South African lotteries are the most important type of gambling in South Africa, and it’s no wonder why. Unlike most countries, South African lottery winnings aren’t taxed, which means more money goes into your pocket.
To get you up to speed on the history before we dive into the nitty-gritty of how it all works. The National Lottery began in 2000 with more than 800,000 tickets sold on the first day of availability, totalling nearly R70 million worth of tickets in the first three weeks of operation. As you can see, the Lottery has been popular since its inception.
Now that you know how it got started, you can keep reading to get all the most up-to-date information about South African lotteries, how they work, how to cash in on winnings, and the different games you can play.
So, without further ado, let’s dive in – Phanda, Pusha, Play!
How Does Lotto Work in South Africa?
Lotto is the most popular type of gambling in South Africa, and for good reason, too. It offers two weekly draws, with good odds of winning a prize, and jackpots that roll over. Entry into the draw is R5 per board, and you need to choose six different numbers between 1 and 52. Draws are conducted on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
To play Lotto and other lottery-type games in South Africa, players need to be 18 years old or older. Tickets can be bought at approved retailers, handheld partners or participating banks in South Africa. To purchase Lotto tickets online, you need to be registered on the National Lottery website or selected SA banks.
How to Buy Your Lotto Ticket Online
Besides buying their lottery tickets at thousands of retailers around the country, South Africans also have the opportunity to purchase their tickets online. This is a safe, secure and highly convenient way of playing the lottery. Choose your numbers or use the Quick Pick option that will generate a random selection of numbers.
Register through the National Lottery website and open an online account to buy your tickets. If you haven’t registered on the website, you can buy tickets online with an ABSA, FNB, Nedbank or Standard Bank account.
If you’re the lucky winner of a prize up to a certain amount, it will be credited to your National Lottery account and you can withdraw it immediately. If your prize is a high one, you must go through a validation process before you can claim your jackpot.
Types of South African Lotteries Offered by The Ithuba National Lottery
Ithuba, the National Lottery operator, offers a great range of games for South Africans to enjoy. Some of them have daily draws, while others are weekly. Some require a selection of random numbers, while others are geared toward sports fans who can bet on their favorite teams. Here’s a list of some of the most popular local lottery games available to South African players.
- Pick five numbers (or use the Quick Pick option) from a grid of 1 – 36 numbers
- The cost of a single board is R3
- You can play as many boards as you want per draw
- You cannot bet more than R150 per betslip
- The Daily Lotto draw takes place every night of the year except Christmas Day
- Each draw presents five winning numbers
- Prizes are awarded according to how many correct numbers you have matched from the drawn numbers, with the highest being a Division 1 prize for matching all five numbers.
- When the top jackpot is not won, it is rolled down to the next level.
- For more information about Daily Lotto, read our review of this game.
- Pick six numbers (or use the Quick Pick option) from a grid of 1 – 52 numbers
- The cost of a single LOTTO play costs R5.
- A single play of LOTTO PLUS 1 costs R2.50
- A single play of LOTTO PLUS 2 costs R2.50
- To play LOTTO PLUS 1 and/or LOTTO PLUS 2, mark this option on your betslip
- To play LOTTO PLUS 2, you need also to play LOTTO and LOTTO PLUS 1
- You can pick the Multi-Draw option to play the same number over multiple draws.
- Draws take place twice a week and are streamed live on Wednesday and Saturday nights from 20:56 on SABC 2.
- For more information about Lotto, Lotto Plus 1 and Lotto Plus 2, please read our review.
- Pick six numbers (or use the Quick Pick option): Five from a grid of 1 – 45 and an extra number from a grid of 1 – 20.
- A single play of Powerball costs R5
- You can also choose the additional Powerball Plus for R2.50
- Powerball Plus is played the same way as Powerball, except it offers you a second chance to win a prize. The odds are the same, although Powerball Plus prizes are slightly smaller.
- Draws take place every week, twice weekly, on Tuesdays and Fridays at 9 pm.
- Play as many boards as you wish
- For more information about Powerball and Powerball Plus, please read our review of this lottery.
- Test your football knowledge by predicting the outcome of fixtures from South African leagues and international competitions.
- An exciting, interactive game that allows you to follow eight matches from around the globe.
- Make 16 predictions on one betslip, relating to eight matches.
- The minimum cost of a board is R2.
- You can play multiple boards and bet up to R2,000 at a time.
- A new fixtures list is announced every Sunday, Wednesday and Friday. Matches end on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Results are announced on respective Wednesdays, Saturdays and Mondays.
- 50% of the net sales of the tickets are contributed to the prize pool.
- Prize money can be rolled over, depending on the number of division winners.
- Read more information about Sportstake 8 on our review
- Predict the outcome of 12 predefined football matches from South African and global fixtures.
- The minimum bet per board is R2.
- The maximum prize of a wager is R2,000.
- You can also play Sportstake 13 using the ProPick function which helps you select 13 outcomes.
- Buy tickets at lottery retailers or online on Mondays to Fridays between 6 am and 11 pm. Draws are conducted every Monday and Friday.
- 50% of the net total sales make up the Sportstake 13 prize pool.
- Prizes are awarded in 4 divisions.
- The top jackpot can roll over to the next division or other draws.
- Read more about Sportstake 13
- The National Lottery Raffle is unparalleled in the South African lottery market, allowing you to win luxury non-cash prizes.
- Raffles are special occasions and not regularly scheduled events, except on holidays like Christmas
- To play, you don’t have to pick numbers like in a traditional lottery, you have to purchase a ticket
- You can purchase tickets online or in-store. It’s as easy as choosing how many tickets you want and paying.
- The raffle can also be played via alternative channels like RA Cellular or A2PAY.
- To win, your seven-digit number must match one of the randomly selected numbers in the exact order.
