Nairobi News

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Sports betting craze hits Kampala

The craze of sports betting has hit through Uganda’s capital Kampala and is spreading faster than an unwanted flu.

As perhaps proof of how ‘lucrative’ this venture is here in Uganda, tens of betting outlets are available all through the streets of Kampala, most of them filled almost to capacity with youthful customers who are seen scrutinizing through the days betting odds and making payments.

The customers here have almost 50 competitions (most of which are football leagues) to choose from when placing their bets, with the English Premier League alongside the Spanish, German, French and Italian leagues the most popular bets.

Betting outlets in Kampala city. PHOTO | DAVID KWALIMWA
Betting outlets in Kampala city. PHOTO | DAVID KWALIMWA

However, the Scandinavian leagues, alongside some as far away as in America and South America, are equally popular here. Curiously, no African leagues are available for betting in these outlets, yet.

HIGH ODDS

“Sometimes I win, on most other times I lose. But nevertheless I love betting, this venture just shows how sharp I am in making free money,” Isaac Sebugwawo, a boda boda rider at one of the betting joints in Kabalagala, a Kampala surburb, told Nairobi News.

Betting evidently attracts the attention of the middle lower working class, with boda boda riders, matatu drivers and conductors, college and university students as well as school teachers reportedly forming the largest chunk of clients.

The betting odds in some instances are as high as 1:1000 meaning a Sh 1000 bet on a football game can fetch you a million shillings if the result is spot on. That amount placed on the bet is automatically lost however, if the result is otherwise.

Reports suggest the Ugandan betting industry was valued at about Ksh 3 billion by the turn of last year, with some of the benefits spilling over to the media industry through advertising.