A big wave of tough regulations has shaken the world of sports betting through the big part of Europe and the UK indeed. The new regulations caused many, mostly smaller bookmakers have been swept out of business since the conditions were for them simply not acceptable.
Countries with relatively small earnings potential such as Czech Republic or Slovakia were hit in a big way. Paying up to €2 000 000 “security deposit” caused most of the big players to withdraw their activities from the region.
UK or Sweden? The initial fees are not as high, but the hell on Earth starts after the first deposits are being accepted. The Gambling Commission in both countries give the impression that a witch hunt is the next step in gambling and sports betting regulation. How come? Every month we see millions in fines given as a strong message saying “behave, bitch!”
The Eldorado in sports betting is over
Many of us have prayed for the regulators to come and “groom the wild wolf”, but things have been pushed over the edge. There is no question about the necessity of regulating the business and protecting the vulnerables, but since many operators have simply stopped accepting the players from a certain region, the real competition has gone. Some markets remained with only a handful of big bookies. Why is this a bad thing? Well, the market dominancy is never a good thing for the customer.
The basic rule is “if you have a tool, you use it” and when your tool is called a dominancy, it is only a step to abusing the power. What we are witnessing in many jurisdictions is the rising of bookmakers market margin. In jurisdictions with hundreds of competing bookmakers you really have to try hard to stay on the top, and the market margins start by 3%. but hardly ever cross 8%.
If you are not forced to compete, why would you do so? Why would you give such small market margins? Initial 7% market margin in the oligopol (low competition) environment sounds like a good starting point for the bookmaker, crossing 10% quite often.
The next logical step for the bookmakers
Many bookmakers run out of business and simply disappeared, but many names we don’t hear about anymore moved to jurisdictions with a lower regulation. Where is that? Asia? Nope, believe or not it is Africa! Africa became the next heaven to the sports betting brands which do not want to deal with the tough regulations forcing you to balance between life and the death zone. If you want to see your old bookie, you should move to Africa. Sports betting sites in Nigeria is a great list of many significant names you might remember from the past. Basically none (or a small number) of names on the list will accept a player from the Europe. Remember the brands, because there is also another list – the list of the scammers (we will bring that one later).
So, there is a trap. Along with the bookies that are not able to afford the witch hunt of Sweden or the high fees in Central Europe, moved also the crooks and scammers. The dodgy bullshitters that only let you bet until you are losing or winning small amounts. Once the time to pay big comes, your account gets blocked. You will not get any answer from the bookies support and no authority can help you – because there is no gambling commission nor any other authority holding your side.
What is the better option?
This is a tough question and we don’t have a clear answer.
- Do you prefer protection over better market margin? Be happy to live in Europe or in the UK.
- Are you smart enough to tell the difference between a decent bookmaker and “home made” dodgy website? Africa might be the right place for you.
Well, not that you have a choice…