It is the story of betting in Nigeria
4/15/2021 6:13:45 AM
It was intended to be a short visit. Ten minutes later, Egbe Joseph just couldn’t find the feet to step out of the shop. The computer screens, the young men, the slips and the money that changed hands over the counters told the story. It is the story of betting in Nigeria.
Nearly six years later Joseph knows that the Nigeria betting has grown in leaps and bounds. New betting sites and companies are the order of the day – and there is no stopping them. "It was an eye-opener for me. That day, I realised that many young Nigerians had embraced betting healdlong," he says, with a certain alarm in his voice.
THE MAJOR PLAYERS
Betting sites now offer a diverse selection of markets, interesting innovative features that might reduce the risk involved, and mouthwatering bonuses. But just who is making it out there?
Nigeria has more than a few local betting companies. Some of the major well-known ones are Naijabet, Bet9ja, Sportybet, Skybetnaija, Merrybet, Surebet247, 1960Bet, 360Bet, Parknbet, Plusbet, 9jadollarbet, Visabet, and many more. With licensing by the Nigeria Lottery Commission (NLC) seen as plus, some of these companies have acquired licenses to cover a 5-year period that would be renewed in the next couple of years.
A recent survey claimed that over 70 per cent of males in the country are fanatic about betting. With majority of gambling activity based on sporting activities especially football matches, this figure is not surprising as football is passionately loved.
According to analysts, most sports bettors, prefer to wager on matches from top European football competitions, including the top five European Leagues.
A survey by NOIPolls, a leading polling organisiation in Nigeria, claims that about 60 million Nigerians like to bet. The analysis reveals that gambling is especially prevalent in the South-West and the South-South zones of the country.
To be precise, the South-West area recorded the highest prevalence with 92 per cent. The reason is the lax stance regarding the activity in Lagos. It is also home to the largest casino in the country and numerous sports betting parlors.
Ogun is also home to some of the largest players driving the online betting industry in the country. Anambra is a South-Eastern state that is also contributing to this trend.
The Northern part of Nigeria seems less interested in gambling, as the prevalence rate in states such as Adamawa, Gombe, Taraba, Yobe, Sokoto, and others is around 50 per cent to 60 per cent. The North-Central part has the highest prevalence of betting in the region.
WHO IS WINNING AND LOSING?
For Barry Linus, the losing side of betting is higher than the winning side. He asserts that betting is a 50-50 business: "You either win or lose." He reveals that in the space of three years, his losses outweigh his gains. "So far, my biggest win is N125,000 and I have lost more than N125,000."
Chukwuma Nwoke, an Abuja based bettor, says has won over N480,000. But he has reservations about advising people to invest money in betting: "I can’t invite someone to invest in betting. But since I won that huge amount of money I think betting is a good business for me. If you are able to see very well in selecting games you are getting what you want for betting and getting money to do other things." Nwoke prefers normal games to live games. He explains that live betting which is sometimes called in-game betting or betting in running, gives bettors the ability to make additional wagers after the game has already started and is better than the pre-game bet.
THE PSYCHOLOGICAL EFFECTS
The adrenaline rush, thrill of winning, competitiveness and the cash benefits provide a basis for people to bet. Nevetheless, betting is a form of gambling and there’s such a thing as problem gambling.
Problem gambling is when gambling activities are allowed to overshadow other aspects of life. Professionals advice that if you find yourself constantly thinking on the next bet, giving more time and money to this pursuit or not considering the consequences then you are addiction is not far off.
Betting could become an addiction that serves as breeding ground for various psychological or mental health problems. People with betting addiction may suffer from depression, anxiety related problems, anger, self-harm, feelings of despondency and helplessness. Sometimes, these could lead to suicidal thoughts.
THE GROWING BUZZ
Whether you are for betting or not, the buzz around betting is defeaning. WIth shops at every nook and cranny, you don’t need to look far to see that betting is here to stay.
Gradually betting companies are getting into huge collaborations and affecting the daily life of Nigerians. During the COVID-19 response activities in Nigeria, Digibay, the holding company of Betway contributed to Nigeria’s response.