The sports betting business in Nigeria is increasingly shifting from normal physical shops to online platforms, as players seek more convenience.
This trend is fuelled by the increased adoption and capabilities of mobile devices like smartphones, laptops, notepads and high speed internet devices in Africa’s biggest economy.
Online-gambling.com, a betting market platform estimated that over 60 million Nigerians are into sports betting with the number growing rapidly.
However, a survey carried out by BusinessDay shows that six out of 10 Nigerians who visit physical shop centers to play sportsbet have their registered online platforms where they play mostly.
”Many people who are enlightened now carry out their betting businesses online except few that may have their personal reasons. A lot of them who go to physical shops have their own registered platform where they fund and play. You can be more comfortable playing wherever you are with fewer charges. Though some banks charge like 100 charges but mobile banks like PalmPay, Opay and others don’t request for charges and many people prefer using them,” Emma Onyema, Bet9ja shop manager located at Ikotun said.
According to him, most of the customers who opened their online account with their center always come to fund their account through them, adding that the advantages and disadvantages are also there.
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“The fact is that having an online account gives access to privacy and less charges but the issue remains that it is addictive. You are playing with an online bet account linked with your bank where you can fund at any given place and time. Most people don’t have savings again because of this because there is always the hope that you will recover your loss but in the process, you might empty your account earning nothing,” he added.
Among other betting platforms in Nigeria, Sport betting remains the most prominent because of the love for football by millions of Nigerians.
A report by Research and Markets valued the Nigerian sports betting industry at $2 billion and growing. This growth is fuelled by the emergence of online and mobile sports betting.
For Gordian Ejims, a Betting shop Manager in Imo State, Fund regulation and Integrity is a major factor driving online sports betting.
“Most times, people look at those that always go to physical shops to bet as touts or tag them irresponsible. a highly reputable person in the society coming to play bet in a shop will be difficult because he will not like people who value him to see him in such an act. It is safer to protect his image by going to play online than coming offline.
“Managing income is another factor. Once you are in a shop offline, you are liable to pay more and exceed the money you have at hand, even to the extent of playing on credit but once you are online, you are just limited to the amount you funded in your account. It helps to regulate funds,” Ejims said.
According to the National Lottery Regulatory Commission, there are at least 50 betting sites in Nigeria, with the number growing annually and online gaming is expected to grow to a global industry worth $93 billion by 2023, according to research.
Few years ago when sports betting was introduced in Nigeria, it started more offline where people go to betting centers, copy code and names of football clubs and teams playing. After that, they go to the counter where the attendants insert the code on the mobile device and print it for them.
Nonetheless, the mass adoption of mobile devices have made it easier for many to now select their games online and place the amount to stake online or go to shops for printing.
TechNavio, an online gaming data platform estimated that the online gaming market share is expected to increase by $46.59 billion from 2021 to 2026. The platform stated that the rising popularity of e-sports is notably driving the online gaming market growth.
Meanwhile, research from NOI polls analytics shows that Nigerians spend over N730 billion annually on sports betting and at least N2 billion is generated daily.
The report also revealed that the estimated 60 million Nigerian punters spend over N3, 000 daily placing bet stakes.