Abuja, Nigeria. October 22nd, 2019 – A new public opinion poll released by NOIPolls has revealed a rising trend in gambling and betting as 39 percent of Nigerians polled acknowledged that they either engage in or know someone who engages in gambling and betting in the country. This figure represents a 3 percent increase in the proportion of Nigerians who engage in this practice when compared with the result obtained in 2017 (36 percent). More findings showed that there are more Nigerians in the Southern region (averagely 47.7 percent) than the Northern region (averagely 34 percent) who engage in this practice. Also, betting has become a growing trend amongst young Nigerians aged between 18 – 35 years as they accounted for the largest proportion (47 percent) of Nigerians who engage in the practice, representing an increase of 6 percent when compared to 2017 results. According to 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, the poll revealed that out of the active participants (39 percent) across the country, 54 percent of this category of respondents daily. On the other hand, a meagre 2 percent of the respondents in this group claimed to win a bet daily. Interestingly, 10 percent reported that they have never won a bet and more of respondents in this category are residents from the North East (19 percent) and South East (16 percent).
Gambling and betting have its positive and negative sides. However, considering the high unemployment figures in the country, the impact of the industry in the nation’s economy has been positive as it has created thousands of jobs directly and indirectly. For instance, some bookies have a large staff strength and through their associate and affiliate networks, they offer agents a source of livelihood from commissions earned as people engage in betting. On the other hand, the reality is that gambling and betting leave a lot of people (especially the country’s bulging youth population) worse off than they started. In most cases, they experience financial losses, reduced productivity and an even more dangerous gambling/betting disorder such as addiction. It is, therefore, pertinent to ensure that the industry is well regulated particularly as it relates to the age restriction. These are the key findings from the Gambling and Betting Poll conducted by NOIPolls in the week commencing September 30th, 2019.
The Nigerian betting industry has continued to expand by benefitting from the large youthful population, improving internet penetration and the increasing access to internet-enabled devices. Sports betting has slowly emerged as a lucrative sector, leveraging Nigeria’s huge football culture. For instance, according to a recent news report, Nigerians spend over ₦730bn annually on sports betting and at least two billion naira is generated daily. This figure is massive and has the propensity of climbing higher in the coming years according to experts. Additionally, in terms of participation, it is on record that an estimated 60 million Nigerians bet daily which is about 30 percent of the population.
In recent years, the industry has enjoyed high patronage in Nigeria likely triggered by the high rate of unemployment in the country thereby, creating a viable environment for the bookies. Gambling and betting have its positives and negatives; as sometimes punters win and lose their bets and typically either of these outcomes can lead to depression, debts or debilitating gambling habits.
Trend analysis shows a 3 percent increase in the proportion of Nigerians who engage in this practice when current findings are compared with the result obtained in 2017.
In terms of frequency of gambling and betting, out of the active participants (39 percent) in the country, 54 percent of Nigerians acknowledged that they engage in betting daily. North Central zone (63 percent) has more residents who bet on a daily basis followed by the South West zone (60 percent) while the South East zone has the lowest proportion (42 percent) followed by Now East at 47 percent.
When current results are compared with the results obtained in 2017, trend analysis indicates a 1 percent increase in the proportion of Nigerians who say they bet daily.
Subsequently, the further probe showed that 35 percent of the respondents disclosed that they ‘rarely’ win a bet, this is followed by 29 percent who win ‘a few times in a month’. While 10 percent claimed that they have ‘never’ won any bet, 2 percent indicated that they win ‘daily’.
Trend analysis indicates 2 percent increase in the proportion of Nigerians who have never won a bet and a decline in 1 percent in the number of those who win on a daily basis.
In conclusion, this current poll by NOIPolls has shown that there is a rising trend of gambling and betting in Nigeria, particularly among the country’s growing youth population. Our previous findings revealed that this trend is mostly driven by the quest for quick money, unemployment, greed and economic hardship amongst others. However, our concern is that while betting and 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. Therefore, NOIPolls advise that there should be a strong restriction on the age limit and bookies should be strictly monitored by the regulatory body to ensure they comply with the set rules and regulations governing the industry. Finally, regulators should ensure that they make an effort to carry out some form of sensitisation on the negative effects of gambling and betting.