- EaziWin gives you the chance to win big prizes instantly.
- All you have to do is pick a game and check your receipt
- EaziWin can be played online or at a National Lottery retailer
- There is no cut-off time to purchase because there are no draw times
- Once you purchase the ticket, you will get a barcode, which the cashier will scan. The game receipt features random symbols and numbers. To win, the numbers or symbols on your play card must match those on your receipt.
- Entry costs vary between games.
Lottery Draw times per Lottery
|Name of Lottery||Draw Days||Draw Times|
|Daily Lotto||Every day (except Christmas)||9 pm|
|Lotto, Lotto Plus 1, Lotto Plus 2||Every Wednesday & Saturday||9 pm|
|Powerball & Powerball Plus||Every Tuesday & Friday||9 pm|
|Sportstake 8||Mondays, Wednesdays, Friday/Saturday||9 pm|
|Sportstake 13||Mondays and Fridays||9 pm|
|Raffle||Special occasions||Depends on the Raffle|
What Happens when You Win the Lotto in South Africa?
Winning the South African lottery – or any lottery, for that matter – is a dream many of us have. We all have plans for the millions (or thousands, or even hundreds) that we will hopefully win in future lottery draws, and this explains why the Lotto is the most popular gambling game in the country. But what do you do when you do win the lottery? What steps do you need to take to get your hands on your money finally?
How Do You Claim Your Winnings?
If you’re lucky to win the lottery, the way in which you will go about claiming your prize depends on how much you have won. Prizes of up to R2,000 can be claimed at any lottery retailer. If you win between R2,000 and R50,000, you must head to the post office to claim your prize. If you’re fortunate enough to win a prize of about R50,000, the claim needs to be made at an Ithuba regional office.
Can You Claim South Africa Lotto Prizes Online?
Online prizes are easier to claim because Ithuba will have already informed you about your win. Any prize that is less than R50,000 will be transferred directly to your online lottery account. You won’t need to fill in a claim form and no further identification is required. If your prize is over R50,000 online, you will need to fill in a Prize Claim Form. You then need to visit one of the Ithuba regional offices to collect your winnings in person. Ithuba first has to validate your lottery entry.
Do I have to Pay Tax on Lotto Winnings in South Africa?
There is no tax on South Africa lottery prizes. This is because winnings are considered capital and are exempt from SA Income Tax rules. Prizes won from SA lotteries have a special exemption from Capital Gains Tax, which means that you don’t have to pay tax on any amount won through the lottery. However, if you are a professional gambler and your winnings are your primary source of income, you may be taxed.
LOTTO players are required to inform the South African Revenue Service (SARS) in the case that they win a substantial prize, which will prevent the player from being taxed on future winnings. This does not apply to professional gamblers.
If you win an international lottery from South Africa, the laws of the host country may require you to pay taxes on your winnings. This makes playing the South African lottery very advantageous due to this notable tax exemption. Please check the lottery tax laws in each country.
How Long Does it Take for Lotto to Pay Out South African Lotteries?
The time that it takes for you to get your hands on your prize once it’s claimed very much depends on how much you win at one of the many South African lotteries.
This handy table tells you where you can claim your prize, how it is paid out and how long it generally takes:
|Prize||Where to claim||Payout Method||Payment Time|
|Up to R50||Any participating lottery retailer||Cash||Instantly|
|R51 – R5,000||Any participating lottery retailer (at retailer’s discretion)||Cash||Instantly|
|R2,001 – R49,999||National Lottery Payment Centers at South African post offices||By cheque or EFT||If by cheque: Up to 10 business daysIf by EFT: Up to 72 hours|
|R50,000 or more||National Lottery Regional Offices||EFT||Up to 72 hours|
What’s the best South African lottery to play?
The best South African lottery to play will depend on the main factors you are looking for. If you are looking for the biggest jackpot, then based on historic winnings, you should play the SA PowerBall, which has registered some of the biggest winnings in the past 11 years. The 2019 jackpot R232,331,750 is a great example. If you are looking for the easiest lottery to win, then you should choose the South Africa Daily Lotto, with odds at 1:376,992 for the jackpot prize. On the other hand, if you’re looking at the lottery that has the best overall jackpot-to-odds ratio, then we should choose the South Africa Lotto. Even though it has lower odds at 1:20,385,520, this lottery offers up some of the highest jackpot prizes in the country.
What are my odds of winning the South African lottery?
Your odds of winning the South African lottery depend on which lottery you play. But the general odds state that the odds of winning the SA lottery are 1 in 5,245,786.
Do I have to pay taxes on my winnings?
You do not have to pay taxes on your lottery winnings as long as you're not a professional gambler. The lack of taxes on winnings is the main reason to play the South African lottery. The important thing in case of winning a substantial prize is to inform the South African Revenue Service (SARS).
How can I win the lottery in SA?
The lottery is no science, but at the same time, there are some things you can do to increase your chances of winning. For example:
- Study the lottery statistics
- Pick both even and odd numbers
- Pick both low and high numbers
- Avoid picking the same numbers as past winners
- Study the losing numbers –
- Probability says that all numbers will be drawn the same number of times eventually, so if it’s been a while since that number has appeared, it may be worth playing those numbers.
- Have a “Balanced” Total for Your Chosen Numbers – essentially, the majority of drawn numbers are between 122 and 196, so make sure your numbers are in this range.
How long does it take to get the money when you win the lottery in South Africa?
This is the question we’re all wondering. Once you win, how long does it take to get paid? The answer is every lottery has different timelines and methods for payment. The process of verifying tickets and claiming prizes differs. Most lotteries give winners 6 to 12 months to claim their money. You should sign your ticket first and then contact the lottery authorities to inform them of your winning numbers.
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