The dire state of overwhelming poverty, unemployment, and drive for quick money in Nigeria has striven and led many citizens of the green white green pennant into consideration running a fast and furious race into the growing multimillion dollar betting Industry.
The act of gambling has now become a growing trend amongst young Nigerians, most especially those between 18 – 35 years, even betting shops are now seen on almost every street corner in Nigeria.
A study attest that a significant proportion of Nigerians polled 77 percent on the high prevalence of betting and gambling in their locality; particularly amongst respondents in the South-West (92 percent), the North-East zone had the lowest prevalence (58 percent) and South-South (91 percent) geo-political zones which recorded the highest prevalence.
Betting platforms like bet9ja, betting, beltway, bet365, 1Xbet, bet winner, 22bet, was bet, parimatch, merrybet, Sportsbet Nigeria, nairabet, bigibet, and others have become a central attraction for the young blood. However, a report from Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler (KPMG) has revealed that a leading sports betting company in Nigeria makes an average monthly turnover of 10 million dollars. This suggests there are many losers than winners.
While the adventure of sports betting continues to grow wings among youth, some attest that the benefits are rewarding while the loss can be very depressing.
A sports betting analyst, Dotun Ajekigbe has described betting as a game of luck that can sometimes reward him.
“Almost everything in life is a gamble, more so with money matters. With gambling comes risks because it is not 100 percent guaranteed. However, you can dramatically reduce your risks by taking calculated risks only. “
“When you take calculated risks, you base your decisions on sound research and evidence, not intuition. Sports betting is by chance. The better informed the player is, the better the chance he/she has of making money,” he said.
Many people troop into the betting shop each day in hopes of making money. The number of participants has increased. Some go home with a magic spell of smiles on their faces while anger and regrets are always taken home for the losers.
While the betting rate continues to increase, Nigerian students are not in any way left out of this race as some of them now consider betting as a route to wealth.
A student from the University of Benin, Micheal Able* disclosed that the looming ASUU strike has led him to a betting lifestyle.
Micheal, a young promising student who is supposed to be in school learning, has now become a good regular customer in betting shops.
He expressed that his passion was aroused when he realized that Nigeria Government no longer places value on education anymore. So, he considers a way to make money, and betting gives him that leeway.
Despite playing a lot of games, Michael has not been so fortunate when it comes to winning games and cashing out. However, he said he might consider leaving the path because he is not getting younger anymore and that luck is ruining far from him.
Ginikwa Okereke*, a student of the Federal University of Owerri also revealed that the prolonged ASUU strike is what led him to venture into sports betting.
Okereke disclosed that he is not an addict, but a man must hustle, so he believes sports betting serves as an alternative means for him to meet ends need.
“Sports betting is a game and not illegal. So, I play, but while playing, I’m always very cautious because I don’t want to be addicted to it.”
Kuranen Jackson*, a student from the University of Abuja who also gamble advises his fellow compatriots to control the urge that comes from placing a bet, to avoid running into debt by going.
Kuranen said, “The most interesting thing about betting is the excitement and adrenaline rush of making it in a big way, as others did. To some people betting makes them feel alive. In as much as we bet we should bet with caution.”
Femi Ajebola*, a student from the Federal University of Akure, (FUTA) who has been lucky gave kudos to betting platforms because betting has helped him in settling some bills.
He also emphasized that sports betting is a game of luck and that he has been a lucky fellow ever since he started playing the game.
Contrarily, Ifechukwu Johson*, a student from the University of Port Harcourt who always experienced failure ever since joining now believes that his excessive losses must have been orchestrated by his village people.
Despite his failure, Jonson still doesn’t consider quitting anytime soon.
“There is no day that passes by without placing a bet at the betting shop but I have never won any game. Each time I place a bet the game will cut it. Sometimes I use my feeding money to play a bet hoping that I will win but my village people won’t let me have my way. My friends have advised me to let go of betting that it’s not my way but I’ve been adamant and hopeful believing that one day, he will see the end of the tunnel.” He said.
Daniel Henry*, a graduate of the University of Port Harcourt, who is perhaps a pro in betting, recounts his betting lifestyle, stating that he knows how things are being done, so he always wins games.
He disclosed that he only plays special bets which he describes as a “sure game”.
Daniel added that he had hung his book after he graduated from school. “Back then at school, betting was my alternative means of getting money to settle school bills. Betting is fun when you control the way you play the game. After school, I decided to stop because rather than eating the little I manage to work for, I spent it on playing games, so I stopped.”