Sports bettors in Nigeria count losses as COVID–19 bites harder

Following the outbreak and the subsequent spread of the deadly coronavirus disease (COVID-19) across the globe, most sporting activities were suspended while others have been cancelled outrightly.

With the suspension or outright cancellation of tournaments in popular sports like football, tennis, basketball, revenue generation has naturally nose-dived for everyone involved sports at all levels and this include sports betting companies and the bettors.

According to a report on Gambling in Africa published in 2016 by KPMG on sports betting in Nigeria, it was said that Bet9ja rakes in an average monthly turnover of $10m while the second player in the industry, NairaBet makes an average turnover of $3m to $5m with a 20-30% margin on profit.

At the advent of betting in Nigeria, records have it that NairaBET was the first domestic online sports betting website in the country and opened up space for more betting companies to come on board.

At the moment, Bet9ja, BetKing, Betway, MerryBet, SureBet, GoldenBet, Bet365, Betfair, 888sport, 1XBet, Betwinner, amongst several others have a dominant presence in the country.

With the presence of these companies in the country, a report by Business Wire said the sports betting market is worth $2 billion.

It was said that Nigerians reportedly spend a whopping 730 billion ($1,991,814.42) annually — 2 billion ($5,457.03) daily to bet. Prior to the pandemic, it was widely reported how some Nigerians won huge sums of money. In Benue, a 17-year boy was said to have won 43 million Naira on Bet9ja.

There is also a story of Saheed Oniloyi and Olashile Ali who won together an overall sum of N8 million with a N400 stake. Arinze Cosmas Ezeanyanwu who worked as a truck pusher was reported to have won about 36 million Naira in 2017. However, not all the winners were lucky to enjoy their winnings as several reports have it that some were even murdered by friends in a bid to steal their winnings. (…)

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