New sports betting site from South Africa

The new Sunbet branded sports betting platform of Sun International has launched

The hotel and casino group Sun International recognized that sports betting has a growing market potential, and earlier this year it acquired Powerbet Gaming, which operated and owned, for the consideration of 30 million Rands.

Volbet has now changed its name, rebranded as Sunbet, and launched again, with Michael Farr, the executive of Sun International, saying on Thursday that it would be established at the South African market, and would aid accelerate the entry of the group into online gaming.

“The industry of sports betting is in its infancy and offers great potential,” said Farr at the Johannesburg relaunch.

“It looks very likely that South African online gaming will be legalized soon and we trust that this business will establish itself very well when this becomes a reality, both in terms of understanding the online preferences of our guests and in terms of track record.”

It is still forbidden in South Africa to gamble online, with sports betting the only exception, although politicians have tried to introduce legalization measure for years after extensive discussions and research on the issue.

Interactive gambling has been legalized by the National Gambling Amendment Act of 2008 but it is still not being adopted, and there are questions being asked on the issue of online gambling regulation.

“Many people from South Africa are willing to place bets on their favorite individuals or teams, but this does not necessary apply to terrestrial casinos. Sunbet provides them with the necessary platform to accomplish just that,” Farr said.

The newspaper Business Day reports that a study conducted by PwC, an independent business services group named Gambling Outlook Report, for the period 2013-2017, discovered that the popularity of sports betting in South Africa is rising, and gross gambling revenue from the industry is rising by 71.3 per cent during 2012.

Sport events’ gross gambling revenue between 2009 and 2012 has risen by 566 per cent, compared with an increase of 16 per cent for horse racing during the same time period.

Together with sports betting, horse racing accounted for 2.6 billion Rands or 12 per cent of the total gambling revenues in South Africa during 2012, maintaining secondary position only to casino gambling, which accounted to 16.4 billion Rands during the same year.

More than 300 sports books and 400 betting shops are now in existence in South Africa. The expectations are that within a period of five years, sports betting wagering will overtake horse racing betting.

South Africans will also be allowed by Sunbet to bet on competitive non-sports events like Idols, the reality TV show.

“Our customers will be granted the option to place bets in current pop culture, and bet on odds like ‘What colour dress will Charlize wear to the Oscars?’ or ‘Who will win the 2013 Pop Idols?’, said Farr.

The sports betting on offer by Sunbet will be in cricket, rugby, tennis, soccer, English football and US sports. There are also negotiations for the inclusion of horse racing.