Life is full of strange facts. The continent of Africa, in the midst of a technological revolution, boasts the stark and quite bizarre reality that more people have access to cellular phones than to clean drinking water. In South Africa, the continent’s strongest economy, cell phone use has gone from 17 percent of adults in 2000 to 76 percent in 2010.
Today, more South Africans – believed to be in excess of 30 million – use mobile phones than radio (28 million), TV (27 million) or personal computers (6 million). Only 5 million South Africans use landline phones
The social considerations aside, it certainly makes perfect sense to develop the use of the phone as a convenient and cost-effective business and communication tool. Interbet’s recent announcement about the launch of Interbet.mobi,a user-friendly sports betting mobi site that is the first of its kind in SA., looks well-timed.
It is quite astonishing to think that Sports Betting was legalised along with all the other forms of wagering as far back as the birth of our new democracy in 1994! That is 18 years ago, and the craze is only catching on in leaps and bounds in recent years. And it still presents a market for amazing growth.
A study, now probably five years old and indicative of where sports betting has come from, put the National Lottery with 86.9% participation as the most popular form of gambling followed by slot machines at 27.7% participation, scratchcards at 22.7% participation and charity jackpot competitions at 11.6%.
Horseracing came in at 11.5% participation, while 8.3% of respondents said they never gambled and a further 5.5% characterised themselves as occasional game players with no regular forms of gambling.
But most of them own a cell-phone and an untapped market waits ready to be harvested.
The Interbet website www.interbet.co.za is used as a trading platform for sports and horseracing betting by SA’s top registered bookmakers as well as the public. This service has now been extended to the user-friendly mobi site www.interbet.mobi.
Interbet CEO Johnny Stark believes that the mobile phone device is the future of sports betting in SA. “ Many sports, and especially racing fans, in SA have cellphones, but no computer at home or at work, “ he observes.
Stark adds that Mobile is also just much more convenient. He says that punters can now use their phones to go online to place their bets while at the event or watching it from elsewhere – a far simpler process than in the old days when one had to search for the bookies in the stands to negotiate for the best odds.
Stark also makes an important point that the revenue created from sports betting is crucial to the survival of racing as betting turnover contributes to stake money, as well as job creation in the industry, and the broader local economy.
“Interbet is launching a mobi site that is designed not only to make horseracing and sports betting simpler and more efficient in South Africa, but is an advancement in mobi design in SA in itself and will open up the exciting world of sports betting to the millions of sport-loving South Africans who do not have access to fixed line internet but thrive on mobile, ” he added.
The Interbet mobi site works on any mobile device with a browser, including smart phones, tablets, android and older feature phones with internet.
Interbet’s fixed-odds service covers all major local and international horseracing and sporting events such as soccer, cricket, rugby, tennis, motor racing and golf.
The Interbet tote service covers all horseracing on the Tellytrack channel, from South Africa, Zimbabwe, the UK, USA, Mauritius, Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong, and all non-horseracing sports bets such as the Soccer 6 and Rugby 5.
“And now you can bet on your favourite sports from wherever you are, with a tool that has a simple, user-friendly design and the same security features as internet banking – SSL certification and password protection,” says Stark.
The Interbet mobi site offers the public access to almost 100 of SA’s top bookmakers, enabling punters to negotiate for the best odds in fixed odds betting.