Current state of online gambling in Nigeria 2020
Online gambling has been a growing culture across different parts of the globe. In Nigeria, online gambling has been an increasing trend over the last four years.
Particularly online sports betting thanks to the significant reforms in creating an enabling business environment including major infrastructural development, availability of internet service especially in remote areas, penetration of mobile technology, which has seen the country among the top improved countries in Ease of Doing Business 2020 report along with Togo in the world, despite the country falling into recession in 2016. However, online gambling is legal in Nigeria, but specifically for sports betting and the lottery sector, such licensed is issued by the Nigeria Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC).
Increasing Numbers of Online Operators
However, it is precise online sports betting is big business in Nigeria, given the increasing numbers of online sports betting sites that are growing at an unprecedented growth rate roughly over 50 plus betting sites are operating in the country today.
To name a few of them Premier Lotto, which is the biggest lotto company in Nigeria, while the sports betting sector Bet9ja is still the biggest and the most visited site in Nigeria. There is Nairabet the oldest, 1960, Surebet247, and Merryybet and, while there are some new entrants which include Betway, 1xbet, Bet king, Betbonanaza, Marathon bet, 22bet, and Action betting among others. The growing figure could be associated with digital transformation across the globe and Nigeria being the most populous in Africa and the biggest economy in Africa are right on top it. Further, as previously mentioned in 2016, the country economy experience recession, but in recent time the country economy is relatively growing at a fast pace, according to a recent report by local news agency the country GDP grew by 2.27% in 2019. Data released by the National Bureau of Statistics has shown surpassed the IMF’s projected figure that the nation’s economy would grow by 2.1% in 2019.
The numbers of online betting in the country have matched by the rise of digital payments platforms in the country. The competition has been intense in recent time to name a few of them Paystack, Flutterwave, Quickteller, to Interswitch and Opay as well as Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement (NIBSS) to Bank USSD code are all jostling in the sector. The operators had no other choice but to go for whoever is faster; whoever can connect with their platform with fewer glitches and secured transactions process. Although, in 2016, there were 14 million web payments worth a total of 132 billion Naira ($420 million). Transactions leapt to 29 million worth 185 billion in 2017 and 2018 a total of 50.8 Million transactions worth 404.6 billion ($500 million) while the first quarter of 2019 sees a total 20.4 million deal worth 107.6 billion Naira. The mobile money operation in the first quarter of 2019 sees a volume of 41.4 million transactions valued at 810.1 billion while the use of instant interbank payment on USSD platform by bank customers received a significant boost in 2018.
Growing by 35% in one year, and according to NIBSS analyst described mobile apps as the most preferred channel for inter-bank money transfer in the country. The said recently, we have observed that USSD has made the most gains with regards to channel acceptance. While mobile apps remain 44 per cent of total transactions, USSD is firmly catching up. This channel had grown from 25 per cent usage in 2017 to 35 per cent in 2018. Perhaps this rise is said to be the numbers of gambling operators using the bank USSD code on their platform as it doesn’t require punters to have an internet connection to make a payment, which is flexible and fast in real-time, while the use of mobile apps is diminishing, seeing growth by just one per cent when compared to 2017.
Transition in Players
Finally, part of the Nigerian government policy is to promote a cashless economy, and the gambling sector has contributed massively to the system. Significantly the numbers of online players are growing at a fast-paced as players attitude to the conventional ways of gambling are diminishing as the era of transformation in technology is happening across the globe today. Mainly we have seen fast internet connectivity, low-cost of buying data, affordable mobile device, which coupled with the flexibility of payment gateway platforms. At the same time tailored-made mobile betting platforms as sprut the online gambling in the country, the numbers speak for itself that bettors are transitioning into online betting in Nigeria. Sooner or later, the retail sector will fade out.
Article by Adeleye Awakan
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