Multichoice joins the sports betting game with SuperSportBet, we’re in trouble

Leonard Sengere Avatar
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We have all seen enough movies to understand that the house always wins. If you’re going to gamble, given enough time, the casino/betting house will win regardless of whatever hot streak you hit.

Official figures on how much Zimbos gamble are hard to come by, mostly because we probably don’t collect that kind of data. The Act which deals with gambling (Lotteries and Gambling Act) does not even touch on online gambling and so it’s in a grey zone legally.

As much as horse racing remains popular, sports betting has taken the country by storm. I’m not alone in being worried about this.

Many Zimbos are looking to sports betting to get them out of poverty and that’s not going to happen for 99.9% of them, regardless of how much they think they understand how the game is played.

When I saw a Moors World of Sport branch in my kumusha in Mrewa, I felt my stomach turn. They are going to suck my people dry.

SuperSport joins the game

This sports betting craze is not just a Zimbabwean phenomenon. The whole of Africa has been hit by the bug and Multichoice is looking to cash in on that.

See, Multichoice knows firsthand just how much these sports betting houses are paying to advertise their wares, competing and driving prices up.

If you watch football you know just how aggressive these sports bookers have been over the past few years. Every other ad promotes their stuff and every other football team dons a sports booker on their shirt.

Multichoice decided to get in on the action. They announced SuperSportBet, an online sports betting site aimed at being the “ultimate destination for sports fans, the betting fraternity and sports lifestyle enthusiasts.”

SuperSportBet was done in conjunction with KingMakers of Nigeria, a sports betting company for which Multichoice has 49% shareholding.

They decided to ride on the SuperSport brand which every sports fan in these parts is familiar with. I think they have a good chance to chip at the lead of the Betways of this world.

Diversification

Multichoice has had its struggles in the last decade. This sports betting gig provides a new channel for serious growth. The likes of DStv will not be seeing exponential growth as they already have a significant saturation.

Sports betting is still on the rise and as more Africans go online, they will transfer their limited wealth to SuperSportBet. We have shown a willingness to participate and so these betting houses are not going to stop. SuperSportBet is the conclusive proof we needed that there will be no escape.

Says a SuperSportBet executive,

Sports betting is quickly growing to be a game-changer in the country and on the continent. SuperSportBet will, with its exciting features and its association to a rich brand like SuperSport, set itself apart in a competitive and saturated market

We can’t really tell adults not to gamble and so as long as poverty remains, the chance to get rich in one stroke will always be taken. Being addictive, we will not be able to escape gambling’s clutches, even as stories of dudes blowing their salaries on sports betting warn us.

I can’t say I approve of this industry. Again, the house always wins and so I hate that sports gambling is becoming popular. I can’t begrudge Multichoice for going into this business though. Someone is going to do it regardless.

Multichoice at least promises to promote “responsible betting.” I would argue that every other betting house promises the same but maybe being a listed company and having more to lose (DStv) than other betting houses, Multichoice could be more incentivised to actually promote responsible gambling.

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  1. Charles Merekiyo
  2. Quantitative lunacy

    Thanks for the article.

    I find it ironic that as a ‘Christian’ nation, we permit such things which are fundamentally detrimental to our societies, in my opinion. I do not know why the Govt allows this given the serious issues people have with gambling which can be addictive just like other vices.

    Anyway, l guess that is another revenue stream for our hard pressed Treasury but still other no other ‘noble’ venues for revenue generation which we could pursue and from which we could earn funds without having to battle with our consciences?

    Do not get me wrong, l do fantasise about winning these >£3billion jackpots but only in idle and jocular manner because deep down l know it may not be right, for me, to get my money that way, others may disagree.

    The issues come when parents neglect families chasing these dreams and when the very poor pin all their income on trying to win their way out of poverty which is not guaranteed or likely to happen.

    As one of my maths professors put it, you can win the lotto if you wanted to but the cost of winning will almost be equal to the winnings hence you will not really achieve anything. So it really makes you wonder, are they taking advantage of greed, desperation or sheer ignorance to promote these?

