CHRISTIAN AHUCHAOGU |
Known to have originated in North America and parts of Europe, sports betting are described as the activity of predicting sports results, especially football matches, and placing a wager on the outcome which is generally seen to be a form of gambling.
More Nigerians, especially youths from the age of 14 and 45, seem to have embraced sports betting, making it the most popular emerging form gambling in the country. Football fans who would rather support their teams for free, believes that they can earn money from predicting scores, match results and others.
Football and other games are played almost on daily bases in Europe and other parts of the world and most Nigerians place their bets on them.
Before now, pool staking and the lottery, popularly known as Baba Ijebu, were the popular gambling systems known to most Nigerians. But while the two processes can be regarded as the forerunners of gambling in Nigeria, there is a new system known widely as sports betting.
Beyond Lagos State and its environs, sports betting are popular in most Nigerian cities and even rural areas, owing to the popularity of football in the country.
“There are several sports games like basketball, tennis, snooker, baseball, cricket and football to choose from, but football matches of European leagues, especially the English Premier League (EPL), Spanish La Liga, Italian Serie A, and Nigerian Premier League excites Nigerians more.” Stephen one of the betting agents said.
“Most Nigerians here are football fans, most of the wagers bet on how many goals that will be scored, the clubs that will win the two clubs that will score, you can even predict a draw. If they give you first half draw, nothing concerns you with the second half since they have drawn the first half. But if any of them wins, it means you have lost.” He said
Like pool, it has to do with sports, although, many Nigerians wrongly refer to it as Nairabet. But Nairabet is just one of the many registered company that is active in the football betting business.
They come in different platforms and operational styles; the list of sport betting companies in Nigeria seems to be growing every day; Nairabet , 1960bet, StakersDen, Goldenbet, Nigeriabet, naijabet, Betting World 9japredict, Naija4Win, sporty bet and so many others
Though it is risky in nature, many Nigerians youths, seem to have found a new way of making ends meet. Every day of the week, they take to online and other forms of sports betting to avoid the wrath of nature, thereby making the business to boom.
With the Nigeria growing population of over 160 million people, about 60 million of the youths seem to have channeled their energy into sports betting, placing bets on different matches played in European and other nations daily. And the companies are smiling to the banks daily.
Some of them stake all their savings and in the process, deny themselves of food. The rush is increasing, but there is nothing one can do to stop the youths because betting is in all ways better than engaging themselves in criminal activities.
Sport betting according to one of stakers Olatunji Adisa, is always a two way thing, it’s either you win or you lose, If you stake and win, the company will have to pay you, but If you lose, the company will be at gain.
“But sport betting is a continuous thing because the same people who lost will return the next day to bet, believing to recover their lost money while the people that won will return to play for more money.” He said
To some analyst sport betting is risky as is rewarding.
According to investigations by News agency of Nigeria NAN reveals that About 60 million Nigerians between 18 and 40 years of age may be spending up to N1.8 billion on sports betting daily, this investigation showed that they commit on the average N3, 000 on sports betting daily.
In most streets in Lagos, the exercise seems to be taking a new dimension, as school children and market women have joined the league.
Some school children are said to be committing their ‘lunch money’ in the range of N100 on sports betting, hoping to earn more when the draws are drawn.
In other to avoid the risk of wasting all resources, majority of the youths now spend most time doing research on strength of teams before betting.
”staking your money in sport betting is like investing in a business, you either win or lose” obiora Desmond one of the stakers in Ogba Lagos told hallmark correspondence
“I call it an investment because if you take your chance and predict well you will win, but if luck is not on your side you might lose your money”. He said
David Ajayi one of the attendants in a betting office in Agege Lagos believes that sports betting has become a means of making a living for some of our unemployed youths since jobs are so scarce in the country. “Sport betting has become one means of making money for the numerous unemployed youths since there is no job”
“Some of the people that come here stake between N100 N200 N1,000 N2,000, N5,000, N10,000 and above, depending on their individual capacity”. He said
He also revealed that some betting company could generate up to N15m to N20 million monthly and use between N5 million and N7 million to pay winners, thereby making the business profitable for the owners of the betting companies.
Depending on the season the betting business is always profitable for the betting companies who seem to enjoy more during the regular football season in Europe
In a chat with Godswill Dike an attendant in goldenbet office in ogba, who disclosed that they have more customers during the Europe football season than in the off-season.
“We dey get more customers, during football seasons, at times about 300 people do come to our office to their place bets on match days during football seasons. But the turnout is not usually the same in off- seasons; it reduces to about 100 to 150 at off-seasons.”
On how much most people pay for a wager, Godswill alleged that most people go for the N100 wager since he started the business in 2013. And the highest anyone has staked before in his outlet, is N50, 000, with a N30, 000 wager coming next to that.
Regarding winnings, the young man said, “somebody has won N1 million, and also someone has won half a million, N300, 000 and so on through this shop.”
“Some people do play our bets online but, before you can play online you would have to create an online account with us and attach your personal bank account to it.” He said.
Interestingly, recent investigation has revealed that sport betting companies have become one the largest employers of youth in the country, in some towns sport betting outfits have employed a large proportion of Nigerian youths.
An agent of sporty bet Taiwo Adadeji told hallmark that majority people don’t like putting their bet on Nigerian matches because the league games are highly predictable.
“Nigerians don’t like putting their money on our matches because the games are highly predictable and it might just be called off for no clear reason and in that way, their money is gone.
“Some people who borrow as much as 15,000 to N20, 000 for their daily stakes. It is a gamble and at the end of the day, some of them win, while some lose their money. It is a two-way thing. If you stake N20, 000 and win, the company will have to pay. If you lose, the company will smile.” He said
According to Taiwo before becoming an agent of any betting company you have first register with the company with the sum of N30, 000 or more, get a shop and equip it with tables, televisions, with one or two desktop computers and match fixtures for the customers.
Meanwhile with online platforms of sports betting like Nairabet.com, Goldenbetsng.com, Mybet.com.ng, Nairastake.com, Footballpoolsxtra.com, Ladbrokes.com, 888sport.com/bet, Betconlony.com, Bet365Naija.com, 360bet.ng, 9japredict.com, mybet9ja.com, 1960bet.ng and many others, the coast of betting business in Nigeria is growing by the day.
Though not all the customers can use the internet because of its technicality, many of the companies, have made betting easy for those who computer illiterates.
Investigation by hallmark reveals that some of the agents accept bets with pre-loaded cash cards and Interswitch cards. And the markets for selling bets are open 24 hours of the day and seven days in a week.
The agents do redeem winning tickets on behalf of the customer while the online customers on the other hand play via the internet platform, with payments and winnings made and claimed via online transactions.
Also the agents make profits through commissions on every game played at their centres each week and they can make as much as N50, 000 to N80, 000 in a week depending on the volume of transactions done through them.
To play, each team is assigned a different odd, which is what the players stake their bet on and such players have up to the kick-off time to bet their odds, either on the final score, draw, win, first to score, time of score and mode of score among others.
According to some customer I met in the betting unit in ifako ijaye Lagos, some said they play this bets because it is almost guaranteed that one will win and when you don’t win you don’t have much to lose because the cost invested is nothing much. You can play with as small as N100 and win N5, 000.