Racing and Betting

Racing and betting is an integral part of gambling activities in South Africa. The NGB plays a pivotal role in ensuring that operational systems are aligned for provincial licensing authorities in an effort to ensure punter protection and integrity of the sport. This entails coordination and facilitation of development of norms and standards, operational rules of betting industry and review of betting or wagering standards utilized by licensees. Marketing material for the racing and betting industry are reviewed in an endeavour to curb the proliferation of gambling.

Gold Circle is the totalisator operator in KwaZulu-Natal, and Phumelela in Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, North West, Northern Cape, Eastern Cape and the Free State. Kenilworth Racing (totalisator) is operating in Western Cape, however, Phumelela currently manages the Western Cape racing operations on behalf of the Kenilworth Racing Trust. In essence, Phumelela has expanded its operations to include the Western Cape and has presence in eight provinces with the exception of KwaZulu-Natal. Licensed bookmakers are located in all the provinces throughout the Republic. Bets can be placed on horse racing and sport (on and off course), as well as on any other legal contingency.

Since the liberalisation of gambling in the 1990s, there has been extraordinary growth in legalised gambling, the largest of which in the casino industry.  As a result, the share of betting Gross Gambling Revenue (GGR) out of the total GGR has fallen from 16% in 2002 to below 10% in 2010.  In real terms, average annual growth in betting GGR has been stagnant at best and below GDP growth. The industry has, over the last decade, seen a steady decline in the number of race meetings, races, horses and jockeys.

The evolution of betting GGR is depicted in the graph below, which shows a cyclical trend.  The downward trend in 2003 was largely a result of a considerable drop in races and stakes at the time. The strong growth thereafter was in line with general growth in gambling, but also due to a greater contribution to betting GGR by bookmakers, relative to the totalisators. The downward trend after 2008 is in line with the casino industry experience.  Important to note is the large real growth in 2011 (+ 15%), mostly as a result of growth in betting by bookmakers, which could be very much related to both the recent soccer (SA) and cricket (India) World Cups. From 2013, real growth in GGR in the betting industry grew from 3% to 21% in 2016. The betting on horse racing and sport industry recorded substantial, consistant and the highest growth in GGR generated compared to all other modes of gambling i.e. by 9.1% from FY13 to FY14, by 22.2% from FY14 to FY15, and by 28.5% from FY15 to FY16. This is mainly as a result of major increases in the generation of GGR by bookmakers  offering betting on sport, as is still the case at the end of FY16, Quarter 4. GGR generated by bookmakers offering betting on sport increased by 36.0% from FY13 to FY14, by 59.9% to FY15, and by 50.9% to FY16. GGR generated in the betting on horse racing and sport sector represents 16.9% of the total amount of GGR generated in FY16 compared to the other legalised gambling sectors (casino, LPM & bingo);


Quarter 1

1 Apr – 30 Jun 2015

Quarter 2

1 Jul – 30 Sep 2015

Quarter 3

1 Oct – 31 Dec 2015

Quarter 4

1 Jan – 31 Mar 2016

Operational totalisator outlets





Operational bookmakers





Operational bookmaker outlets







Gambling helpline:
0800 006 008