    Anyway had an uncle in the 00s who had one day decided to go to the Grand challenge when it was worth talking about. Anyway at the Grand Challenge, he met a ‘Street Professor’ allegedly some fellow who was at the UZ or such and had the formula to win the lotto.

    The Professor had then told to all who were willing to listen how to go about winning said lotto. He had devised some formula to do so. So my uncle for whatever reason believed him, came home and told us the tale and it was shocking how believing he was of someone he had met a few times or so.

    Anyway he proceeded to write some number l guess those were the combinations/permutations of potential winning numbers. At this time l was doing an advanced math course as part of some studies and though l was not exactly an Einstein regarding that subject, l knew enough to know what my uncle was doing was spitting in the wind.

    It was both hilarious and pitiful to see him dutifully spend his whole day, he was at that point not working, writing down those numbers and actually believing it. Furthermore he was not shy to share his winning stratagem, what a believer!

    It was funny until he started ‘borrowing’ my notebooks so he could keep compiling his ‘winning numbers’ and he became a menace to any unattended counterbook or any book which had some unused pages. Sadly he never won the lotto and he eventually took a job.

    Anyway good luck to those who do win but l think the adage ‘easy come easy go’ is true here. Others call it the ‘lottery curse’ l do not know what it is but most have not fared well after winning those life changing sums.

    1. Feeling lucky, punk?

      Haha, I’m at the point where I’d gladly welcome the curse if it came with a billion real dollars! I’d at least get to flatten up a bit before the next round of famine😅

      Gamblers really do have to treat these games of chance responsibly. If they find themselves betting away essential funds already spoken for, they need to step back and reflect on if they really want to go down that road. Unfortunately, addiction can cloud such basic judgements until it’s too late

    2. Leonard Sengere

      Sad story about your uncle but unfortunately we all have similar stories. Personally, I can’t recall how many times I’ve heard dear relatives talk about a system they found out that guarantees victory. They don’t even feel embarrassed when it’s years later and they are yet to win. They will tell you that they’ve figured out where they were getting it wrong.

      On the issue of big winners losing it all and ending up worse off than when they started, I still am fascinated. I believe it has something to do with the fact that those that play these kinds of games do not truly understand how the maths is against them. It is also likely that they are not the most financially literate. I mean, if they were they wouldn’t even place the bet that wins millions in the first place.

      1. Anonymous

        You hit the nail on the head especially about the part that they always think they made a mistake somewhere but the whole enterprise is sound when actually that is the problem, it is not and so the sheer waste of time and resources is tragic.

        Thankfully he started from a low base so it was not too bad as he had very little money anyway so that meant he lost very little and thankfully, no family to support and he was still very young then.

        The fear is that he may become more susceptible to these kinds of rich schemes as he ages seeing as he already exhibited an interest in them at a much earlier age.

  3. Anonymous

    Quantitative lunacy
    8 January 2024 14:29
    Thanks for the article.

    I find it ironic that as a ‘Christian’ nation, we permit such things which are fundamentally detrimental to our societies, in my opinion. I do not know why the Govt allows this given the serious issues people have with gambling which can be addictive just like other vices.

    Anyway, l guess that is another revenue stream for our hard pressed Treasury but still other no other ‘noble’ venues for revenue generation which we could pursue and from which we could earn funds without having to battle with our consciences?

    Do not get me wrong, l do fantasise about winning these >£3billion jackpots but only in idle and jocular manner because deep down l know it may not be right, for me, to get my money that way, others may disagree.

    The issues come when parents neglect families chasing these dreams and when the very poor pin all their income on trying to win their way out of poverty which is not guaranteed or likely to happen.

    As one of my maths professors put it, you can win the lotto if you wanted to but the cost of winning will almost be equal to the winnings hence you will not really achieve anything. So it really makes you wonder, are they taking advantage of greed, desperation or sheer ignorance to promote these?

