Soccer gambling takes hold in SA

While horse betting and lotto are favourites for people looking to line their pockets using luck, in South Africa soccer betting is emerging as a new.

Cricket, hockey, boxing and horse racing are all there for the taking, but it is betting on soccer that is fast becoming a favourite for Zimbabweans in South Africa – both male and female. If they are not in the long queues to present their bets, they are usually on the internet, checking on the recent form of soccer clubs and league positions of competing teams from soccer leagues across the globe.

From the highly popular Primera Liga of Spain, the English Barclays Premiership and Italy’s Series A, to little known leagues like the Campeonato Pernambucano of Brazil, the Mexican Clausura and the Malta Premier League, soccer gamblers can tell you which teams are doing well and which cannot be trusted.

“Teams like Hearts of Scotland’s Premiership and Brighton and Hove in England’s League Two are some of the teams that hardly disappoint, but the same cannot be said about Spain’s Atletico Madrid, England’s Liverpool and Chelsea – teams that are not consistent,” said seasoned gambler Novel Ndlovu.

“When playing teams from Arab countries, it is best to play win-draw against your favourites because even big teams there usually defy their form and settle for draws with those struggling against relegation,” he added.

However, there are disadvantages that come with playing in-form teams like Spain’s Barcelona and England’s Manchester United, which pay very little even when they win.

Odds for a Barcelona win, for example, are usually 1/14, and that means very little money, as the Catalan giants have been steamrolling past their opponents since the season began.

On the other hand, odds for small teams playing against these giants are always very high, at around 33/10, which means that for each R1 bet, one stands to win R330.

“We have had big teams losing to small teams and putting us out of the running and in the same way, so anything is possible in this form,” said a gambler.

Thulani Nkomo, who works for a betting company in Johannesburg, told The Zimbabwean this week that despite the high numbers of Zimbabweans who have joined in gambling and despite their knowledge of the methods, very few have been seen to receive the large sums of money that West Africans, especially Nigerians, make.

“Despite knowing most of the well playing teams, very few Zimbabweans have won something of note,” said Nkomo.

“You need to get all the results tendered correctly to win the amount written on the ticket and there is no consolation. The problem with most Zimbabweans is that they play these long tickets with more than 15 teams in them and usually go out with just one team,” he added.

Tickets can be obtained for as little as R5 but Nkomo said that, unlike West and East African gamblers who prefer paying big money for their bets, Zimbabweans bet on small amounts.

“Nigerians are masters of gambling and would choose just five teams that pay well and put in R1 000 in a ticket for something like R5 000 returns. To reach that figure, a Zimbabwean on a R5 ticket would need to choose 20 teams,” added Nkomo.

A manager at a sports-bet in Johannesburg’s Yeoville suburb said that although the maximum payout was R5 million, very few have managed to win anything close to that in many years, but the betters keep on increasing.

“There are people who win something, but it has usually been small figures, from R150 to around R75 000. I cannot tell their nationality because we do not take records of that,” said the manager.

Post published in: Africa News

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