Sportsbook Report: Cape Town, South Africa

Sportsbooks, betting parlors actually, were everywhere. Seems folks, no matter their stripe or walk in life, just want to have a little action. Or a lot of action. Who am I to judge?

I stomped around downtown Cape Town to get an idea of how available sportsbooks are and how they work, generally. This is all very important, as the United States will soon see an explosion of sportsbooks, due to the recent US Supreme Court decision regarding sports wagering. And they may well be as ubiquitous as coffee shops, after a few years. If you are reading this website, you certainly know all about the decision on PASPA, so I will spend no time discussing it here.


Where they were – They seemed to be everywhere, downtown. All the shops I found and visited were second story walkups. They tended to be rather sparsely decorated, but rules were posted, as were hours of operation (8 am to 8 pm), as were advertisements for games offered and a paper copy of the gambling license was on display.

What they offered – Sports wagering, horse wagering and options to play lotteries. They offered action on lotteries in many different countries, the Russian lottery was featured prominently. They even offered proposition bets on the lotteries, such as the color of the first ball and whether the first ball would be odd or even.

Were odds displayed – Odds for soccer and other contests such as rugby tended to be displayed on flat screen televisions. Race and horse information was sometimes displayed, sometimes not. In one parlor, I found a large, stapled print out of three day’s-worth of sporting contests to bet on, mostly various soccer and rugby leagues. Definitely ask around for current odds on sports.

How the books were appointed – These places were very spartan. A few tables, a few chairs, but quite a few televisions for viewing whatever gamblers were betting on.

General Seediness of the Sportsbooks – Overall, I probably wouldn’t take a date to the book, even though my woman likes to wager. Books were generally clean and I (six-foot-tall, middle-aged white guy) never felt unsafe. All the bettors I encountered were there for the action.

Percentage of Men to Women – About 80 / 20.

Possibility of Advantage Play – Yes. The printout I picked up in one of the parlors offered lines on what I would consider to be VERY obscure contests. Assuming the lines are fair (I have no way of knowing at this time because I do not have access to these obscure betting leagues), a handicapper who spends time on this stuff should very likely be able to carve out a niche betting on obscure teams in obscure leagues.

Recommendation – All of the parlors I visited had their government betting license on display. I have no way of knowing how credible this is, but let’s assume it lends some legitimacy to the operation. If a handicapper is willing to shop around the lines and leagues, I would recommend Cape Town as a potentially profitable sports betting angle. Just stay away from the lotteries – no Advantage Play with that action.

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