Can Sports Betting Help African Football Grow?

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Since the Gambling Act came into force in Britain in 2008, the industry has grown exponentially, and it has become more strongly linked to football than ever.

The growth in football betting has coincided with the EPL reaching unprecedented heights, with new sponsors, extortionate sums coming from TV, and new audiences being reached on a daily basis as a result of gambling. With the gambling industry is becoming a cultural phenomenon in Africa, could we see the industry’s success spilling over onto the pitch?

African sport has made big strides in recent years, and with a number of players not just playing in Europe, but excelling, football is going to get more exposure than ever before.

Pierre Emerick Aubamayang, Mohammad Salah, Victor Moses, Sadio Mane and Yaya Toure have all reached the highest level of the game, and their individual success is likely to introduce the game to a new audience, and encourage African companies to inject money into developing future stars.

Unlike Europe, sponsorship has been hard to come by in Africa, with companies preferring to partner with EPL sides rather than invest close to home. This has particularly affected Nigerian sport, where companies like MTN who recently became Arsenal’s African telecommunication partner, and Chivita, Nigeria’s market leader in fruit juices, brokered a deal to use the legendary Manchester United crest, club imagery, players and other intellectual property on a range of products throughout Nigeria.

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These deals have directly affected football in the country, with the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) being without a sponsor in 2015/16. This led to retaliation from Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, in the summer of 2017, banning Nigerian companies from further deals with EPL clubs, instead forcing them to invest in African sport.

This follows the huge success from sponsorship received from The Betway Group, which has made significant contributions to sports development in Africa.This includes partnering with major African football clubs like Ashanti Gold (Ghana) and Mathare FC (Kenya), much in the way Bet 365 have done with Stoke City in the EPL.

The funding from betting companies like Betway, spin palace casino – we wrote a spin palace casino review on this site, nairabet and co come directly from the increased popularity of football betting throughout the continent, and the continued promotion is likely to see further funds poured into the game.

These funds can help improve club’s academy structures, help them develop players to play in African, and help the leagues become financially competitive, meaning the top African stars don’t have to set sail for Europe. On top of this, increased funding will lead to increased attendances, and increased betting, with punters confident of making money on the game they are watching.

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But, if football is to continue benefitting from gambling in Africa, in the same way the EPL has, taxes must remain for these companies, as Kenya’s recent tax increase has seen a huge knock on effect for the game. SportPesa, who provides almost 5 million euros in sponsorship in Kenya, recently pulled their financial support following a court ruling upholding a decision to increase the tax rate.

This move has resulted in the league condemning the government, not SportPesa.

Africa’s current gambling market is booming, with online gambling becoming more and more popular, and governments need to take this opportunity to not increase taxes, but to encourage betting companies to invest heavily in sport. This is the chance for African football to thrive, and it is essential it is not held back by excessive taxes to potential sponsors.