TAB and Betting World have urged all punters to open accounts that will allow them to bet online.
This follows after Britain on Friday forced all betting shops to close in an effort to slow, or halt, the spread of the coronavirus.
The UK closures were announced alongside a fresh range of measures that has seen the closure of all cafes, pubs, museums, leisure centres and cinemas.
While these draconian measures are not yet on the radar here in South Africa, the situation could change very quickly.
“It is every South African’s moral obligation to do everything possible to prevent the spread of this terrifying disease,” said Phumelela’s Robert Garner.
While TAB and Betting World’s stores have so far remained largely unaffected, we urge all our customers to open accounts that will allow them to place their bets online, via the Telebet facility, or using their mobile devices.”
According to Garner, racing is already taking place behind closed doors, effectively denying punters the opportunity to place their bets at any of the eight racecourses throughout the country.
Should there be further restrictions imposed, online or telephone betting might be the only options available to the betting public.
“While racing is – for the moment – still continuing in South Africa, it is possible that further restrictions on the civil liberties we take for granted could be imposed,” said Garner.
He added that punters who open accounts at TAB and Betting World, also have the added advantage of being able to place bets 24/7.
In a statement following the announcement of the closure of betting shops in the UK, the British Horseracing Authority said: “The details that have been given so far will be analysed by senior executives, using the most recent information on the commercial revenues and employment generated by the racing industry.
“A wide-ranging submission to government outlining the impact of the shutdown on racing and proposing areas for potential help is being adapted to respond to the announcement.”
The betting industry worldwide has been hugely impacted by the Covid-19 shutdown of sport.
In the UK, share prices of the likes of GVC Holdings, parent company of Ladbrokes Coral, William Hill and Flutter Entertainment, the group which contains Paddy Power and Betfair, fell significantly over the past two weeks.
While the closure of betting shops in the UK will be enforced until the end of April,
there is also the possibility that it could be extended. – additional reporting by Racingpost.com