East Africa’s gambling sector is a “total mess” after the collapse of the global sports market due to the coronavirus pandemic, a Ugandan betting company said.
Betting markets in the region have dramatically dropped following the suspension of major football leagues worldwide, which has led to the scarcity of things people could gamble on.
But the gambling market has been particularly hit hard in East Africa because only a few people 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, brand ambassador for GAL Sport Betting website, said in an interview with BBC Sport Africa.
“We don’t have too many [online gamblers] in Kenya or Tanzania, where we are more into betting houses,” he added.
Majority of the betting shops in the region shut down earlier this month because of the coronavirus outbreak, which is increasing all over the region.
The shutdown has led to the decimation of the industry’s annual turnover. Normally Kenya makes about $20 million every year, Uganda $12 million, and Tanzania $10 million.
“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,” Kalinzi said.
A significant number of leagues, across a wide range of sports, have been suspended this month as the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread across the globe.
One leading betting group based in Europe predicted last week that its revenue would decline by at least $100 million if restrictions interfering sports were kept in place until the end of August and other major events, such as the 2020 European Championships, were put off.
According to the company, this figure could increase significantly especially now that horse racing in the United Kingdom, has been cancelled.
“The challenge facing our business and the industry more widely is unprecedented in modern times,” Peter Jackson, Flutter Entertainment Chief Executive, said. Flutter Entertainment operates Paddy Power and Betfair.
“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.”