Online casinos have risen in popularity over the last decade, combining with sports betting and lotteries to create a billion-dollar online gambling industry worldwide.
Africa is a relatively new market, but online casinos have really taken off in the last few years, buoyed by the increased capacity for smartphones and tablets to handle games, and the ubiquity of these mobile devices.
By far the biggest market in Africa, South Africa has gone crazy for online casinos, with millions of players enjoying games at the card tables, roulette wheels, and slot machines, using their phones or their computers.
But what are the reasons behind this popularity? Let’s find out.
As with many countries across the world, online casinos fall into a bit of a legal grey area. Land-based casinos are open to those over the age of 18, but at present online casinos are legal, but only with local operators.
But this doesn’t mean that you can’t access others – many off-shore online casinos are open to players from South Africa, providing they use a simple VPN service, they too can enjoy betting on games freely.
Crucially, these casinos will be from countries that have regulations in place also – which means that all operators must have licenses – so it’s easy for South Africans to access safe sites that look after their payments and data securely.
Ease of use
Setting foot in a land-based casino can be a bit intimidating for beginners. But most online casinos know that their clientele is partially made up of beginners, and the best way to keep them playing is to make the games accessible and easy to start.
You’ll find casinos that explain the rules of card games as you go along, as well as live-game stakes based on your hand.
These are valuable learning tools, and one of the reasons why online casinos are popular in South Africa and the wider world.
Even if you don’t need to brush up on the rules, online casinos are incredibly user-friendly, with dedicated apps that allow you to play and bet intuitively, with all the information you need.
With so many online casinos vying for business, it’s no surprise that they all offer a large selection of bonuses and promotions to entice new customers and keep existing customers loyal.
You’ll almost always see bonuses for new accounts – some of these will multiply your initial deposit by 200%, or even more. Some casinos even offer a no-deposit bonus, so you can start playing games before reaching into your pocket at all.
Sign-up bonuses vary from casino to casino, but bonuses South Africans can enjoy are listed together, to help you find the ones that suit you.
Loyalty is a big deal to online casino operators – and they will reward loyal customers with bonuses and freebies, based on their casino habits.
For example, if you play slots a lot you will be awarded free spins. Other bonuses include credit to use on whichever games you prefer.
Of course, the biggest reason South Africans are flocking to online casinos is the games. With such a wide selection and variations on classics, players can find a game to suit their tastes. Let’s look at the most popular online casino games.
The game of poker is an iconic part of our popular culture, having featured in countless films, movies, TV shows, and songs.
Online poker is extremely popular, and with immersive graphics, live video capabilities, and even virtual reality poker on offer, the experience is better than ever.
Texas Hold ‘em is the most popular variant, as well as the easiest for new players to pick up – many apps will help you with your hand and your bets during the game.
A simple game, but one where you can actually use some tactics if you know what you’re doing. But at its heart, roulette is simple – the wheel spins, the ball bounces into a pocket, and if you’re lucky, you win money.
Gamble a bit at a time, or put the whole lot on red or black – online roulette has great graphics and sound for that old-school casino atmosphere.
Slot machines are a popular fixture in online casinos, and they are probably the most versatile gaming option available.
That’s because, with the simple gameplay, any number of themes, storylines, levels, animations, and music (the list goes on) can be incorporated into a modern slot machine. But the premise remains the same – pull the lever, hit the jackpot (hopefully).
This classic card game is actually the most popular option in online casinos, both in South Africa and the rest of the world.
That might be because of its simplicity, but also the fact that it has the best odds of beating the house of any casino game.
There are many reasons why South African players are flocking to online casinos. Great games, great fun, great chances to win, all in an easy-to-use, great-looking format. And one you can carry around in your pocket!