Betting in Africa Feels Impact of Coronavirus Pandemic
For a while, it was believed that the African continent would be able to somehow come out unscathed by the COVID-19 pandemic that has swept across the world. But with numbers and deaths rising at a frightening pace, drastic measures have already been put in place by African governments in countries such as South Africa and Kenya.
Practically every industry in these countries has felt the impact of the coronavirus, not excluding the betting industries. Casinos have had to shut their doors as the public goes into lockdown, or at the very least avoids congregating. Major sports leagues have been cancelled; something which has dealt a blow to the sports betting industry.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa put the country into a three-week lockdown. From this Friday, all racing fixtures will be stopped, until at least April 17th. Casino groups such as Sun International and Tsogo Sun have stopped all operations and will not open their facilities until the government gives the green light once more.
In Kenya, the country’s Betting Control and Licensing Board told all casinos and betting shops to stop operations, effective immediately. The media was ordered to stop advertisements covering betting and gambling.
Betway, the global sportsbetting company, commented on the problems facing its operations in Uganda. The country manager, Adellah Agaba, said that 75% of Betway’s local business was sports betting. With the suspension of so many leagues, sportsbooks are finding it difficult to procure betting markets, and are forced to offer unfamiliar leagues or obscure novelty markets instead. According to Agaba, Betway customers aren’t keen on placing bets on leagues and sports that they were not familiar with – something which is seriously impacting the company.
Another company which operates out of Uganda is GAL Sports Betting. The company told the BBC that its Ugandan and Rwandan operations were severely affected by COVID-19. So much so, that GAL’s sales were down a tragic 99%.
Betting shops in East African countries such as Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda are hugely popular among punters, who love nothing better than to wager on international football leagues. With these leagues now cancelled or suspended, customers are keeping away.