Massive Drop in the Number of Clients

March 29, 2020 Matt Speakman

Coronavirus pandemic has caused the postponement of major sports leagues around the world, and the consequent devastating effects on the betting and gambling industry, which relies on the same sports to attract customers.

Players playing football without fans

Football Match Behind Closed Doors © Irish-times

During an interview with Daily Monitor on Tuesday, Adela Aghaba, Betway country Manager, predicted tougher times for the industry.

He said: “Obviously, this is terrible timing given this all happened right around the most profitable time when teams are fighting relegation and promotion,”

Ms. Agaba added that most of their clients place bets on major European tournaments, accounting for more than 70% of all bets placed.

“This market is sports heavy; people in Uganda bet sports more than any other thing. It is about 75 percent sport, so it means if there are no major leagues, there is going to be a limp, especially in the gaming industry,” Ms. Agaba added.

The only active chartered leagues are the Brazilian and the Russian Leagues, which have a minimal following; hence few people bet on them. However, Ms. Agaba is hopeful that the e-sports, Casinos, and virtual might still fill the enormous void left by the cancelled sports.

Mr. Denis Kikonyogo, the business development manager at Champion Bet, which operates 123 branches in Uganda, said what is happening “is unprecedented.” “It caught us unawares,” during his interview on the phone with the Daily Monitor.

Similar sentiments are shared by Mr. Reuben Robert, the operations director at BetOn Uganda, stating that “this is a difficult time for a lot of people.” He is, however, optimistic that their clients will shift their interest into casinos and e-sports gaming.

Affected Leagues

The Italian Serie A was the first league to get suspended as Italy became the first European nation to face a full outbreak of the virus. The English Premier League, EPL, English Championship League, EFL, as well as lower leagues followed suit with a suspension until the end of May.

The German Bundesliga, French League 1 as well as the Spanish La Liga have also been suspended together with their respective minor leagues. Other European Nations have since suspended their associations except for Russia.

Employee Layoffs

A majority of betting and gambling firms are resolving to lay off their employees as client numbers drop to their lowest in decades. In developed countries where laying off workers in times like this is illegal, the companies opt to shut down operations completely to reduce running costs.

Massive Losses

Giant Gambling firms have started reporting massive losses due to corona outbreaks. GVC Holdings, the owner of Ladbrokes, has reported an estimated drop of $130 -$150 million in returns this year. The calculations are calculated from the fact that other sporting events such as horse races and Basketball and American football have been cancelled—the primary factor being the postponement of Euro 2020 to 2021.

William Hill also predicted a drop of between 100 -110 million pounds if the British shops are closed for more than a month. This has led to the suspension of dividends hand-outs until the normalcy resumes.

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