Football tends to be one of the most beloved kinds of entertainment in Nigeria that connects the country to the rest of the world. This establishes a certain tone for the formation of the nation’s sports culture and the ideals that go along with it. Gambling has been traveling along with football for a long time, and Nigeria was not bypassed. Unlike football, sports wagering and gambling have long been regarded as sinister, antisocial behavior that was actively prohibited by the church and the government.
Football first appeared in Nigeria in the 20th century as a recreational activity at times when the country was the colony of Great Britain. The local community rapidly developed a passion for football, and the first official match took place in 1904.
Sports wagering took a long way before finally arriving in West Africa only in 2009. Surprisingly, the pioneering companies’ performance has exceeded all expectations, and as a result, their numbers have been expanding remarkably quickly. This has attracted the attention of international bookmakers from Europe and North America and sparked the growth of small regional offices.
Interest in wagering has grown every year since its introduction in Nigeria, and it can be clearly explained with plenty of factors fueling the spread.
Unlike many other countries, where bookmakers had started their journey, at the time of their appearance in Nigeria, they were supported by all legal documents and rulings regarding sports betting. Through the Criminal Act Code, the government legalized skill-based games in 1990, allowing people to participate in lotteries, land-based casinos, and sports betting with few restrictions. The National Lottery Regulatory Commission, which currently oversees the business, makes sure that wagering platforms pay taxes and that Nigerians only play recognized games and utilize only approved bookies’ services.
Fortunately for wagering platforms, the introduction of technologies such as high-speed Internet and smartphones indirectly aided in the successful entry of sports betting into the country. The internet’s groundbreaking innovations and online payment systems, which made it simple for people to move money from their bank accounts and e-wallets to betting sites, helped boost the appeal of sports betting to new heights. Research indicates that over 45% of Nigerians currently access the World Wide Web through their gadgets. This ratio is anticipated to rise to above 64% in 2025. This means that there are over 83 million mobile internet users in Nigeria. These are the figures that have largely motivated the expansion of sports betting.
The next crucial component to the betting spread is the degree of development of society and overall employment of Nigerians. Or, to put it more accurately, their unemployment. According to statistics, Nigeria’s unemployment rate was 33.3% in December 2020. As a result, a lot of Nigerians use their love of sports as a source of making money. As it appears, setting up a business is harder for local folks than opening sports wagering site. All they require as starting capital is a smartphone, an internet connection, and less than $1.
Some people take wagering more seriously than others, and they form online groups where they share their knowledge and strategies, as an alternative they use informational services like 1XBet Nigeria. The success of one player who makes a living from betting attracts others. Even so, there is no guarantee that someone else will succeed because, ultimately, only Miss Fortune sits at the head of the table.
Despite the fact that sports betting is entirely legal in Nigeria, the aforementioned National Lottery Regulatory Commission, along with the government, nonetheless keep an eye on the situation and, if necessary, adjust the companies’ functioning. Deliberating on certain popping up issues, all parties are trying to come up with a compromise because sports wagering has grown to be a significant industry and dramatically raises the nation’s modest financial resources. Everyone clearly understands that taxes from bets nicely replenish state coffers, but even that is not a reason to allow permissiveness and an unconscious approach to betting among the population.
The international organizations for responsible gaming help the local authorities with the last mentioned issue. Founded in 1996 as a separate 501(c)(3) charitable organization, their goal is to fund the best peer-reviewed, scientific studies on gambling disease and advance public awareness of gambling disorder and responsible gaming in order to assist people and impacted families. Many local offices, including the largest one, LSLGA (Lagos State Lotteries and Gaming Authorities), keep an eye on bettors’ wellbeing and support them in their battle against addiction if needed.
All forecasts indicate that the appeal of sports wagering in Nigeria will further increase, given the rising popularity of other sports like American football, the NBA, the NHL, and athletics. Nigeria’s booming gaming industry’ development is currently favored by the relatively low psychological and economic costs, but it is highly likely that the negative effects of gambling will be significantly lessened with the help of international independent organizations.
Hopefully, the market will continue to witness only positive changes as time goes on and that both the government and bookies will keep advancing in the right direction towards bettors’ awareness and well-being rather than striving to get as much money as possible.