Newspaper vendors, football experts cashing in on the betting craze

A photocopy of soccer matches is sold for Sh10 to those who want to bet. [David Njaaga, Standard]

The recent fortunes of Samuel Abisai, who raked in Sh221 million from sports betting, have continued to inspire many eager to assume his status.

As a result, newspaper vendors in the city and its outskirts have come up with new ways of making money from the betting craze.

Targeting the lower class, vendors are printing out match fixtures published in the local dailies, photocopying them and selling them to gamblers at a fee.

Vincent Achuka, a newspaper vendor at the Bus Station terminus, has capitalised on the betting craze among city residents and is now earning from it.

“Many people cannot afford newspapers or do not have access to the internet and the photocopied match fixtures go a long way in helping them catch the day-to-day matches,” said Mr Achuka.

Match fixtures

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He sells the cut-outs at Sh10 per copy and on a good day sells 10 copies. He also says the practice is common across the country.

The cuttings are usually from the back sports pages of the local dailies and contain information on daily match fixtures. They also contain information on various jackpots to be won through either the SportPesa, Bet-In or Betway platforms; the prize money could be as high as Sh30 million.

Achuka says compared to the price of a newspaper, which is Sh60, gamblers prefer buying the game fixtures from the vendors and placing their bets via text messages.

Harrison Muriuki, another vendor near the Tuskys Supermarket adjacent to Bus Station, however says it is hard to make substantive money from the business.

He says the maximum he’s made from selling copies of the fixtures is Sh300, which is only enough for his fare and maybe lunch.

Mr Muriuki also blames the free dailies for a decline in business. Yesterday, he sold five out of 10 copies.

Additionally, die-hard soccer fans are finding ways to use their soccer knowledge to their advantage.

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Many city residents, especially women who are not familiar with the game, are flocking to soccer experts to help them place bets online.

Various predictions

On any given day, the experts scrutinise the fixtures and place various predictions on different matches. They then send the screenshot or a text message to their ‘clients’ at a fee.

“If the predictions are correct then you have to pay them a certain percentage of your earnings,” says Ken Ogala.

Mr Ogala is a rugby fan but given the prize money “being dangled” by the sports betting firms, he says he doesn’t want to miss out.

In the just-concluded Fifa Confederations Cup, he predicted and won Sh5,600 with the help of a soccer guru.

Fans on social media have also subscribed to online pages where they get tips on how to place bets and make money. On Facebook, a group calling itself ‘SportPesa Sure Betting Tips” has attracted more than 300 people. [Josphat Thiong’o] 

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