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.
How to Bet on Horse Racing
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.
Horse Racing Betting Options in South Africa
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.