E-payments backbone to rise of online sports betting in Nigeria

The West African nation Nigeria known for its vibrancy in culture particularly sports is the mainstay of the average young Nigerians and that’s one of the reason to the popularization of sports betting in these country which is experience unprecedented growth rate level.

The success of sport betting in this region cannot only be identify as the love-affair of sports but most importantly payments is critical to the growth of sports betting in the country as well as other critical fundamentals which is coupled with sports betting business in the country.

However, since the emergence of online sport betting in the country which comes along with major infrastructural developments, innovations, telecommunications, economy growth and the prevalent and affordable smartphones as well as internet penetration and usage as been the key burner to growth of online betting in recent time.

As stated earlier online sports betting are booming largely thanks payment systems developed by homegrown technology firms that are making online business more viable. For years, mobile money payments failed to take off in Nigeria as they have in countries such as Kenya, Uganda, where Safaricoms M-Pesa money transfers have fostered a culture of cashless payments most especially the bookmakers in eastern parts of Africa are the biggest players of mobile money service.

However, the fear of electronic fraud and poor customers protection and services have held Nigerian online consumers back but the betting firms are embracing fast digital payment systems underpinning their betting sites as well as variations in attitudes towards online transactions among bettors, have been a significant growth in the numbers of payment solutions that are available as well as transition in punters behavior which now prefer to wager from the comfort of they home via mobile phones. All that is definitely changing the gaming space, not to mention few of them which include Interswitch, Quickteller, paystack, and flutterwave, further, operators will go with whoever is faster, whoever can connect to their platform with less issues, glitches and which firm can solve customers queries in real-time.

Though, the growth of online betting in Nigeria has been matched with web payments solutions over the years, according to data from the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement system (NIBSS), which is owned by the central bank and licensed banks. In 2016, there were 14 million web payments worth a total 132 billion naira ($420 million). Transactions leapt to 29 million worth 185 billion in 2017 and whilst in 2018 it is 50.8 million worth 404.6 billion. Nigeria with a relatively young population of nearly 190 million, as stated earlier coupled with rising mobile phone usage, falling data costs, and the imminent arrival of 5G that is already in its trial stage though, Nigeria has long been seen as a great opportunity for online sports betting business-once bettors feel comfortable with electronic payments.

Online gambling firms say that is happening. Indeed, reaching the tens of millions of Nigerians without access to banking services remains a challenge for pure online retailers, however, there is a gradual shift to online now, that is where the industry is going, the growth in the numbers of fintechs, and government as an enabler, has helped the business to thrive. A good example is the British online betting firm Betway’s which start is operations in Nigeria, another one is sportybet as well as other betting firms with land-based platforms now offer betting on they online platforms as well.

As advance in technology, it is projected by GSMA that more Nigerians will embrace online transactions has the country population is approaching a new set of digital generations which is expected to be connected to internet as well as owned a smartphones in years to come, meaning online sport betting business will continue to grow as well as the e-payments system in Nigeria.

Article by Adeleye Awakan
Associate/Editor www.gbc.ng Africa’s leading digital gaming magazine. For consultant on gaming in Africa, Bookmaker’s review, Content, Advertising, and Thoughtful leadership article contact: [email protected], Linkedin Adeleye Awakan.

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