The ongoing coronavirus outbreak has almost demolished gambling revenues in East African countries. Take a closer look at how earnings plunged by 99%.

There is a new victim of COVID-19, and it is not a human being. The once-thriving East African gambling industry has been decimated by the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, which has caused revenues to plunge by as much as 99%.

According to reports, betting shops in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda have all been forced to close as countries go into lockdown and implement other methods in an attempt to halt the spread of the virus. Considering that Kenya’s annual gambling sales are approximately US$20 million, Tanzania’s are approximately $10 million, and Uganda’s are approximately $12 million, the loss in revenue is significant. And even in Southern African countries like Zimbabwe the effect been hard.

The situation is likely to have disastrous consequences for the region’s betting industry. However, even if land-based bookmakers were permitted to remain open, they would have very little to offer to bettors. The COVID-19 pandemic also has brought sporting events and seasons to a grinding halt not only in Africa but around the world. 

Offline Betting Partly Responsible

While the global gambling industry has been negatively affected by the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, the impact in East Africa could have been less severe. GAL Sport Betting brand ambassador Ivan Kalinzi suggested that the region was hit particularly hard because bettors in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda prefer betting in land-based venues to betting online.

Kalinzi said that estimates put the number of East African bettors who bet online at 30%, which means that 70% of bettors support land-based bookmakers instead. Of the 30% of customers who are happy to place their bets online, the majority of them are middle-class. They also focus on English Premier League football.

Few Options Available

The betting options available online to East African customers are limited. Although some football games have been played in recent weeks, the majority of options have been limited to horse racing and to greyhound racing. Customers can also place bets on eSports and on virtual sports, and this has opened up several new alternatives to traditional wagering.

While some customers have made use of the alternatives, some bettors are using the time to save the money they ordinarily would have spent on betting. However, others have complained about the situation, saying that it is depriving them of opportunities to win money.

Europe Also Hard-Hit

It’s not just Africa that is suffering. European sports betting operators have also been hit hard by the coronavirus. Speaking to reporters, Flutter Entertainment CEO Peter Jackson said that the operator, which operates Betfair and Paddy Power, stands to lose at least $100 million if restrictions are extended to August.

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