Exploring Gambling Trends In South Africa

The South African gambling landscape is multifaceted with a blend of traditional and more innovative gambling platforms being used by those wanting to take a chance at obtaining a financial windfall.

To understand more about the dynamics of gambling, infoQuest, a leading South African online research company recently conducted a survey amongst 300 gamblers. The research was conducted during March 2024.

Participation in types of gambling activities

Playing the lottery is the most popular form of gambling in South Africa, with three in four gamblers taking part in this activity. This is followed by gambling via online gaming platforms and sports betting. On average, gamblers engage in three types of gambling activities.

When gambling takes place

Gambling at casinos and placing bets on horses take place mainly on weekends, while playing the lottery and online gaming/betting are gambling activities that are generally not restricted to particular times and take place throughout the week and weekend – being influenced by their online functionality.

Frequency of gambling

Sports betting is the most frequent type of betting with an average incidence of 12 times per month. Playing casino tables and slot machines have the lowest incidence of 7 and 5 times per month respectively.

Gambling is an individual activity

For the majority (70%), gambling is a solitary pursuit, with only 19% claiming that they gambled with friends and 16% saying that they did so with a spouse/partner/other family member.

Main reasons for gambling

The possibility of winning much needed funds is the main reason for gambling. There is also a recreational element with some saying that it is fun and a good way to socialise.

“I am hooked and cannot stop” – due to sensitivities around gambling, this may be under-estimated
36% of gamblers use their winnings to gamble again, while 37% claim that they are gambling with excess funds that they have.

Winning or losing?


There is a fairly even split between those that win or lose more. These results should however be interpreted with caution given the potential sensitive nature of gambling and its outcomes.

With statistics indicating that the average gambler participates in three types of gambling activities multiple times a month, it’s evident that gambling holds a significant place in the lives of many South Africans. Moreover, the advent of online gambling has revolutionised the industry, providing players with unprecedented access to diverse platforms and betting opportunities.

“For economically constrained consumers however, gambling presents a particularly risky pastime fraught with potential pitfalls. With limited disposable income, individuals may view gambling as a quick-fix solution to their financial woes, often chasing elusive wins in the hope of improving their circumstances,”

–  says Claire Heckrath, MD, infoQuest.

“Moreover, the prevalence of unregulated gambling establishments and online platforms exacerbates these risks, as vulnerable consumers may fall prey to predatory practices and fraudulent schemes. Responsible gambling practices, such as setting strict budgets, recognising warning signs of addiction, and seeking help when needed, are crucial for safeguarding both financial well-being and overall mental health,’’ – says Heckrath.


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