Sports Betting has always been an old business in Nigeria from the old poll games to other forms of betting. However, since the turn of the millennium, the Sports Betting industry has morphed into an acceptable industry, one appealing to the Nigerian Youthful populace.
According to a report by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), it was revealed that about 60 million Nigerians between the ages of 18 and 40 are involved in active sports betting. They spend almost ₦2 billion on sports betting daily. This translates to about ₦730 billion annually. In an economy where the 2020 national budget is almost ₦11 trillion, this is huge.
Sports betting involves punters predicting the outcome of matches and getting their bets to correspond with the stakes. If the predictions are correct, the bets are rewarded with stipulated winnings.
Popular Betting companies in Nigeria
Nairabet owned by Ace Entrepreneur Akin Alabi is the oldest popular Sports Betting company in Nigeria and the first to adopt the use of Technology. Although, Bet9ja their number one competitor is the biggest in terms of revenue and customer base. In fact, Alexa, an Amazon company that commercializes web traffic data and analytics, ranked Bet9ja (bet9ja.com), a betting company, as the second most visited site in Nigeria after Google.com
As of 2016, the leading sports betting company, Bet9ja raked in an average monthly turnover of $10 million, while NairaBet made an average turnover of $3 million – $5 million, a 20 – 30% margin on profit. Other companies include:
The competition in this industry is stiff as there is no loyal customer base. These companies use different offerings and products in luring customers to them.
Why is Sports Betting Thriving in Nigeria?
Source of Revenue
The possibility of raking in millions from meager amounts is enough motivation for punters across the country to bet daily and as a result, betting companies record hugely impressive numbers.
Betting companies have made it easier for even low-income earners to participate with as low as N100 and still win hundred of thousands, as well millions. This is a big motivation for customers to keep betting and returning when they lost. Also, punters have been making money even amid poverty in the country, this has given the average Nigerian daily hope of making money. This strategy has led to an increasing number of punters in the betting industry, hence bringing lots of revenue to the betting industry.
Unemployment leading to Jobs Creation
The high rate of unemployment in the country has led to a rise in the growth of the betting industry. The Sports Betting industries have helped in tackling unemployment in the country. In a bid to expand around the country, into grassroots, many bet companies began to employ youths as agents, using small kiosks. On a street in Lagos with about 100 homes, you will surely see more than 4 kiosks of agents representing these Bet Companies.
This strategy to take bet shops close to the masses has influenced the growth of the industry as agents also serve as marketers in bringing more and more customers
Diversified Way of betting
The Betting companies have strategized different ways for their customers to bet and make money. This includes different kinds of odds such as :
- DOUBLE CHANCE: a bet on two out of three possible events (Home-Draw, Away-Draw, Away-Home).
- CORRECT SCORE: a bet to predict the final score of a football match, in the correct order (home – away).
- TOTAL GOALS: a bet on the number of goals scored between both teams in a football match.
- DRAW NO BET (DNB): If you place a DNB bet and the result is a draw your bet will be voided and you will retain your stake.
- GOAL-GOAL / NO GOAL: a bet to predict whether at least one of the teams will not score on a full football match.
- OVER/UNDER: a bet to predict whether there will be more or less than (0.5, 1.5, 2.5, etc) goals during a full football match. Over 1.5: meaning a game must finish with at least two goals from both teams
- Under 1.5: meaning a game must finish with 1 goal or less from both teams
- 1X2 HALFTIME: a bet to predict the score at the halftime break.
Another way betting companies diversified betting for punters is through both paper and digital means. Punters have a choice to make on which options suit them. This strategy cuts across customers of diverse academic qualifications, locations, and social status.
Lastly, punters have lots of sports to bet in. They don’t have to be lovers of any sport, they only need to follow the same principle of betting. Therefore on a day when there is no football, punters know there are other games to bet in and make money.
A growing Generation of sport lovers
This is another huge factor influencing the growth of betting companies in Nigeria. Gen Z and young Millenials make up the highest number of sports lovers in the country and this isn’t stopping anytime soon, with the high birth rate in the country. The success of Nigerian export in the European Nation has increased the interest of the younger populace in Sports, especially football. Many have switched their attention from academics to playing sports. This has increased their love for Sports which invariably has influenced their love for betting in sports games.
This increase in number has raked millions of Naira into the Sports Betting Industry.
Technology drives any industry to be better – technology aims to make businesses thrive better, the betting industry isn’t an exception. According to NCC The Nigerian Communication Commission, the number of internet users in Nigeria is over 122 million. This is more than half of Nigeria’s estimated population. The number of mobile users contributes to over 70% of this number.
- The increase in internet users in Nigeria can be attributed to the affordability of internet access; with less than ₦100 (less than US$1), internet connectivity is assured. It is easy and convenient for people to place bets online using their phones.
Influence of European Football
The intrigues, marketing, and rebranding of European football over two decades now have increased the interest of Nigerian youths in the game of football. Across the Nation, you will hear names of European club sides such as Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal, Barcelona, Real Madrid, etc on the lips of these youths. Infact the love for these clubs has influenced Nigerian youths into heated arguments and rivalry amongst themselves. As more and more youths began to follow these European clubs loyally, it increased the rate of bettings. A game between two arch-rivals like Real Madrid and Barcelona will yield lots of interest and views, increasing those who want to bet.
Bet Owners saw this interest in European football as an opportunity to make money and will bring mouth-watering odds and offers to attract these Youths.
Though Government regulations are guiding how betting companies should run, more still need to be done to curb some illegal acts such as underaged betting, addiction, laziness from Youths, etc. Many people see it as gambling, which religions such as Christianity don’t support.
However, if well controlled , the betting industry will serve as a huge revenue industry for the Country, will continue to tackle unemployment and foster the growth of the country’s economy.