    Anyway had an uncle in the 00s who had one day decided to go to the Grand challenge when it was worth talking about. Anyway at the Grand Challenge, he met a ‘Street Professor’ allegedly some fellow who was at the UZ or such and had the formula to win the lotto.

    The Professor had then told to all who were willing to listen how to go about winning said lotto. He had devised some formula to do so. So my uncle for whatever reason believed him, came home and told us the tale and it was shocking how believing he was of someone he had met a few times or so.

    Anyway he proceeded to write some number l guess those were the combinations/permutations of potential winning numbers. At this time l was doing an advanced math course as part of some studies and though l was not exactly an Einstein regarding that subject, l knew enough to know what my uncle was doing was spitting in the wind.

    It was both hilarious and pitiful to see him dutifully spend his whole day, he was at that point not working, writing down those numbers and actually believing it. Furthermore he was not shy to share his winning stratagem, what a believer!

    It was funny until he started ‘borrowing’ my notebooks so he could keep compiling his ‘winning numbers’ and he became a menace to any unattended counterbook or any book which had some unused pages. Sadly he never won the lotto and he eventually took a job.

    Anyway good luck to those who do win but l think the adage ‘easy come easy go’ is true here. Others call it the ‘lottery curse’ l do not know what it is but most have not fared well after winning those life changing sums.

  4. Feeling lucky, punk?

    Poverty isn’t a prerequisite for a gambling problem, but it sure helps. So do those loot/surprise mechanics in games kids have access to. It’s why I support the crackdown on them as they create a pipeline to adulthood addiction.

    Back to the issue, while I think excessive gambling in general is a detriment, I can see the clear business case for Multichoice. As a broke *ss uncle, I witnessed how over a few years, the decoder at my niblings house has essentially turned into a decoration. If I asked them right now, they probably won’t even know where the remote is. The decoder probably isn’t even plugged in! The TV is smart, they have laptops for school and the WiFi is strong! Even the baby will only watch Akili and friends on YouTube! They don’t care about DSTV anymore and the parents have Netflix. If that’s happening in enough homes in Africa, it’s understandable why Multichoice made an exploratory investment and then eventually, made a direct investment under their own brand. Can’t tell adults not to do it, but I can only hope they gamble responsibly and that SSB won’t be too predatory.

    1. Leonard Sengere

      Poverty will make you susceptible to get rich quick schemes.

      I’m with you on the loot box mechanic. It’s Introductory Gambling.

      And yeah, if it were anything else, I would celebrate Multichoice’s diversification efforts because DStv is more likely to stagnate or regress than to significantly grow as your anecdote demonstrates. I just wish they had chosen anything but gambling but it is what it is.

  5. Farai Ted Mandoreba

    On the business side yes to multichoice it’s makes sense…. But to the ones participating it’s trouble….. in the UK 2023 they made £63 Billion (these houses) no wonder why Dstv will not hesitate to join the band wagon….. Gambling is not the route to escape poverty….

    1. Leonard Sengere

      They made that much in the UK? Well, we better get ready for even more players joining the fray. It’s good business. Easy business if the probabilities hold.

      We don’t have to like it but it’s good business by Multichoice.

      1. Farai Ted Mandoreba

        Yes it’s good business to the houses.. and I was always asking the same question why are these houses not being taxed… I think we should raise that issue that these houses should be taxed… Why is Zimra blind on gambling… But they are hunting the informal day In day out… I do estimate that here alone in Zimbabwe it’s a somewhere 1.2 billion dollars (per soccer season). In the UK they said IF YOU ARE NOT BUYING THE PRODUCT THEN YOU ARE THE PRODUCT…after these figures came out (£63 billion) they are even considering that the soccer players ( ” THE RODUCTS “) since they are not allowed to buy odds ..they must get a certain percentage from the betting houses

  6. The Empress

    How can online betting be in legal with be no official figures for how much is spent gambling in Zimbabwe? That doesn’t make any sense. It’s a million dollar industry generating potential tax revenue, but the government doesn’t know how much is spent on it?

