DraftKings to launch new South African sportsbook

DraftKings to launch new South African sportsbook
31st Oct, 2020
Simon Colmenares Author Profile Photo Simon Colmenares

DraftKings partnered up with Peermont, a South African gaming and hospitality group to launch a new mobile and online sportsbook in the region.

For Peermont Hotels, Gaming and Resorts, this means their first take into the online sports wagering market. Powered by DraftKings’ already renown technology that they own through the recent acquisition of SBTech.

PalaceBet.co.za will be this new platform where DraftKings will be rolling out features such as a bet builder and odds boosts, while customers will also be able to access draw-based ‘Lucky Numbers’ games. More thorough, Peermont will be utilizing DraftKings’ full sportsbook and platform solution to provide a best-in-class sports betting experience for South African sports fans, who will have access to a range of innovative product features including Your Bet and Pulse Betting.

Data integrations with Betgenius and IMG will allow players to wager on a wide range of national and international sports including basketball, cricket, football, tennis and rugby.

DraftKings’s chief international officer, Shay Berka, said, “We are delighted that DraftKings’ B2B technology is powering Peermont’s entry into sports betting, through which they can provide their customers with extensive markets, live betting opportunities, competitive pricing and localized payment options,”

Iain Gutteridge, PalaceBet general manager also added: “The way we’re looking to grow and to compete on an international scale, we knew that DraftKings could offer the software solution so that we could not only offer variety, but quality to our clients.”

Sports betting is currently the only form of online gambling permitted in South Africa, with all other igaming activities deemed illegal.

Online Gambling within the South African territory

Gambling has long been a contentious topic in South Africa, with reformers seeking to open up the industry to produce more money and traditionalists wishing to keep the present limitations in place.

As a result, South Africa is one of a number of nations that have outlawed online gambling in its most basic form, forcing local players to look for new ways to access the few online casinos that still accept them.

Some history behind the ban in the country

Despite a long history of anti-gambling sentiment that has existed in South Africa. The government took the unprecedented step of removing a blanket prohibition on all gambling operations in 1994 and introducing a thorough licensing structure in the 1996 National Gambling Act.

The Act provided the National Gambling Board (NGB) the authority to begin regulating the sector, as well as giving the nine South African provinces the authority to begin licensing both physical casinos and online sportsbooks.

The National Gambling Act of 2004 added to the liberalization, while online casinos remained prohibited.

While the new laws allowed physical casinos to offer a wider range of sports betting and other options, the same could not be said for online providers.

Sports betting is the only form of online gambling that is legal in South Africa, and any online sportsbooks must be licensed by one of the provinces. An amendment to totally legalize online gambling was announced in 2008, but it was never adopted, putting casino fans in a difficult situation.

In 2010, the situation became even more complicated when the courts ruled that it was illegal for online casinos based outside of South Africa to provide services to its citizens.

Except for licensed operators who are regulated, controlled, and taxed by the NGB, it is currently illegal for anyone with a South African IP address to gamble online.

Any casino, individual, or bank that supports online gambling faces a severe penalty of up to 10 million Rand, ten years in prison, or both. However, these fines are exceedingly rare because the great majority of suppliers are located beyond the country's borders.

Anyone who is caught making a profit is forced to transfer the cash to a treasury trust account, which currently holds more than 3.5 million Rand.

Popular markets within South Africa

While online gambling is undoubtedly prohibited, it hasn't stopped a number of brave online casinos from receiving South African players, with names like 888 and Mr Green greeting players with open arms.

The number of gamblers in the country is also on the rise, and there are dozens of popular marketplaces to select from for the fans.

In terms of legal gambling, the national lottery is by far the most popular game among locals, with more than 80% of the population purchasing a ticket each week, according to the most recent available information.

Horse racing, rugby, and football all draw hundreds of thousands of bettors each year.

Golf is also gaining popularity in South Africa, with players like Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel, and Ernie Els representing the country and increasing the number of followers.

The future for online gambling in South Africa

As countries throughout the world explore for new methods to make money, South Africa's strict anti-online gambling laws are set to alter.

Ministers are beginning to consider the potential for additional revenue if online gambling is legalized and regulated in the same controlled manner as land-based casinos.

The 2008 amendment is still alive and well, and while it will be tough to gain unanimous support, some are hopeful that it will be adopted in the coming years.

31st Oct, 2020
Simon Colmenares