Nigerians spend over 730 billion Naira annually on sports betting and at least two billion naira is generated daily, recent research data shows.
Data also revealed that over 60 million Nigerian punters spend over N3,000 daily placing bet stakes. At least there are 50 betting sites in Nigeria with the number growing annually.
Respondents, who spoke with NAN said they placed bets to generate quick and easy income, and turn their passion for football into cash.
28-year-old Fashion designer, Segun Mukoro who bets at least once weekly said that it was the fastest way to double his income. Although he admits losing sometimes, the wins come big.
He said, “Yes I bet and I do so weekly, especially when there is a league playing. When you have been betting for long, it’s easier to know what odds and what teams to bet on.
“It is a guessing game and you get better with time. I know that it is addictive but I see it as an investment, a way to double my income.”
Similarly, 23-year-old Eronini Kolapo explained that he used betting to augment his allowance as a student.
He explained that he started for fun, at first but soon built a network from it.
Kolapo’s almost-perfect predictions made him a leader of his sports betting ring. As a matter of fact, his peers pay him extra to place ‘sure’ bets for them.
His model is not strange. Indeed, social media is rife with website and online channels where predictions are sold to help punters maximise betting stakes.
However, there are tons of such fraudulent platforms.
Notably, 30-year-old Noble Obioria sold his agro-business. Thereafter, he combined the proceeds with his savings to purchase predictions from a fraudulent channel that swindled him.
He spent almost N1m trying to place a ‘sure’ stake with the hope of making over N10m in return.
He explained that losing all his money helped him realise how addicted he was to betting. Also, the loss showed how much he had given to the greed and dissatisfaction that came with regular betting.
Obioria also agreed with respondents who said that the presence of betting sites and platforms online made it too easy and fuelled the desire to place stakes.
Research statistics show that over 14 million bet stakes and payments are made over the internet every day. However, this does not affect the rate of teeming punters at offline, physical shops.
A betting shop attendant, Niyi Adejujagbe said that he gets at least 500 stakes placed in his shop daily, adding that he has a crowd of punters as early as 9 am.
He said, “People place bets here every day. They still use shops very well because some don’t know how to use the websites and other people like to see their paper bet slips.”
1st News reports that in five betting shops visited, there were only two women placing bets as part of two male-dominated groups.
Jennifer Olisa said she enjoyed the process as she loved football and wanted to make money from it.
On the low participation of women in betting, she said women try to be more careful, especially with money.
She added that she took the risks to bet as her prediction, most times, worked.
However, she gets help from her male friends who had been betting for longer.
A psychologist, Dr Aimua Cole said that betting and gambling had a high tendency to lead to depression in addicts, adding that it takes a toll on the victim’s mental health.
She said, “Gambling addiction could lead to other serious effects, including loss of jobs, failed relationships, and severe debt.
“Problem gambling is often associated with mental health problems, including depression, anxiety, and mood disorders.”
She also decried the high advertising rates of betting sites glamourizing the habit, leading more young people to indulge in the addictive act.