, users who have a funded account have the chance to follow the action via live streaming. Sometimes these streams will only be accessible to those who have placed an eligible bet on the race in question, however.
Like other sports such as football, horse racing accumulators are very popular too. This is due to the fact that this type of bet can offer massive potential profits for a relatively low stake. The flip side is that they are extremely hard to win - bookmakers make a lot of money from accas.
Each-way betting is also very popular for horse racing fans in South Africa. In each way betting, users can make money if their selection does not win the race, but does finish in a place.
The terms for each way betting depends on a range of factors, like the number of runners and riders, as well as the online sports betting site that is being used.
An example of each way terms and conditions could be 1/4 the odds for a top-four finish. This means a horse at 40/1 that finishes third would get a place and the each-way section of that bet would be paid out at 10/1. Each way accumulators are also possible and these are a good option for horse racing betting in SA too.
Starting price - shortened to SP in most cases - is one of the jargon terms that horse racing fans will need to learn before they begin to bet online. The SP is the odds offered for the horse when the race starts. As with other sports, horse racing prices are often in a state of flux. A user might make their selection at a price of 8/1, only for the odds to drift out to 12/1 before the race starts. It is often possible to select whether a bet is placed at the SP, or the odds available at that time.
Best odds guaranteed (BOG) is a widely available horse racing promotion at many of the best online bookmakers in South Africa. This bonus does what the name suggests, offering players the top odds available anywhere for their selection.
For example, if a user at Hollywoodbets places their bet on a horse at 15/1, but the bookie has a BOG offer and the horse is offered at 20/1 elsewhere - and it wins - then a customer will be paid out their winnings at the higher price.
Something else it is important to note in any beginners guide for how to bet on horse racing is the rules regarding first past the post. The horse that crosses the line first does not always win, as results can be subject to a steward's inquiry if the jockey is deemed to have broken the rules.
Some bookies payout on first past the post, meaning if a horse wins and is later demoted as a result of the inquiry, anyone who backed it to win will still get their wager paid out by the bookie.
Perhaps more than any other sport available to bet on through the internet in South Africa, horse racing has a huge number of options in terms of both betting markets and bet types.
While it is possible to just place a single wager on a horse to win a race, plenty of fans of the sport of kings like to go a little bit deeper by placing bets such as accumulators or a lucky 15. Keeping track of all of the many different betting markets and bet types for horse racing can be something of a challenge as a result, but it is not too tricky to learn about the various jargon.
For example, the term Trixie might be baffling on the face of it but this type of horse racing bet simply refers to a wager with three selections and four bets. It is made up of three doubles and a treble, with a user then needing at least two of their horses to win in order to receive a return.
A lucky 15, meanwhile, has 15 different bets as the name suggests, comprising: four singles, six doubles, four trebles and a four-fold accumulator. Complicating matters even further is the fact a lucky 15 bet in horse racing can also be placed each way, therefore doubling the stake. It is also possible to place a lucky 31 or even a lucky 63, which pushes up the stake even higher.
Another common type of multiple horse racing bet in South Africa is a Heinz, which is named that way due to the fact it offers 57 bets: 15 doubles, 20 trebles and 15 four-folds, as well as another six five-folds and finally one six-fold accumulator. A Super Heinz goes even further with a huge 120 bets involved, starting off with 21 doubles, 35 trebles and 35 four-folds, as well as another 21 five-folds, seven six-folds and wrapping it up with one seven-fold accumulator.
Most of the above wagers are a type of accumulator, but there are plenty of other options to pick from at the top horse racing betting sites in South Africa as well as accas. For example, in SA a forecast bet involves picking the top two finishers in a race, while a reverse forecast is similar, with users aiming to correctly select the first two horses, but this time in no particular order.
Essentially, if horse racing fans can imagine any type of bet they might want to place on their favourite sport, the chances are that it will be offered by a South African sports betting site. But how should players go about picking winners? Let's have a look at the top tips and strategies next.
Naturally, like all live sports, horse racing is unpredictable. This is why so many people love it, after all. The excitement of never being sure what will happen when a race starts is most of the fun. But following tips and strategies for betting on horse racing can still be a good way for South Africans to increase their chances of being able to pick out winning wagers on the sport of kings.
Understanding the form is crucial when placing bets on horse racing in South Africa. Form simply shows the recent results of a horse, indicating whether or not its performance has been trending upwards or if its better days might instead be long gone. Form also affects the extra weight that a horse might be carrying, which is also known in the sport as its handicap.
