Sports betting has become very prevalent in Nigeria, with the industry experiencing tremendous growth over the last few years.
Generally speaking, gambling has been popular in Nigeria for decades, but online sports betting didn’t really develop until the late 2000s.
Currently, there are many betting sites operating in Nigeria, with an estimated 60 million Nigerians actively participating in sports betting activities. That’s about a third of the country’s population.
Nigeria has become Africa’s second-largest online gambling market, and there are projections that the West African nation will overtake South Africa and climb to the top of the leaderboard sooner rather than later.
Nigeria has the second-largest betting market in Africa, behind only South Africa.
This surge in sports betting can be attributed to many factors, including a large population, technological advancements, a poor economy, and an increasingly liberal mindset among Nigerians. Betting companies are also not relenting, constantly coming up with new ideas and innovations to keep up with the growing demand for their services.
With a population of over 200 million and a rabid football following to boot, the foundations are already in place for a sports betting boom. All the other parts are now starting to come together, leading to the astronomical growth of today.
Now let’s examine some of these other sections in more detail.
Technology: More phones and better internet access
A recent study shows that there are around 169 million mobile subscribers in Nigeria, and 100 million internet users, and counting. It is no coincidence that the rate of sports betting has increased with the increase in the number of mobile and internet users in the country. Whether it’s from the comfort of our homes or on the go, we can now place our bets very conveniently, and at a very affordable cost.
Economy: High rates of poverty and unemployment
Due to the high rates of poverty and unemployment in Nigeria, many people have to turn to sports betting to find financial help. While some are lucky to make money from betting, many more end up losing.
Even though they lose, bettors are often tireless. The general belief is that one big win can make up for all previous losses, therefore they continue to play in the hope that they will get it right one day.
Betting in Nigeria is not just limited to those around the poverty line; it literally crosses all social classes. There is a vibrant young middle class that forms a large part of the sports betting community in Nigeria. While making money remains a big goal for this class of people, they also bet for fun and entertainment and generally bet very high stakes.
A more convenient payment system
Another factor that has greatly contributed to the rapid rise of sports betting in Nigeria is the increased ease of depositing money into betting accounts. Funding can be done within minutes via fast and convenient payment methods such as direct bank deposits, internet banking, and payment gateways such as Quickteller and Paystack.
Those without a bank account or internet access use other payment methods such as USSD, while there is also the option of depositing money through any of the betting outlets spread across the country. These physical outlets, especially Bet9ja and NairaBET, are present in almost every neighborhood, especially in big cities like Lagos, Ibadan, and Abuja.
A more liberal population
There was a time in Nigeria when any form of gambling was largely seen as immoral, but times are changing in the country. Nigeria remains a deeply religious country, and gambling is still opposed by many, but today’s younger generation of Nigerians is generally more liberal in their views and very open to betting online.
Advances in technology and exposure to social media have played a role in this more liberal thinking. Gambling, especially sports betting, is no longer done in secret but has now become accepted as a large part of society.
This has prompted the arrival of more international betting sites. Recently we have seen the betting site known as Betwinner rise and become one of the most popular bookmakers in Nigeria in just a few months.
Also, because Nigeria is still a very young market, things can change very quickly. A betting site that was completely unknown yesterday could be the next big thing tomorrow.
What Is The Future For Sports Betting In Nigeria?
The sports betting industry in Nigeria is showing no signs of slowing down. As long as the factors responsible for this rapid rise remain favorable, the stakes will continue to grow at a very fast pace.
More and more people own cell phones and have access to affordable internet, payment systems are getting easier by the day, and sadly, the unemployment rate isn’t really slowing down. Bookies also do not miss the trick because they are always evolving and presenting offers and features that will continue to attract people who love sports.
Betting companies now have a strong media presence, ensuring that they are regularly in the consciousness of Nigerians, while exciting new features like live betting, live streaming, and cash payouts are sure to keep their customers glued to their services and bring in new players.