By Manasse Nyirenda
Sport betting fans in Lilongwe have expressed worry on the postponement of major football leagues in Europe, on which they mostly bet, over Coronavirus.
The major leagues postponed include English Premier League, Bundesliga, Serie A and Spanish La Liga among others with the aim of curbing the spread of the Virus.
These also happen to be the major football leagues followed by many Malawians.
One of the fans affected by the postponement, Patrick Suwedi, who counts K90,000 as his major win told Malawi News Agency (Mana) that he and many other customers have been mainly relying on European football markets in their betting.
“The postponement of these leagues effectively means the shutdown of all these European betting markets provided by all betting companies, and many of the remaining markets are mostly from leagues we are not conversant with.
“In a situation like this, there is lack of optimism for one to stake one’s money on league markets one does not have any or much knowledge of,” said Suwedi who has been into betting for two years now.
Kyton Kutsanja who is in his 50s and an ardent bettor at a Premier Bet shop in Lilongwe’s Area 3, told Mana that the development has also forced him to start betting on league markets they are not familiar with.
However, he said luck was not dependent on a particular football league and that he would focus on the active leagues.
“I have been betting for over a year now. Although the highest figure I have won is K47,000, I usually win lesser amounts which nevertheless makes a big difference in my life.
“If you look at this ticket, I just have one game to go which will be played on March 21 before I place my hands on K44, 000. I hope I will win,” he said.
Andrew another bettor said he has not won any money since the postponement of the major leagues and said the markets could further be affected if other leagues are also put on hold.
Some business commentators have described sport betting as a big business opportunity for Africans, though others have cautioned against betting addiction.
There are a few Malawians who have been employed as agents at betting companies and many youths who bet to try their luck.
In recent times an Ethiopian refugee based at Dzaleka won at least K50million.
Premier Bet is one of the leading sport betting companies in Malawi with shops in many districts in the country.