Almost all sports bets have stopped in eastern Africa.

  • Millions of dollars are being lost from the East African sports betting market because of the lack of sports occurring due to the Coronavirus.
  • East Africans prefer to wager on real sporting events at actual land-based sportsbooks rather than internet sportsbooks and their current virtual wager offerings.

NEW YORK – The Coronavirus pandemic has stopped 99% of all sports betting business in East Africa.

Countries like Kenya that would typically bring in $20 million in annual sports wagering profits has all but ceased operations, taking a huge hit financially.

Not only has the COVID-19 outbreak led to quarantines but it has also caused the suspension of sporting events which has created the biggest issue for the East African region’s loss of sports betting revenues.

Why The Large Decrease?

This area of Africa is more into retail sportsbooks rather than mobile platforms to gamble on games. Over 30% of sports bettors in East Africa that use the internet to place their bets are those that are of the middle class and interested in sports matchups that are currently canceled due to the Coronavirus.

All other customers prefer brick and mortar establishments when it comes to any kind of gambling on sporting events.

“We don’t have too many online gamblers in Kenya or Tanzania, where we are more into betting houses. In terms of sales, we’ve lost about 99% because most of our people are not too much into online betting,” said Ivan Kalanzi, a brand ambassador for GAL Sport Betting website.

Economic Implications

Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda see a combined sports betting annual revenue of about $42 million. The lack of business is inflicting a big loss of money for the African economy and it is expected to continue.

Any sports of interest for the customers of the region may not resume until August because of the outbreak which could be detrimental to the area in terms of financial losses.

Even if mobile and internet sports betting was more popular among East Africans, the types of bets that could be offered are not very popular within the country. Virtual and eSports type events have not yet gained traction in the area.

Professional sports are the biggest money-makers for sportsbooks. While the market is losing money and some gamblers are unhappy by the lack of action, others are welcoming the break.

The lack of sports has led sports bettors to save money that they would normally wager on the games.

Online Sports Betting Suffering Globally

East Africa is not the only place being affected by the Coronavirus pandemic and losses in sports betting.

All sports betting markets will incur losses until professional games resume worldwide. European sports gambling operators will lose at least $100 million should the leagues not come back until August 2020.

“The challenge currently facing our business and the industry more widely is unprecedented in modern times. 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,” said Peter Jackson, Chief Executive of Flutter Entertainment plc.

“While our near-term profitability will be impacted by the essential measures being taken globally, the Board will remain focused on protecting shareholder value and managing the business through these turbulent times.”

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