3 June 2018

Rwanda: Betting Companies Plan to Make a 'Killing' as World Cup Draws Near

With less than 8 days left to the biggest footballing event in the world, local betting companies are gearing up for a bigger take-away from the betting fans.

There are over 6 betting companies in Rwanda with each having thousands of outlets across the country.

In recent years, many Rwandans have taken to betting with many people sensing an opportunity to make quick money. Although betting is relatively new in the country compared to other regional countries, the likes of AfricaBets, Lucky Bets and Worldstar Bets are luring all kinds of people to cash in on the world's biggest sporting event.

The Fifa 2018 World Cup starts on June 14 in Russia with 32 teams in contention and $400 million set to be shared among the participants.

While the winner of the tournament is paid $38m, betting companies are also hoping that they will win big in the tournament. Some have even introduced a number of unprecedented betting packages that have been opened by some companies to allow as many betting avenues as possible.

"Our clients will even bet on which team will be the first to get a yellow card, which team will score in the first 15 minutes, who will be sent off for a foul play, if the match will go to extra time and so many other options," an official from Lucky Bets explained.

Addiction?

According to Rutembesa (Not his real name), he has lost more times than he has won but he keeps betting because he hopes that one day he will hit the jackpot.

At first sight, he says, most people have the impression that betting is an avenue for quick and easy cash just like he thought.

"But to tell you the truth, it is not easy to make money from betting. Beating the bookmakers (bookies as they are commonly referred to) is not an easy task. They trick you with good odds, but in the end, only a handful people win.

It involves a lot of work and time-consuming research on games and teams one wants to bet on. Then you have to make bet predictions (single or accumulators), based on the research. For sure, there is a lot of work involved, if one wants to maximise their winnings." Rutembesa said.

In most cases even during primary footballing season, bettors will have arrived at the betting centers as early as 9am. For example, last Friday, a group 14 young men were queuing on the counter of one sports betting company waiting to place their bets of their "favorite" virtual games. It was a game between English second division teams Aston Villa and Fulham. (Fulham has since been promoted to the Premier league)

"Off seasons do not exist in betting," a betting attendant at African Bets who preferred anonymity says, adding "Even when all the popular football leagues in the world have gone into a break, there will never be off season in the world of betting!"

"To be honest we expect to make a lot of money during the World Cup because you don't usually get such big games when the big leagues have gone on a break. Our odds are higher than any other company and I guess they will be increased during the world cup." She added.

On average, during league weekends they receive close to 5000 bets with some betting as much as Rwf500.000

"But we have had cases where someone who placed their bet with Rwf300 on eight games and won Rwf3 million. So it is a win-win deal."

In fact, on June 24, one Jean Claude Munyakazi become a millionaire overnight after winning a jackpot of Rwf156 million from Societe de Lotteries Pari Sportifs (LPS)

Bosco Uwimana, who has been betting for a few years now told Sunday Times that during global tournaments, there are always high chances that stronger teams will lose to smaller teams and that is how they make big money.

"The underdogs in World cups are always the one that win us big money. I can never bet on a big team. I hope to earn Rwf 5million so that I can buy a plot of land," Uwimana said.

While betting should be done for fun and not as a full-time job, it is prohibited to persons less than 18 years old.

As of 2016, the Ministry of Trade and Industry indicated that betting had contributed more than Rwf1 billion ($1.2 million) to the economy.

While a withholding tax of 15 per cent is levied on a player's winnings, the gaming tax law also requires betting companies to pay 13 per cent of their earnings from gaming and promotions.

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