    I was surprised our finance minister didn’t try to increase taxes on the sports betting shops. I mean he basically taxed everything else.
    If I was being silly I would have said it was as if the honourable minister took a tracing paper and traced out previous budgets, then raised taxes on everything and then called it a day. All without actually looking at what was generating taxable revenue on the ground.
    But that couldn’t be what happened….

    1. Nony

      Or could it be😅

    2. Leonard Sengere

      Even in revenue generation our govt will not innovate. The only unique idea they had in recent memory was the IMTT.

      Sports bookers have been making a killing and they should be taxed up the wazoo. It is ridiculous that to this day, years into millions of Zimbabweans placing bets on all kinds of things online, our law still has nothing to say on the matter.

      So, while it should be a joke, you and I know that indeed a ‘stencil’ was used and we hiked everything up a little. How sports betting escaped beats me. The other question we are forced to ask is, are these madhala involved in these sports booking businesses?

      1. The Empress

        Yah these businesses probably got some bigshots behind the scenes. Otherwise how else can we explain this nonsense.
        For instance a 2% tax on each $1 bet and a stricter implementation of capital gains tax on winnings, with the money being directly deducted by the booking shops and submitted to zimra.
        These simple basic measures would have generated far more revenue than the increase in passport fees with no pushback.
        So we can only assume that they are protected, because the only other alternative is that they didn’t think of it.

        1. Anonymous

          Let me correct something you said.

          If the little l learnt during my studies still applies and is correct, there will be no CGT.

          Capital Gains Tax is charged on assets which can be anything from houses, cars, shares, land, machinery etc. Do however note some of these assets would ordinarily be exempt from tax due to their nature and even when you buy some assets and dispose of them, it does not immediately result in a charge to tax depending on what you do with the proceeds.

          For instance with property, assuming you buy a bigger and more expensive property then the gains will be coopted into the property and essentially deferred. However, should you decide to buy a smaller property then the difference in value from the old to the new which is unused is liable for tax. So CGT on the first property only comes due when the second is disposed of assuming of course there is no other reinvestment in a qualifying property. Anyway lets not get too technical here but its called rollover relief.

          Now as regards the winnings, these would normally fall under income tax, if it were income. Income is usually from an enterprise which is routine and predictable in nature for instance a job, a business etc.

          If my Professor a former assistant commissioner in the predecessor to ZIMRA and subsuequently a tax partner at one of the Big 4 was correct, she said if you win the lotto in Zim provided it was a one off – there would be no tax as it is not income.

          If however, you engage in a scheme(s) and it appears that the sole objective of the enterprise was to generate income from winning lotteries, then it essentially becomes a job or a business and therefore liable to income tax.

          So as long as you arrange your affairs in such a way that the taxman does not think this is an occupation or business you are scotfree, a position mirrored by the UK. The US takes a slightly different approach wherein they usually tax you and depending where you are you may be subject to state and federal laws and potentially city laws. That is why you might find a person won 2Billion but he may end up with 800Million after state and federal taxes.

          The other reason for this apparent rip off is the workings of our friend compound interest. The money is normally given to you over a 30 year period but however the money you need to put in now to get to that magic number is much lower.

          Essentially from what l understand the figure you see is what is expected to be the full value of your winnings over 30 years, assuming you take the annuity for 30 years.

          However, most people reason they may not last 30 years, correctly so from most of the horror stories, so they opt for the Lump sum today.

          Put another way, the lump sum is essentially the seed money which grows to the promised jackpot over 30 years, hence it will naturally be more modest than the full amount.

          I hope despite my fumbling around the main ideas are understood.

  7. Farhaha Essa

    Gambling should be 90% for the PPL and 10% the house PPL rich getting richer poor getting poorer

    1. Anonymous

      😂 is that communist gambling or something? It’s a nice idea but I don’t think that would work. You might as well abolish it outright

    2. Leonard Sengere

      I have to agree with the anonymous person here. I don’t think Communist Gambling would work. Higher taxes for sports bookers is the extent I would go.

