Online sports betting in Malawi is set to get more exciting as new operators move into the country. The Malawi Gaming Board (MGB) and National Lotteries Board (NLB) issued licenses to 8 operators recently.

The successful operating license applicants include major brands. These brands already have a presence in other African countries. In addition to offering mobile sports betting, they’ll run promotions and offer bonuses too. 

Top Brands In Malawi

Betika, one of Kenya’s leading online sports betting sites received a license from the Malawian betting regulator. The brand already has a presence in 8 other African countries, Kenya among them. Malawi will be the ninth country where the brand will offer betting services.

Another major brand that received a sports betting license from MGB and NLB was Hollywoodbets. The operator has a strong presence in the South African market. It also offers sports betting in 3 other African countries with 1 of them being Mozambique. Other successful license applicants include Premier Bet, Premier Lotto and World Star Betting.

Speaking about the newly issued licenses was MGB chief executive officer Foster Mlumbe. He said the regulator received applications from 17 different operators. The regulator approved 8 of those applications after a strict evaluation process.

According to Mlumbe, evaluating the applicants’ liquidity was an essential part of the process. He explained that operators need to have the money to pay winnings promptly.

Those mobile betting winnings can reach large amounts. In some cases, they turn bettors into overnight millionaires. In 2019, a man in Blantyre won K109 million. In 2021, a man in Mzuzu won K77 million by betting on football. 

Digital Plan May Boost Betting Growth

Despite the sudden growth in popularity of online and mobile sports betting in Africa, the growth of the market in Malawi has been slow. Other countries have seen better growth in their betting markets. Especially as more people start using mobile phones and mobile payment options.

Industry stakeholders regard the market as still largely untapped. This is because of the low rate of smartphone ownership. A lack of widespread internet access. And expensive data. But this may change over the next few years with the Malawi Digital Economic Strategy.

The digital infrastructural development program should lead to better internet access. As well as better internet quality and lower prices. If the strategy works, internet connectivity should increase from 14% to 80% by 2025. Smartphone ownership is expected to rise to 51%.

Better, cheaper access to the internet should boost online and mobile sports betting. This is good news for bettors and operators. However, bettors who win don’t have it all easy. In 2020, the Malawian government introduced a 20% Withholding Tax on winnings that came into effect in November that year.

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