Peter Situma

In usual times, many South Africans would gamble with billions of rand with the hope of getting the best results from football matches, number games, or horse races. According to one of the reports on betting economy in the country, revenues would get to R11 billion by the end of the year 2023.

However, the onset of Covid-19 coronavirus has led to the suspension and cancellation of many forms of betting to a stop. Anything needing physical participation from a number of players has been shuttered, including horse racing, and most essentially, football. Despite the fact that the boredom induced by the lockdown could appear as good news for betting companies, there is nothing out there to kindle the betting spirit among the people so as to spend huge amounts of money like they used to prior to Covid-19. Perhaps the most enthusiastic fans sought out to the Belarusian Football League that kept on running despite player flaunting the coronavirus safety measures, or the Australian horse racing events.

Betting Landscape before Covid-19

The general landscape was predictable, as many of the bets were placed from retail shops that were located all over, especially in urban centers. According to the overseer of Phumelela Gaming Inc., the two major traditional forms of betting in the country include live sports, and lottery type draws. In sports, football is the most popular, with rugby gaining many punters by the day. Horse racing is also significant, with the country leading in the continent in the sport.

In Betting World, the digital manager, Keith Bolton indicates that during this period that is faced with the pandemic, the company has undergone a turnover, as the management has been coerced into introducing new products for gambling that do not necessarily rely on live sports. For instance, betting on e-sports in particular has developed in some of the developed parts of the globe, especially on the onset of Covid-19.

South Africans now Betting on Simulated Sports

It is worth noting that e-sports in the country is not as developed as expected, but its popularity is gradually developing. However, there is a possibility of betting on the result of games that include but not limited to League of Legends, Defence of the Ancient (DOA), and StarCraft, which could be found on many online betting programs. Football fanatics are also sorted as they can punt on the FIFA game matches that are played on various networked platforms.

As a way of ensuring that punters do not miss on traditional sports, companies have introduced the aspect of simulating sports, and having matches that are animated. The results produced depend on an algorithm, or a draw from a random database. For instance, Betting World launched an animated horse racing event that appears exactly as one would see in the real world.

Simulated Football not that Appealing

Punter who are dedicated to their football teams and know them deeply often want to bet on live matches, though at the moment that is only possible in simulated matches. It at least allows fans to have the real life experience. However, most old school gamblers feel who are used to actual matches are not welcoming the idea, as their numbers have reduced immensely. The fact that e-sports needed to happen rapidly implies that many of the customers were not expectant of the same, hence needing some time to readjust.

Despite these issues, there are some positives to pick from the simulated sports, including:
• Acquisition of new customers who are interested in punting on games such as DOA and StarCraft.
• Retention of many of the old school customers, many of whom are slowly embracing e-sports betting
• A new venture that would definitely be of benefit in the future, even with the resumption of live sports

That notwithstanding, football is the most popular gamble-on sport globally, and the fact that it is not present means many companies are struggling. That does not imply that the returns from e-sports can be ignored, as some companies are gaining profits from the same.

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