  8. Talent Moses Manyenga evengelistic work in Gweru Zimbabwe

    Gambling has always been a problem ever since. I recommend that our beloved Zimbabwean people work harder to develop the country with honesty not chance. Jesus Christ Providence cover will enrich you my people not sport betting or any other form of gambling. You loose everything and they gain everything. Contact me on +263771722732 for further information on the evils of gambling.

  9. Anonymous

    Quantitative maniac

    From the comments it seems a lot of people are impressed by the attempts of
    Multichoice to look at other income streams, this is a normal business policy so we should not be too surprised.

    In economics they talk of ‘sin tax’ which is any tax to discourage the consumption of any undesirable product/service. That is why even though things like fine spirits and cigars cost a lot more than they should as a result of theGovt doing its ting in some cases.

    For instance l was stunned to discover that about 70% of the UK cost of fuel was actually taxes and other such things. Govts as you may know usually go for the least difficult option or the one which cannot be easily avoided. In our context its these things like tolls and car licenses and insurance premiums.

    Anyway talking of gambling this should really be taxed as it is an undesirable activity which has serious social consequences like any other addiction, which the society and not these gambling houses has to bear. These could include an unwillingness by otherwise, healthy and capable people to either work or keep an honest job to problem gambling which not only puts the individual’s mental and emotional state at risk but also threatens the social, employment and financial affairs especially if they either start stealing to support their habit or they misuse any resources they may own leading to financial ruin and in countries where they have such systems a further burden on the tax system in the form of social welfare.

    There was a very interesting article which tried to expose the true cost of gambling, sadly l cannot remember what it was or l would have included it. Funny enough the windfalls from gambling are so enormous, that the boss of one of those was the highest paid boss, about 2 or so years ago, having rewarded herself a massive dividend as she is not only the major shareholder, CEO and Director – wonder if this is good corporate governance. Anyway this proves that the rewards are very high, remember these are earnings for 1 year not a hundred or so lifetimes.

    The individual in question, Denise Coates, has earned between 2017 and the current year, at least £199million. The recently released salary for 2023, was £221million in salary before dividends! This is not even the highest she earned, having earned £421million in 2020. So clearly this business pays very well. She is the boss of Bet365 in case anyone was wondering. Here is an article showing that from the BBC: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-67912483

    What l do not understand is how these gambling companies are also permitted to either own clubs or sponsor clubs. l think this is a clear conflict of interest and this should not be allowed but in some countries business is more important than common sense.

    I can only theorise that the reason why these are not taxed is the loophole around them assuming it is still there where we used to have the State Lotteries – whatever happened to those. Anyway l think provided they donate a certain amount of their revenue to charitable and social causes, they then would not need to pay any tax.

    It would be illuminating to know does this legislation still apply and who if any is regulating the operations of these cash rich entities. From a legal perspective as cash rich businesses they may be a conduit for fraud and illicit payments but a more sinister risk is that they may be sponsoring crime and terrorism which are much more serious for the well being of the country and its citizens. It is also worth asking who controls and owns these as ultimately they may weild, indirectly a lot of power due to the massive sums and profits they earn.

    I think the parliament or the legal system needs to quickly modernise in this respect. Otherwise the nation not only misses out on rightful revenue but also the state is potentially undermined which serves noone’s interests.

  10. The Gambler

    When did Juventus last lose a Serie A match? Bayer Leverkusen? When did Aston Villa last lose a PL home match? This means that those who were smart enough to place bets on Juve win in Serie A, Bayer Leverkusen win and or Aston Villa win at home did earn lots of money. The days of saying my Chele or my City without a betting ticket in your pocket are long gone. However, stake what you are prepared to lose.

    1. Anonymous

      Remember, the more the odds are against you, the higher the potential payout. That’s why some people would rather go against the sure thing

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