Just like with betting on any other sporting event, getting the best price is always recommended when gambling on horse racing. Taking a moment or two to browse markets on a range of sports betting sites in South Africa can make a big difference in the price that is offered. Many top online bookmakers also have a horse racing promotion known as best odds guaranteed - or BOG for short. With BOG, the bookie will pay out at the highest price that any site has offered.
Horse racing tips are also widely available online and a lot of people like to read them when deciding on their selections. Some online bookmakers in South Africa - including Hollywoodbets - even have a section on their website where readers can check out expert racing tips. Of course, it is natural to treat these with some level of suspicion or cynicism, but some people have found it handy to follow advice of industry experts when they are betting on horse racing.
It is usually recommended to steer clear of betting large amounts on low-level races. This is because they are typically a lot more unpredictable than high-class races with quality horses. Many fans of the sport choose to only gamble on Grade One races, which are those with the top reputation in the sport, as they believe these are generally more predictable in their outcomes. Keeping a log of all racing bets that have been placed is another common strategy that is used.
Various horse racing betting strategies are used by people trying to make a profit on the sport. Among them is the Dutching system, which might only be useful for those with a good head for figures. The idea behind the Dutching system is that users bet on a selection of different horses in the same race. This might seem counterintuitive as it sounds as if it would be impossible to make a profit like this, but by working out the implied probabilities from the odds that have been offered by betting sites it is possible to put down bets that almost guarantee a return. The danger with the Dutching system is that there could be a completely unexpected result, though.
When using horse racing betting systems, it is important to keep in mind that they can never be a sure-fire way to profit. After all, if it was that easy to make money out of betting on sport, then all of the online bookmakers in South Africa would soon go out of business. The golden rule is to never bet more money than you could afford to lose, with many finding it healthy to treat their gambling as nothing more than a fun hobby, rather than as a serious attempt to make real cash.
After selecting a bookmaker for horse racing betting, it is necessary to understand the different markets available. As with other sports, there is an awful lot of choice out there.
But perhaps horse racing is unique in the world of sport in the sheer amount of confusing terminology surrounding types of bets.
In order to help newcomers to get their heads around the jargon, here are some of the most common racing betting options - and what they are:
Horse racing betting in South Africa works in much the same way as gambling on other sports, though there are lots of different markets and jargon that users need to understand. Players should make their selection - browsing the form to pick a winner - set a stake, then confirm the bet, before potentially being able to track the action live via online bookmaker live streams.
Nap is a term used in tipping in the sport of horse racing. It refers to the most confident selection of the day - a horse that is great value and has a fantastic chance of winning their race. Of course, there are never any guarantees that a nap will win. Like all sports, horse racing is enjoyed due to how unpredictable it can be. But a nap is always worth taking note of.
The Trixie bet means four bets on three different selections are combined into one wager. This is made up of three doubles and a treble. If only one of the horses wins, then a Trixie bet is a loser. But if two out of the three horses win their races, a Trixie will pay out some return to the punter.
Popular due to the fact it offers the chance to win a life-changing amount of money at small stakes, a placepot in horse racing is a type of bet commonly used by fans of the sport. Winning the placepot involves selecting a horse that is going to place in the first six races at any UK, Irish or selected international meeting on the calendar.
Any winning bet has to be the best bet in horse racing! But there is no doubt that some types of horse racing bets are a lot more appealing than the others that are available on sportsbooks. Singles can be the best horse racing bet due to their simplicity, but others might prefer an accumulator style wager such as a Lucky 15 or a Lucky 31 in order to chase a big win.
Yes, horse racing betting is fully legal in South Africa despite the country having some of the world's most restrictive rules and regulations for the gambling industry. In fact, horse racing gambling was once the only form of gambling that was permitted at all in South Africa, though the laws have since been changed so that all online sports betting is now fully legal in SA.
SP refers to the starting price, which is the odds for a horse when the race gets under way. Sometimes users can opt to place a wager on the SP favourite, or opt to take the SP that is up for grabs at betting sites in South Africa rather than the price available at the time of their bet.
The aim of a swinger bet in horse racing is to pick two horses that are expected to finish in the first three places in a race. This can be tricky to get right, but a swinger is a good option for horse racing fans who cannot decide which of two horses they want to back in a particular race.
South African horse racing fans often like to play prediction games as they have big prizes up for grabs, with pick 6 horse racing one of the top offers around for the sport of kings. In pick 6 horse racing, users have to select the winners of six consecutive horse races to scoop the pot.