Yesterday was a weekend mixed with emotions for all Arsenal fans across the world as they lost to Brighton their only ticket to the English Premier League title realm, it’s such football matches that have always made sports very unpredictable, entertaining, exciting, and very profitable on the other hand.
“As the saying goes signed, sealed, and delivered.…… that we did yesterday to the title” As usual let’s take you on another tour in Africa this time we are in Nigeria.
Nigeria is a West African country bordered to the north by Niger, to the east by Chad and Cameroun, to the south by the Gulf of Guinea of the Atlantic Ocean, and to the west by Benin. Nigeria is not only large in area, larger than the U.S. state of Texas—but also Africa’s most populous country with a population of over 200 million people so sports in Nigeria is big business.
The Draft 2020 National Sports Industry Policy estimated that the industry could generate 2 trillion Naira ($4.7 Billion) in average annual revenue, provide 5 to 10 million direct and indirect jobs and contribute about 1.5% to 3% of GDP over 10 years. The sports betting industry in Nigeria has enormously contributed to the growth of Nigerian sports, especially football that even some of the betting companies offer odds on matches played in the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL). But the majority aren’t because they are still skeptical or cautious about the competitive nature of the NPFL.
With over 52 licensed sports betting companies – Bet9ja, NairaBet, BetKing, Betway, Betpawa, Sporty Bet, Winners, and 1xBet are some of the key players fighting to have the biggest shares of the market where over 60 million Nigerians aged between 18 and 40 years spend about $5.5m on sports betting daily, or $2 Billion annually which explains the potential of the market even with over 47 licensed sports-books.
The increasing adoption of technology by betting companies supported by progress in digital penetration across the country is stimulating sports betting among the educated and the middle class with widespread unemployment in has been and continues to be the main reason for increased sports betting.
- Over 33% of working-age Nigerians have no jobs. Among young people, 63.5%, or over 19 million, are either unemployed or under-employed according to the country’s statistics office.
- Many people made sports betting a source of their livelihood.
- Poverty in Nigeria cuts across the young and old, rural and urban dwellers, and men and women. Nigeria has 70 million poor people, over 30% of the population so many have found relief in sports betting and the hope of a big win.
The percentage of those who bet with N500 ($1) to N1000 as against bettors who spend far higher tells you that sports betting is largely fueled by poverty, the state of the economy, and the need for people to make ends meet.