The World of Lotto Gamblers

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Lotto kiosk

Several thousands of men and women of various ages are addicted to card games and spend most of their time daily playing lotto

By Anayo Ezugwu  |  Jul. 8, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT

TWO Sure: 23-67; Banker: 35-75-30-21; Three Straight: 88-32-90-22; Wazobia: 67-45-11-99 and Gateway: 32-19-00-14. These are all permutation jargons employed by those playing cardgames otherwise known as Lotto or Lottery. In South West Nigeria, it is called Baba Ijebu. There is at least one Baba Ijebu shop or kiosk in every street in Lagos, where people forecast or predict winning numbers. The game which originated from Ghana, was introduced into Nigeria by a native of Ijebu-Ode in Ogun State.

To win the Lotto, a gambler, must play a set of numbers that tallies with what manager brings out after the game has been closed. The game is played three times a day, that is, morning, afternoon and evening and for a player to win, he or she must get his numbers through guess work or from a product of map reading. There is a result chart, sold by the manager which contains past winning numbers. So, people buy these charts and study the dimensions of past winning numbers to come up with likely new winning numbers.

Lotto demands from its players no skills or techniques, but luck and ability to forecast correctly. Many players who doubt their luck depend on forecasters, who themselves are veterans in the game, and are believed to have acquired the capacity to predict likely winning numbers by studying the result charts of many years. Samuel Chijioke, a commercial driver, who won N36, 000 on June 16, said he plays Baba Ijebu whenever he has a dream number. He said he is addicted to lotto but plays when he is sure of the numbers.

Gamblers
Gamblers

According to him, he prefers to play two sure or three straight. “I like playing lotto because it pays me a lot. The first time I played Baba Ijebu, that was three years ago, I won N12, 000 and since then, I have won different amounts of money from it. But the major challenge is that some people that run this business are criminals. When you win in their shop, they will not pay you and when they decide to pay it will be in parts,” he said.

Chijioke said people who play lotto, especially those who are addicted to the game, believe anything they are told about winning numbers and some of them copy numbers from anywhere. “Once there is a group of numbers that is arranged in line, what comes into their mind is Baba Ijebu numbers. They often copy telephone numbers, numbers written on billboards or signposts, vehicle plate numbers and even madmen give numbers to them.”

He lamented the negative effects of Baba Ijebu in the society today and the amount of time and money people dedicate to it without winning anything. He said irrespective of the proceeds from Baba Ijebu, many youths have been rendered hopeless by the game. According to Chijioke, many youths devote majority of their daily incomes to playing Baba Ijebu on a daily basis without winning anything. Besides, he said, many homes have fallen apart because of over dependence on Baba Ijebu gambling.

Kingsley Azubuike, an Okada rider, said that he had been playing baba Ijebu for about four years, but has never, won any big money. However, he’s hopeful fortune would smile at him in a special way very soon. “I won’t quit because the few times I won, I used the money to pay my rent, change my wardrobe, pay my children’s school fees and maintain myself. I couldn’t have invested in stocks or built a house because the amount one wins depends on the amount subscribed,” he said.

Michael Samni, owner of a barbing salon, said the major reason he became a player two years ago was because he wanted to improve his standard of living and that of his family. “It is hard nowadays to live comfortably by just working. Hence, many poor men like me try to improve their lives by playing Lotto,” he added.

It is, however, interesting to know that many women have also been bitten by the Lotto bug. In Lagos, gambling has ensnared many housewives, mothers and spinsters. Nkechi Amah, a house wife, is one of them. She said that she invests only N50 to play the game of chance every day. She said her husband was not aware of her interest in gambling, but promised to reveal the secret to him the day she wins an amount that can uplift the family financially. She is not a big winner, but is hopeful of winning a stupendous amount in future because most achievers reach their goals only after numerous failures. She also banks her hope on fate, which, according to her, is the only power that favours one on the road to achievement.

Shonibare Opabi, manager of a Lotto kiosk named Golden Chance, said it’s a game which everybody plays .According to him, to play Lotto, one needs to invest any amount of money by permutation (two out of five numbers must be drawn for a win), play direct (all five numbers must be drawn) or indirect (five out of many numbers must be drawn). Other games include gateway (seven out of many numbers must be drawn), supreme (six out of many numbers must be drawn), mid-week (three out of five numbers must be drawn), wazobia, fortune, albarka, bonanza, sunshine and national.

Realnews investigation has not yet shown those who have been fabulously enriched by Lotto. Most players interviewed said the highest amount so far does not exceed N500,000. The prospect of winning a jackpot has continued to sustain the interest and eagerness of many lotto players.

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