Gambling via the internet has become the in-thing in Nigeria as more websites spring up to offer services to sport enthusiasts who want to make fast money through gambling
| By Anayo Ezugwu | Feb. 24, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT
AS A football lover, Moses Diugwu has heard a lot about various online betting websites, which he understands has fetched many football lovers some good cash. So, he decided to try his luck with the nearest 9jabet centre close to him. For someone who was used to predicting soccer matches, albeit for free, Diugwu staked N200 to predict the full-time score in a Spanish La Liga game. His prediction came true after the 90 minutes match and he became N15,000 richer. Since then, he has embraced sport betting.
Just like Diugwu, Chibuzo Anozie, a tailor, is also fascinated with the idea of sports betting as he believes that the gamble could bring him a financial breakthrough someday. As far as Anozie is concerned, “gambling is the last chance for the common man to make money in life.” Unlike Diugwu, however, Anozie knows little about football, especially the foreign league matches. His strategy is to listen to the analyses of football enthusiasts around him and take a bet on that basis. The result? He has correctly predicted some games, earning a decent income and faltered in others.
With an increasing passion for football, especially the English Premier League among Nigerians, gambling is gradually gaining a foothold in the country. Various betting sites are springing up on the internet, with many of them operating betting centres with agents across the country. Unlike the regular Australian or English season pools, where gamblers have to perm one from two to secure the winning number through football forecasting, the new online gambling sites give gamblers the option of choosing among the various games like basketball, tennis, snooker, baseball and cricket. However, since many of the gamblers show more interest in soccer, the betting sites provide them the opportunity to predict or bet on all the leagues, particularly the popular European league, like Spanish La liga, Italian Serie A, English Primer League, as well as the FIFA World Cup and Nigerian Premier League.
These betting sites also make their presence known through adverts on the various social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to attract customers. Sites such as 1960bet.com, niarebet.com, surebet.com, bet9ja.com, bet365.com, goldenbetsng.com, mybet.com.ng, nigeriabet.com, nairastake.com, ladbrokes.com, footballpoolsxtra.com, 888sport.com/bet, and paddypower.com, offer online football gambling. These companies are registered in Nigeria with some of them linked to international sports betting sites, with the aim of providing football betting to registered customers who must be 18 years and above. With the internet playing a major role in the accessibility of betting game to the populace, many of the companies also have registered agents that manage centres where people without internet access can play the game in safety and comfort.
Ibunkun Atinuke, manager of Sportbet, said the company keeps customers abreast of daily games by printing fixtures that contain the list of all the matches that will be played in the various leagues all around the world at particular times. She, however, cautioned that people need to know the clubs playing before placing their money on a bet on either of the two teams. “You do not go on and play a bet when you don’t know who is playing, the strength of the team and what they are doing because that will be more or less like wasting your time and resources,” she said.
To play, each team is assigned different odds on which the gamblers will stake their bet. Gamblers, however, have up to the kick-off time to bet their odds either on final score, draw, win, first to score, time of score and mode of score among others. For each gambler, the amount he or she wins is determined by the accuracy of the prediction and the amount staked on the odds, since the winner is usually determined by multiplying the odds and the amount. “Odd” is the percentage given to every game regarding its strength. The percentage is, however, always given in decimal forms like 1.00, 2.50 or 1.65. The various agents are expected to redeem the tickets and pay customers within 24 hours.
Okikiola Amosun, an agent to bet9ja, is of the opinion that many Nigerians stand a great chance of winning their bets because most people in Nigeria are fervent football fans. He also advised that the betting game should be played on the basis of how well the individual knows the team he is staking a bet on by comparing their strengths and lapses in past matches with that of the competing teams. According to him, doing this will give a player an advantage in assessing if his chosen team will win, lose or play a draw. Amosun said as an agent, he makes his profit through commissions on every game played in his centre in a week. He says there are times agents earn between N40,000 and N50,000 per week. “That is why I encourage my clients to play more games since it offers them more chance of winning and also boost my commissions,” he said.
Although Amosun agrees that trendy sport betting is risky, he feels it is rewarding. “Risk is attached to every form of gambling. One cannot be totally sure since it is what everyone easily does,” he said, adding that “the best approach to betting is to indulge in it minimally rather than taking it to the extreme.”
The shocking realisation of this internet betting is that despite the technological innovation, it has a lot more in common with other forms of lottery like Pool staking, Jackpot, Try Your Luck, Lotto and every other kind of gambling. It thrives on greed and luck. Gambling has impoverished many youths and triggered up vices such as borrowing, stealing among others. Sometimes fights that lead to loss of lives break out in the process.