Activity betting in Nigeria an not likely way to acquire occupations and earnings
  • In the commercial nerve centre in Nigeria, shanty wooden constructions using several benches, Lagos, a television plus a satellite dish are common sight. These sites, popularly called 'viewing centres', offer a bulk of the football-mad inhabitants in the city the opportunity to watch the European football league matches, generally for less than a dollar. As the popularity of those matches grew in the early 2000s, so did the presence of these viewing centres.

    On match-days, these places are usually packed with passionate fans rooting for their favourite teams but more recently, a sharp observer might see buffs at viewing centres and athletic replica jerseys - a 'ticket'. Regardless of the belief that sport betting kicked off in Nigeria just recently, the most early sport betting firms recorded their very first entry to the market in 2007.

    Typically, sport betting includes punters calling the results of matches and getting their wagers to correspond using the stakes. The stakes are rewarded with winnings that were stipulated if the predictions are correct. In Nigeria, where there are millions of soccer enthusiasts that were unbelievably enthusiastic, its house that was proverbial has been located by sport wagering.

    Finally, fans began to learn more about the real chance of making money from these games played with thousands of miles away but also not merely seeing football. For enthusiasts who watch football as a leisurely pastime, the ability to earn money from it's presented an opportunity too great to pass up.

    Typically, fans are used to hosting heated discussions on the massive weekly wages of their favourite footballers but that dialog on its head has turned. As the sport has become a viable source of income, their gains are now discussed by soccer fanatics from stakes. Every other weekend, gaming businesses pronounce huge winnings from bets placed with amounts as low as N100 (50 cents)

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    Of raking in millions from meagre amounts, the possibility is motivation for punters across the country to wager on a daily basis and because of this, gaming enormously impressive numbers are recorded by businesses. Ademola Adebajo, CEO of Stakersden, a top gaming company in Lagos, projects that stakes that are daily run into billions of Naira.

    "Currently, we believe daily bets have accomplished five billion naira ($25 million) cumulatively across all the gaming companies. Punters in the country are seeing this as a supply of daily bread and it's also not unusual to see folks appropriating a certain sum for betting daily," Adebajo said.

    Despite the high amounts of unemployment and poverty in Nigeria, punters cut regardless of bringing in powers across various demographics. Based on Adebajo, low income earning punters spend between N200 ($1) and N1000 ($5) on stakes while high income earners, labeled 'big ticket customers' spend thousands more, although these big ticket customers are firmly in the minority.

    A pot of gold

    Recently, as Nigeria is now a profitable marketplace, sports betting firms have sought to latch on and get market share to various measures of succeeding.

    The default business model sees the companies set up shop in a principal working office while seeking to create an extensive network of affiliate agents who start mortar and brick stores where customers may come into place bets. On the stakes put in their shops, affiliate shop owners, or brokers as they're formally known, get commissions for their part in the company chain. While the offline part booms, sports betting firms also manage a web-based business model exploiting the web penetration in Nigeria.

    The Nigerian Communications Commission declared that net users in the nation had reached 97 million last month. With more than half of the united states online, gambling companies understand the need to ascertain operations that are online that are viable. For this purpose, websites are set up to open personal accounts where they conduct transactions ranging from placing stakes depositing funds into an online wallet and transferring winnings got from bets for their bank accounts. While both models are explored by some firms insistently, others like NairaBet only choose to stay mostly online versions thus sidestepping the financial and logistical consequences of setting up and running a large scale offline version.

    Step one however, is purchasing a gambling license at a yearly price of N10 million ($50,000) from regulators.

    In fact, on some events, eventual closure and the inability to pay up promptly after huge wins continues to be recognized to cause serious embarrassment for betting companies. Last May, on a weekend that found few upsets and many foreseen results clicking, punters on Bet9ja, the market leader in the sport gambling space were said to have garnered up to N700 million ($3.5m) in winning bets. To its credit, Bet9ja paid promptly- a feat that can't be matched by a few other businesses. Nevertheless, weekends like those are few and far between and more times than not, the gambling firms make record enviable amounts and strong gains.

    Clearly, the business landscape is changing quickly as gambling companies compete aggressively for market share. Based on Adebajo of Stakersden, gambling businesses with actual aims of domination CAn't play modest. Companies like Bet9ja have come to the market to redefine how sport betting must be achieved and every operator is reacting to the developments," he said. "The business landscape has went from attempting to open a corner shop someplace and offer betting services to people. The big firms are always innovating and upping the ante in the business. New entrants will want critical start-up capital to measure up."

    The requirement for innovation has seen firms seek ways to create betting easier and less restrictive for punters as live phone gambling services have already been started. Stakersden has also recently launched a new service in collaboration with leading telecoms firms.

    While some believe the Nigerian market is saturated and can no longer evolve, Adebajo says the next phase of evolution is likely to be fuelled by foreign investment. "Foreign businesses have already been licensed to operate here and more are anticipating to procure licenses or to associate with local operators. So in the next 5 years, we expect to view foreign companies taking a hunk of the shareholding of some of those businesses to compete."

    An unlikely alternative

    Given Nigeria's high unemployment figures, the development of jobs by the private sector is crucial and in this respect, the effect of sport gambling has not been superficial. While other focus on optimizing their reach regionally, the sector has generated a large number of jobs directly and indirectly with nationwide operations running. Joseph Chukwu, a grad and store owner in Ikorodu, says sport gambling really has been a lifesaver. "There are no jobs in the nation even for competent grads," he said. Initially I thought of it as something to do while something larger came along but now I am focusing on being a mogul of sorts and assembling a chain of stores. It may sound ridiculous but I Have gone from looking for a job to really developing a company."

    Adebajo believes the employment issues and high speed of poverty implies that the chance to make money from sports betting can barely be discounted. "Bulk of Nigerians live below the poverty line and any action that may legitimately turn a small sum of money into substantial amounts will always be appealing." The opinions of Adebajo are backed by the numerous cases when Nigerians have fallen victim to fraudulent multi-level marketing and pyramid schemes. Given the legitimacy of sport betting, its allure is ostensible.

    In under a decade, the sport wagering business has grown significantly and become not only a revenue stream for many Nigerian punters but also big occupation creation vehicle. Normally, Nigerians are joyful celebrate the goals along with other magic moments and to watch football but they do so knowing that each and every goal counts for something and win, lose or draw the results of the game could matter for more than bragging rights, these days. Following and watching football games are no longer just a simple amateur pastime, a late winning goal scored in the English Premier League or in the German Bundesliga is not any longer worth only three points - for a football fanatic, it may cover another meal.

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