Coronavirus has undoubtedly changed the world as we know it and has made uncertainty and panic linger about in all major industries. With the first ever postponement of the Olympics being announced, the future of sports and online gaming is left with a question mark
Most industries have experienced an unsought hiatus from regular business operations thanks to the novel COVID-19 and the effects that have come with it, and the gambling industry has not been spared. While online gambling has remained a steady alternative to conventional land-based betting houses, that makes it no less to suffer just as much. Due to measures implemented in an effort to contain the virus and major sporting events like the NBA, NHL and MLB being put on hold, the gambling industry has been left with little to bet on.
Effects On East African Industry
In East Africa, things couldn’t go more downhill. As many betters still take preference of betting on land-based betting houses, the online betting industry that has about 30% of gamblers wagering online has seen an even further decrease in wagers. Eastern African sales have seen a dramatic drop of 99% since the outbreak of Coronavirus. Speaking to BBC Sports Africa, brand ambassador for GAL Sports Betting website Ivan Kalanzi noted East Africa’s deteriorating gambling industry- “We don’t have many online gamblers in Kenya or Tanzania, where we are more into betting houses.”
With a majority of a middle-aged audience who count on giant football leagues that have been put off, online betting companies are forced to seek alternative entertainment to keep betting and business afloat. In an attempt to adapt to the lack of live sports, betting companies have set to focus on esports, which allows computer users to compete against each other in the sport of their choice. Simply described as competitive video gaming, esports holds leagues for different games from racing to fighting games, first-person shooter, multiplayer online battle arena and many more.
Albeit other continents quickly becoming receptive of esports which has led to a rise since the epidemic, Africa seems to be slow on hopping on that boat. Betway’s country manager in Ugan to esports while most major sporting events have been postponed.
The Unknown Future
Coronavirus has undoubtedly changed the world as we know it and has made uncertainty and panic linger about in all major industries. With the first ever postponement of the Olympics being announced, the future of sports and online gaming is left with a question mark. Revenues are expected to fall even further and new regulations imposed on betting firms in Kenya don’t make it any easier. As the government raised taxes, coupled with a ban on advertising on public platforms from May 2019, the future of African gaming is in its tightest spot yet.