The most popular casino games in South Africa

What are the most popular casino games in South Africa?

South Africans are huge fans of betting and games of chance as is obvious to anyone who notices just how many casinos and casino resorts are scattered throughout our country.

According to a 2016 study, South Africans (back then) were huge fans of the Lottery, slots, scratchcards, and horse racing, with the National Lottery seeing almost 97% of the population trying their luck at hitting those massive jackpots. Since then, the industry has exploded with new land-based casinos opening up and an incredible boom in online casinos. Sports betting has also seen a surge with bookies adding all sorts of live and virtual sports to the traditional South African hobby of betting on horse racing.

But even with these new and exciting options now available, South Africans have a definite preference for some of the more established casino games whether they’re playing at a land-based casino or via device at online or mobile casinos.

The Online Casino Review team did some digging to see just where South Africans are placing their bets and, as we thought, it neatly parallels what we see in international casino trends.

Where are South African gamblers putting their money down?

Land-based casinos are still seeing huge numbers of gamblers coming through their doors, and this is down to the south African penchant for building entertainment hubs rather than just dingy casino rooms. When we go out, we want the full entertainment experience – restaurants, movies, bars, casinos, the lot. And venues like Sun City, Montecasino, Emerald Casino, Grand West and all the smaller but no less engaging casino spots around SA offer all this and more.

But online casinos are filling a gap in our local gambling market by bringing the casinos to the players. For those that don’t have easy access to the big casino megaplexes, or who want to just idle away an hour or two with their favourite casino game, online and mobile casinos are the way to go. With the Live Casino innovation that is getting ever more popular, players can even get the in-person casino experience from their own living room or office.

The most popular casino games in South Africa

Where are South African gamblers putting their money down?

Land-based casinos are still seeing huge numbers of gamblers coming through their doors, and this is down to the south African penchant for building entertainment hubs rather than just dingy casino rooms. When we go out, we want the full entertainment experience – restaurants, movies, bars, casinos, the lot. And venues like Sun City, Montecasino, Emerald Casino, Grand West and all the smaller but no less engaging casino spots around SA offer all this and more.

But online casinos are filling a gap in our local gambling market by bringing the casinos to the players. For those that don’t have easy access to the big casino megaplexes, or who want to just idle away an hour or two with their favourite casino game, online and mobile casinos are the way to go. With the Live Casino innovation that is getting ever more popular, players can even get the in-person casino experience from their own living room or office.

What does this mean for popular casino games?

 It means it’s even easier to not only play your favourite casino game but also to find new and enthralling ones. Which is fantastic news for players who want to expand their horizons beyond what a traditional land-based casino and its limited floorspace can offer.

Has this changed popular casino games in South Africa?

Not really. The most popular gambling games have not seen a drop off in players, but there has been far more interest in trying out different variations of casino games like poker and roulette, and a lot more interest in games like pai gow poker, keno, Live Dealer gameshow games, and so on.

So, what are the most popular casino games in South Africa?

As can be expected, the most popular casino games are the ones we all enjoy, and we all know.

The most popular casino games in South Africa

Slots

Slots are – by a country mile – the most popular casino games in land-based, online, and mobile casinos for South African gamblers. What is surprising is the go-big-or-go-home mentality that is very evident on our slots players: most slots players head straight for the progressive jackpot slots to try for those insane jackpot wins.

Still, the number of players signing up for and playing at online and mobile casinos show that the slots player in South Africa is a player well aware of the entertainment value of slots not just the win amounts!

The most popular casino games in South Africa

Poker

Poker has overtaken blackjack as the table game of choice among South Africa gamblers. This could be due to the increased awareness of the game thanks to Hollywood movies, or it could be because we are a competitive and social nation that likes to challenge both ourselves and those around us.

When ‘live’ online poker tournaments became a thing, a lot of local players saw it as a way to get out of the boring mainstream 9-to-5 and become an overnight poker sensation with WSOP bracelets and millions in the bank. While this did not last very long, it did spark a lifelong passion for the game that has not waned since.

Poker tables and exclusive poker rooms are a mainstay in the bigger and more prestigious land-based casinos, but online and mobile casinos have seen these players flocking to their sites to play video poker for fun and Live dealer poker for a more personal challenge.

The online casino industry has not only allowed South African poker fans to play the more popular versions of the game (Texas Hold’em and Omaha are the biggest games in SA), but also to find new and exciting variations like Caribbean and Casino Stud, Pai Gow, and more.

The most popular casino games in South Africa

Blackjack

Blackjack, the King of Card Games, still holds a high position and reputation with South African gamblers. The classic game of chance is one that is quite quick to pick up and, with a very low house edge, offers players a much higher chance of not losing compared to high-stakes poker where you can bet and lose everything on one hand.

Pretty much every land-based South African casino has at least one blackjack table and the game has not changed that much since the early days of vingt-et-un and the salons of Europe.

Online casinos have brought some interesting twists to the game, especially when it comes to side bets, but it remains in essence the game that everyone knows.

Online Casino Live Roulette

Roulette

The spinning wheel, the clacking ball, the frantic shuffling and placing of bets – you know you’re at the roulette table, a game that is as quintessentially casino as the neon lights of Las Vegas.

Roulette is immensely popular in South Africa and its pace and action suit our nation of thrill-seekers perfectly. Roulette retains an aura of elegance, but it can be a bit frightening or overwhelming to new casino players and this probably explains why it sits as the fourth most popular casino game among locals.

Land-based casinos always have a sizeable crowd around the roulette table and the online versions are teaching our local players more about the game and its different versions – and introducing innovative ones – so we may see this classy casino game steadily rising in popularity.

Honourable mentions

These are the most popular casino games for South African gamblers, at online and land-based casinos. While the international markets may see a lot of activity on the baccarat tables, or the pachinko parlours, or at pai gow, we are an audience who knows what we like.

Nevertheless, our access to the international games on display at online casinos is changing what and how we play. A lot more players are branching out to try these new (for South Africans) games and hopefully we will see a lot more new and innovative casino games available to us.

Apart from the slots, poker, blackjack, and roulette games, there are a couple of gambling options outside of the casino world that are immensely popular. The National Lottery is, by far, the biggest game of chance played by the largest population in the country. Where slots are the biggest casino game out there, they pale into insignificance when measured against the number of Lotto players and the revenue brought in by the Lotto.

Other big gambling drawcards are sports betting. With our proud heritage of sporting excellence, it’s no surprise that totes and bookies are a major source of gambling revenue. Sports betting has become so popular that online casinos are starting to bring their playmakers on board to offer more choice to our local players. From live sports to fantasy leagues to virtual sports – South Africans are putting their sporting pride and sporting knowledge on the line for big bucks!

Our players are putting billions into our local economy and the betting industry is projected to grow even bigger as we head into a new, digitally driven world.

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