Sports betting firms across Africa are crying foul due to countless losses registered due to suspension of major sports activities across the world over coronavirus.
The suspension and postponement of the popular games has turned the lucrative sports gambling industry on its head, with clients holding back their money.
The major games suspended includes English Premier League, Spanish L a Liga, Italian Serie A, Formula One, Boxing among others making gamblers giving it a break also.
Several betting outlets in Africa were closed earlier this month because of the coronavirus outbreak, which is increasing every passing day on the continent. This has created online opportunities for online betting sites in Nigeria and challenging in situations where physical contact in hard to avoid.
In East Africa for example, the betting market has been particularly hard-hit because few clients in the region bet online.
“In terms of sales, we’ve lost about 99% because most of our people are not too much into online betting,” Ivan Kalanzi, a brand ambassador for GAL Sport Betting website was quoted by BBC Sport Africa.
“We don’t have too many (online gamblers) in Kenya or Tanzania, where we are more into betting houses,” he added.
Betting industry whose annual turnover is worth at least $20m in Kenya, $12m in Uganda and approaching $10m in Tanzania according to reports, has been devastated.
“Maybe only 30% do online betting and most are middle income earners who would usually be interested with the giant [football] leagues, like France and Germany, which were put on hold, so it’s a total mess,” Kalanzi noted.
According to Betway country manager Adellah Agaba, over 70 per cent of their clients bet on European leagues, so their suspension means losses to them.
“This market is sports heavy, people in Uganda bet sports more than any other thing. It is about 75 per cent sport, so it means if there are no major leagues, there is going to be a limp, especially in the gaming industry,” Agaba was quoted by Daily Monitor.
Meanwhile, the Coronavirus pandemic has been a blessing in disguise for some gamblers as they are able to save some in this period though.
“It has helped me save a bit more because the money you’d have lost remains with you,” Meshack, a cyber cafe owner based in western Kenya was quoted saying.
“I bet on English Premier League, Turkish league, Bundesliga, La liga, all the major ones and even the Brazil and Chilean leagues, basketball and ice hockey,” he added.
Several gambling firms however, have taken to listing and showing e-sports, whereby computer users compete against one another in the sport of their choice as one way of survival.