Abuja, Nigeria. September 16th, 2019 – Nigeria is one of many countries that is being inundated with sports betting. The Nigerian sports betting (online and offline) and gaming industry has grown geometrically in the past few years. This remarkable growth can be attributed to the country’s population and increased access to the internet via enabled internet devices such as mobile phones, tablets, laptop, desktops etc.
According to statistics, about 60 million Nigerians between the ages of 18 and 40 are involved in active sports betting. On average, these punters spend roughly ₦3,000 Naira every day on bets. For instance, a data report from Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler (KPMG) in 2016 revealed that a leading sports betting company in Nigeria makes an average monthly turnover of $10 million dollars. Sport betting shops can now be spotted in almost every street in Lagos and new ones are popping up daily. Gambling in Nigeria is regulated by the National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC) and it is worthy to note that all forms of gambling are restricted from all residents of Nigeria below 18 years.
Given this background and the commencement of the 2019/2020 football season especially in Europe, NOIPolls presents findings from its past poll on gambling. The poll, which was conducted in the week commencing July 17th, 2017, assessed the opinions of Nigerians regarding the prevalence, knowledge and possible reasons some Nigerians engage in gambling. The finding revealed that most Nigerians believe that gambling is becoming very popular in the country, particularly amongst the country’s bulging youth population and sports fans.
A significant proportion of Nigerians polled (77 percent) attested to the high prevalence of betting and gambling in their locality; particularly amongst respondents in the South-West (92 percent) and South-South (91 percent) geo-political zones which recorded the highest prevalence. Similarly, gambling has become a growing trend amongst young Nigerians aged between 18 – 35 years, who accounted for the highest proportion of Nigerians who engage in the practice. According to a report by News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), about 60 million Nigerians between the ages 18 and 40 years spend up to N1.8 billion Naira on sports betting daily with an average investment of N3,000 Naira per day.
Furthermore, in terms of active participation, 36 percent of those polled admitted that they personally engage or have family members who engage in betting; with more than half of this group of respondents (53 percent) engaged in daily betting. On the other hand, 60 percent of this same group reported that they win a bet ‘few times a month’, while 8 percent revealed that they have ‘never won a bet’. In addition, the poll highlighted that people prefer betting platforms that offer timely redemption of winnings, favourable odds on games, reputation for prompt payment and are easy to use. Finally, respondents identified reasons why Nigerians engage in betting and gambling to include: ‘quest for quick money’ (30 percent), ‘high rate of unemployment’ (21 percent) and ‘greed’ (15 percent) amongst other reasons.
Analysis across geopolitical zones shows that the South-West zone recorded the highest prevalence (92 percent) while the North-East zone had the lowest prevalence (58 percent). Betting has become a growing trend among youths in the country as the findings also revealed that those aged 18 – 35 years accounted for the highest proportion of Nigerians who engage in it.
The chart below showed that a large majority (77 percent) stated that gambling is prevalent in Nigeria. Residents from the South-West zone (92 percent) had the highest prevalence, while the North-west zone (57 percent) recorded the lowest prevalence. Interestingly, analysis by age-groups shows that those aged between 18 – 35 years recorded the highest percentage (79 percent) of respondents who stated that betting in Nigeria is prevalent.
The poll also sought to measure the proportion of Nigerians who are involved in betting; and analysis revealed that nearly 4 in 10 Nigerians (36 Percent) actually engage in some form of betting and those aged between 18 – 35 years accounted for the largest proportion (41 percent) of Nigerians in this category. This finding is in line with the report from News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) which stated that Nigerians aged (18-40) years are most likely involved in betting. On the contrary, a larger proportion of the respondents disclosed that they do not engage in or have a family member who engages in betting. It is worthy to note that some of these respondents may outrightly refuse to disclose their participation due to societal stigmatization.
The survey sought to determine the frequency of Nigerians who actually engage in betting and analysis revealed that more than half of the respondents (53 Percent) disclosed that they bet or stake games on ‘daily’ basis. While 39 percent engage in it ‘a few times a month’, a meagre one percent say they rarely engage in it.
In the same vein, a further probe established that majority (60 percent) of the respondents disclosed that they only win ‘a few times a month’, this is followed by 29 percent who win ‘a few times in a week’. While 8 percent claimed that they have ‘never’ won any bet, 3 percent indicated that they win ‘daily’.
In order to ascertain the factors that influence the choice of betting platforms adopted by the betting population, findings reveal that 26 percent mentioned ‘timely payment’ as the main factor that influences their choice. This was closely followed by respondents who believe it is the ‘odds/stake placed on a game’ (24 percent). Other determinants mentioned include ‘reputation for payment’ (21 percent), ‘ease of use’ (15 percent) among others.
Finally, analysis of results revealed ‘quest for quick money’ (30 percent), ‘Unemployment’ (21 percent) and ‘greed’ (15 percent) topped the list of reasons why Nigerians engage in betting. Other reasons include; ‘to cushion the effect of economic hardship’ (12 percent), ‘poverty’ (10 percent), ‘just for fun’ (5 percent), ‘passion for sports’ (5 percent) and ‘peer group influence’ (2 Percent).
In conclusion, this poll findings have revealed the rising trend of gambling in Nigeria, especially among the country’s bulging youth population. Sadly, according to the respondents, this trend is driven by the quest for quick money, unemployment, greed and economic hardship amongst others.
However, our concern is that while gambling may serve as an avenue to pool surplus funds from the economy for savings and investment purposes, the side effects of this practice on the population, especially youths may have a negative multiplier effect on the country. Gambling has been found to be quite addictive and can stimulate further social vices if not properly managed. It has ruined homes, marriages and rendered people bankrupt; hence there’s need for proper sensitization on the negative effects of gambling. Finally, it is important for regulatory bodies such as the National Lottery Commission to step up its regulatory efforts to ensure that the practice is not abused and exposed to young people, especially teenagers.