The novel Coronavirus pandemic is overwhelming the global economy, grinding every single industry to a halt.
Businesses and activities around the world have been put on hold as the world fights this global pandemic.
Sports, which put millions and billions of dollars, euros and pounds into people’s pockets, has not been left off the hook by the pandemic.
The sporting industry is multifaceted. It is comprised of several fringe subsectors, including Sports betting, which sum up to make it the multi-million dollar sector that it has grown to become.
However, the drastic rise in Coronavirus cases and deaths around the world has led to suspension of all major sporting events, resulting in huge financial losses for many dependents of the games.
This, some of the players in the betting sub-sector of the game, particularly the gamblers, say is having a debilitating effect on their earnings.
Some Sports betting enthusiasts have taken this act of gambling as a profession because that is where they earn their living from.
In fact they call themselves “investors” and so the suspension of the games meant a glitch on their investments.
Speaking to the Ghana Talks Business about the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on Sports betting, some of the gamblers at few of outlets visited in Accra on Thursday, May 14, 2020, shared their frustrations
Samuel Opoku, an Uber driver during the day and an “investor” by night, says the suspension of the games, which has affected Sports betting, has rendered life “boring” for him.
He explained that the uncertainty that is associated with outcomes of betting brings to him a certain excitement that keeps him more occupied in a manner that his day job never does.
Samuel, who claims he spends an average of GH₵300 on betting at the Premier Bet outlet in Darkuman, says he is able to win more than GH₵500 two to three times in a week, adding however that this additional source of income of his has been blocked by the Covid-19 pandemic.
He further explained that he uses betting as a side business to shore up his meagre daily income to ease off some pressures of financial demand on himself.
For Desmond Owusu, a roofing installer by day, betting is a game that helps him to survive all of his other daily “rounds” in which his salary cannot meet.
And so, he added, the Covid-19 has badly impact on his second income stream, forcing him to also suspend certain obligations that are expected of him.
An opportunity to save
The earnings of “investors”, according to Bala Ibrahim, one of the patrons of the mybet.com outlet in Darkuman, has “vastly deteriorated because there are no games to bet on” following the outbreak of the pandemic.
This notwithstanding, he says the Covid-19 imposed suspension of games is affording him an opportunity to learn to save and live within to his means.
“One way or the other it is an advantage for us because we are trying to manage the little that we have”, he said.
According to Elorm, a clientele of the Soccerbet betting center in Kasoa, the “pandemic has really hit investors hard especially those who see it as their only means of making money”.
But aside from the Sports betting enthusiasts, how has the impact been on the operators of the betting centers themselves?
Madam Rita, the Manager of the Premier Bet outlet in Darkuman, explains that the pandemic has affected their revenue as sales in betting slips have dropped significantly over the last couple of months due to the suspensions of sporting events across the globe.
What they are now depending on to survive, she remarked, is the virtual (online) betting.
Virtual Sports betting is a selection of scheduled fixed odds games (events) that use a random number generator (RNG) to decide the outcome. All customers view the same schedules and the same outcomes.
This, she explains, is not fetching them enough money to even pay their workers because their clients refer to bet on live games.
Despite the difficulties, Madam Rita, says they have no plans of laying off their workers, adding that they are fervently praying for business to pick up again with the return of the German Bundesliga on Saturday, May 16, 2020.
Even though the Managers of the other betting outlets refused to speak to this website, it was realized that their situation was no different from what the manager of Premier Bet shared.
When asked about the virtual betting, Kingsley Owiredu, another Sports betting enthusiast, says he does not trust that sort of betting because he considers it as a “trick” where the outcome is already predetermined, unlike the live matches where you everything is witnessed physically.
By Salifu B.B. Moro