East African betting sales have fallen by 99% due to the suspension of the top football leagues and major sports events. Because of this, betting markets are facing a tough future.
Ivan Kalanzi, a brand ambassador for the GAL Sports Betting website told BBC Sport Africa. “In terms of sales, we’ve lost about 99% because most of our customers are not into online betting. We don’t have too many (online gamblers) in Kenya or Tanzania, where people are more into betting shops.”
Many betting shops in the region were closed earlier this month because of the coronavirus outbreak, which is increasing across the region. As a result, a betting industry whose annual turnover is worth at least $20 million in Kenya, $12 million in Uganda and approaching $10 million in Tanzania has been decimated.
Kalinzi went on to add that “maybe only 30% of our customers play online and most are middle-income earners who would usually be interested in the giant [football] leagues, like France and Germany, which were put on hold. So it’s a total mess.”
The gambling industry is not only impacted in East Africa. The gambling market across the world have been suffering huge losses. One leading European betting group estimated last week that its revenue would reduce by at least $100 million, and if sporting fixtures do not start again by August, many small to medium betting operators will fold.
“The challenge facing our business and the industry more widely is unprecedented in modern times,” said Peter Jackson, Chief Executive of Flutter Entertainment, which runs the Paddy Power and Betfair operations. “Our focus, first and foremost, is on protecting the welfare of our employees and our customers, and we will leave nothing to chance in this regard.”
Since the cancellation of most sports events, several gambling operators such as Bet365.com, Sportsbet.io, Dafabet.com , 10bet.com, 1xbit.comhave taken to live streaming esports, whereby professional computer game players compete against one another in the game of their choice, as an alternative sport betting choice for punters.
This shortfall in the sports world will have a huge impact on the profits of many operators, that’s why most bookmakers are trying to encourage their shop customers online by offering strong bonuses and promotions on other options such as slots, table games, live casinos, virtual betting, lotteries, and esports.
Will this be enough to help some of them to survive?