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Kessington Adebutu’s Baba Ijebu lotto faces fresh competition

–    Inside the wave making venture


SPORTS betting is now on the front burner of the gambling sector in Nigeria. The rate at which Nigerians now stake their money on football matches is alarming with many smiling to the bank daily.  Because of the love for the round leather game, the once popular lotto business, popularly referred to as Baba Ijebu has been relegated to the back seat.

Everywhere one turns, there are one or two sports betting outlets operated by Nigerians and the platform keeps expanding every day.  The sports betting business has impacted the lives of many football fans who are making money from their knowledge of the game as well as providing jobs for thousands of youths.

According to Mr. Bankole Omotosho, an agent who operates the betting business in Agege area of Lagos, “Sports betting is now in vogue.  We record about a thousand bettings daily with many football fans staking on a team they are expecting to win a match.  At least over N10 million have been won in this centre since we started in January 2014.  The lotto business is still on but few people are interested in it. We record high patronage in sports betting now than Baba Ijebu lotto game.  There is no off season for football bettings.  Presently, the leagues in Europe have been concluded but there are some leagues that just started like the Austrian league.  People bet everyday especially now that the World Cup is coming.  We are going to have a busy schedule during that period (June 12 to July 13).”

Another agent, Yomi Bambo shared the same thought on the wave making gambling business.  “People now make more money from sports betting than Baba Ijebu Lotto and because of this, few people play the Baba Ijebu lotto rather they place their money on football.”

The most popular among the sports betting companies is 1960Bet owned by Dotun Ajegbile.  The enterprise has taken over virtually every available space on Lagos streets.  This is said to have dealt a heavy blow on the operators of the Baba Ijebu lotto owned by businessman, Chief Kessington Adebutu and because of this development, he (Chief Adebutu) decided to set up his own betting business called Premier Bet, which is currently running side by side his lottery business.

Presently, four major betting companies exist in Nigeria Premier Bet, 1960Bet, SureBet and GoldenBet.

While the lotto game deals in staking a winning number which at the end may not work in your favour except by luck, sports betting is quite simple to play and win.  All it requires is for a player to stake on a team and predict whether it would win or not.  For instance, in the just concluded leagues season in Europe (Premier, La Liga, Ligue 1 and Dutch leagues) many football fans made a lot of money from betting.  If Barcelona, a super team is playing Rubin Karzan from Russia, many people will expect Barcelona to win, hence they stake their money on the club but if against popular expectation, Rubin Karzan wins then many people have lost while the few who staked on Karzan will win much.  Placing your money on Barcelona, who many had thought would win attracts low points but those who bet Karzan would win get higher points and more money because they took a risk many don’t want to take by placing their money on the team least expected to win,

Baba Ijebu lotto is just about numbers, nobody knows how winners or losers are determined but everybody can see what they are betting on in sports betting and with this development, the game of lotto is becoming less popular while the sports betting business has taken over.  Few years ago, the Baba Ijebu lotto game came on board and relegated pools game into the background.


INSIDE THE SPORTS BETTING BUSINESS – Setting up a sports betting business one needs to have at least N10 million.  An operator needs accommodation, furniture, a good software, an office equipment, staff and good internet connection.  To get a licence from the government for operation is relative according to the state one wants to operate from.  In Lagos, operating licence fee is N5 million, other states it is N2 million, an intending operator will need a bank guarantee of N1 million and a particular share capital depending on the requirement.  Money is generated from the losses made by betters.  For instance, if Mr. A bets on a match and he loses, then the stake belongs to the betting company.  It is a business that requires proper risk management system.  If properly managed, the business can generate millions on a monthly basis.  That’s why most foreign sports betting companies sponsor football clubs.



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