The effect of Covid 19 on Sports Betting in Nigeria

sports betting

Year 2020 will forever be an historical year to be remembered due to the global pandemic coronavirus popularly known as Covid 19 who hit the world in shock and made all day to day activities stand still which also led to many sports activities to be put on hold across the globe.

Who on earth could have believed something of such will happen and it will affect the betting industry and sporting activities in general.

Sports Betting in Nigeria When did sports betting start? Who started it? How did it start? The fact to answer this question is that no one knows for sure but there are evidences to prove that it started way back in the ancient Rome and many analyst have stated that betting on events such as chariot races was common during ancient Greek times. There are good reasons to accept that people have been betting on the aftermath of sporting events since structured sports event started taking place nevertheless it’s a fact that sport betting is a big enterprise in the industry today and its growth potential and economic impact is massive.

Sports activities are generally enjoyed by over millions of people all over the globe. Some people participate in sports betting occasionally, some participate regularly, some bet purely for fun while others bet to make more money out of it. Sports betting gained entry into the Nigeria market as early as 2007. In less than a decade, the sport betting industry in Nigeria has grown vastly and become not just a source of income but also created employment opportunities for many people.

So when next you see a football fan celebrating a last minute goal scored in the English Premier League or Uefa Champions league, it might not just be the three points he’s celebrating – it might be his bet ticket that can pay for his next meal. In Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city, small shops with benches, television and satellite dishes popularly referred to as viewing centers, accommodates football fans to watch their favorite team plays across major European leagues and tournaments.

Nairabet is the first legal sports betting company in Nigeria and the first to come up with a fully functional website in 2009 before companies like bet9ja came into the market 4 years after and now we have tone of others like 1xbet, 22bet, Melbet, Accessbet, Betway, DoubleBet, Sportybet Merrybet, Betking, Cloudbet to mention a few.  Today, sports betting is considered a socially acceptable activity. It’s certainly not something that anyone should be shamefaced of, or feel the need to hide. Naturally, there are always going to be people who refuse to give in to sport betting. Regardless of what those people think, though betting on sports is a perfectly legitimate way for people to invest their money and make profits however it’s of no gainsaying there are no risks associated with it.

According to a report released in 2018 by top accounting and auditing firm PwC, Nigeria has become the second largest online gambling market in Africa, behind South Africa, with a Gross Gaming Revenue of $58 million with an estimated 60 million Nigerians actively involved in sports betting and over 21 betting sites operating in the country, sports betting is experiencing a massive growth in Nigeria, and is consequently having a huge impact on the economy.

Effect of covid 19 and how it has affected football in general Football activities and sporting activities in general were suspended and had serious effects on the income of Nigerian sport betting companies which put up matches on their platforms for bettors and punters to stake and win or lose money. It is estimated that these companies gross hundreds of millions of Naira every weekend from bettors staking on thousands of games. Jobless street hustlers and corporates, who see the betting industry as an avenue to earn some side income were also affected as there are fewer games to stake on during the covid 19 times.

Thousands of Nigerians working for both the local and foreign companies betting companies were also affected. Also, apart from the employers in the offices of the betting companies, agents who owns physical outlets were also affected. The Shop owners/agents also have their own employees being affected, punters aren’t coming to the shop to stake die to lack of games/ limited games to stake on. The banking, information technology and telecommunications industries who were also affected. Betting companies have affiliations with banks payment gateways, telecommunication companies which also lead to a significance reduction in these sectors.

Imagine being charged N50 for every deposit you make via Quickteller or internet banking; or being deducted N30 every time you fund your account via the mobile USSD service. Now think about the millions of deposits made into betting accounts per day. That is some serious money we are talking about. Football players including managers and other staffs also experienced salary pay cut during the pandemic period to reduce the burden on the clubs as there were no income coming from ticket sales. In as much as the covid 19 has halted so any activities we will like you to remember that your Health is in your own hands, look after it.


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