WC drives surge in sports betting

HARARE - The advent of the 2014 Fifa World Cup in Brazil has brought with it many things for different people but one constant that is gaining momentum across the world is betting.

Since the World Cup opener between Brazil and Croatia on Thursday night, Zimbabwe has not been left out of the haste with thousands flooding various betting shops to place their picks.

Even Castle Premiership stars have joined the bandwagon with Dynamos left back Ocean Mushure and teammate Thomas Magorimbo this week spotted at one of the betting outlets trying their luck.

That sports biggest showcase comes as sports wagering in Zimbabwe is at all-time high with the establishment of many betting outlets across the country.

With the country experiencing a high unemployment rate and rising liquidity crunch, most people have turned to gambling to try and escape the squalor that is evident in most high density areas.

Man of all ages, and most recently women, can be seen at various betting joints across the country going through the fixture list before placing their bets.

With the World Cup lasting until July 13, many of these punters feel that their big pay day is just around the corner.

One punter who spoke to the Daily News on Sunday said: “If I don’t make a killing during World Cup month, I will give up on gambling. Hapana mukana unopfura uyu wekuita mari. (This is the best time to make money.)” 

Local bookmaker, Richard Moor of Moor’s World of Sport told the Daily News on Sunday that there has been a surge in punters flocking their business hoping to strike it rich.

“Betting has obviously become the in-thing. More and more people are getting the hang of it,” said Moor. “The stigma of betting being a sin is gone and people are doing it out of enjoyment.”

According to Moor, the high number of punters during the World Cup does not necessarily translate into higher earnings for the bookmakers.

“Just because you have more people betting doesn’t mean you are making more money. Punters have become more educated,” Moor said.

“Punters are using smart phones. They are following their teams through the internet. Every day we are making thousands of dollars in pay outs. Yesterday someone actually bought a car.

“In the long run there is money in it for us but punters are now making informed decisions.  Sometimes I can’t afford to sleep tracking bets because if you don’t do that you will be crucified.”

During this World Cup month, betting outlets have improved wagering options for their clients.

Instead of simply betting on a game or the overall winner, more outlets have introduced more alternative bets.

A punter can now place a bet on which team will win the group, the player to win the Golden Boot and a host of other exotic options you can think of.

“We have a lot of betting options. Like who will be in the semis? Who will finish bottom of the group? Who will be the top goal scorer?” Moor said.

“The most important thing is that betting makes people feel a part of the team. It’s about feeling a part of the team, watching your team and winning with it.”

If you are feeling lucky, you can place a bet with one of the local betting shops for Ghana to reach the semi-finals of the tournament.

In the event that Kwesi Appiah's men make it to the last four, you will be in or a big pay day because that odd is currently placed at 5000/1.

What this simply means is that if you place a bet of a $1 on option, you will get $5 000 if it happen.

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