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Recession hardship escalates: More Nigerians seek solace in sports betting

If you are a keen observer, you would have observed the sudden explosion in the number of punters in sports betting in Nigeria. The betting involves predicting the outcome of matches and getting their bets to correspond with the stake. You would always see a white piece of paper called ticket. These tickets are printed copies of selected games on which bets are placed.

Punters believe firmly that there is the possibility of raking millions from meager amounts. They are so passionate about it that they are willing to use every of their earning at their disposal. Funny enough, watching football for leisure has become a thing of the past. For football fans, they have created a two-way benefit – leisure and money making. You will see people from different walks of life, regardless of their age or earning powers spend thousands or more on this activity.

Consequently, the current state of the country could be said to have had an impact as there has been a steady increase in the number of punters due to high poverty level and unemployment rate. Even the salary of the employed is believed to be below sustenance.

However, online operations have made it viable as live phone betting has been launched. Personal accounts can be opened and transactions carried out at the comfort of punters, irrespective of their locations, which has provided an alternative for the source of earning and job creation.

ENCOMIUM Weekly sought the opinion of Nigerians who have found solace in sports betting across the country on their view about the game, how recession has forced them into match predictions and possible amount that can be won.



We all know the situation of the country, but I won’t say the ugly situation has forced people into sports betting. Personally, I have been doing this since 2013. There was a time I wasted a lot of money without winning a dime, but I have hope that sports, especially football is about winning or losing. In the last two months since the European leagues have started, I have been so lucky and I have won more than my salary for 6 months. So, betting is a risk that earns you more money or extorts the little you have.



A friend of mine introduced me to sports betting months back. I have placed thousands of naira on games without winning anything. One or two games are always going wrong in my predictions. I have not been very lucky at predicting games but I will give it some more trial and if I’m still unlucky to win, then I will quit sports betting.



There are lots of sports betting outlets in the country. I started with Nairabet some years back just because I prefer their odds. I have seen both the good and ugly side of football betting. It is all about staking a particular amount on selected games and waiting to see the result.

The situation of the country has forced a lot of people into betting. There’s no job anywhere yet. People need to be able to provide food on their table. Before now, I used to play Lotto but I have not been lucky. So, I prefer to stake my money on my favourite football teams and then wait for the outcome.



Sports betting is another option to rake in money for both employed and unemployed Nigerians, especially in this time of recession. Aside the little I earn from my job, this is my other hope. I have always been a lucky man in predicting football games. I have won over N200,000 since I started. Although it is a risk, that’s what it takes to be successful.



I am a family man. My wife and kids are waiting for me at home to provide their needs. You don’t expect me to depend keenly on my salary, this is why I ventured into sports betting. It is a logical means of making money. A friend of mine will say in sport prediction anything can happen. It can make one a millionaire and it can also wreck someone if care is not taken.

I have been predicting football matches for over three years now, but this time of recession has really changed the phase of the business. A lot of people who were living fine before recession now depend on sports betting to put food on their table. I have a friend who lost his job about three months ago. He tried to get another job but he wasn’t lucky.

Since then, he has been doing more of football prediction. Now he has his own kiosk where he sells audio and video CDs. He’s now living fine. So, sports betting is another means of adding to what we are earning, even it can fetch you more than you are earning in a month.



I’m a student of Unilorin. This is what I do in school to survive. Although it is a game of luck, it is a matter of winning or losing once you place a bet. But in recent times, I have had more chances of winning. I am a football lover and I believe this is the only means of making money out of my love for football.



I am a driver and also a family man. The need to have additional income to my salary forced me into sports betting. I have won N260,000 in a day and I have lost money too. The game is all about prediction and guessing the outcome of a yet to be played match. One must just be wise in this betting or else you will lose more than you expected.



The main reason you are seeing a lot of people both old and young betting is because of the situation of the country. Sports betting is known to be a trend in the UK and other Europeans countries, but Nigerians have also found pleasure in it just because the government has no plan for us. It is funny when you see different kind of people coming to predict matches. That tells you how bad the country is. People are no longer doing sports betting all because of their love for football, but they are doing it to win something and get food on their table.



I see sports betting as the only reward for my passion for football. I have been a true Chelsea fan all my life. Predicating football matches and winning is just a way to make us play along with the game. I don’t believe it is the situation of the country. I think people that believe in the power of sports are seen here staking their money. It is a risk to bet your money on a match that you don’t even know the outcome until it is played.



I do this just for fun and nothing else. I have lost a couple of amount ranging from N4,000 to N10,000 and even more and I have won a good amount of money too. Life itself is all about give and take, so also is football prediction. It is a matter of giving or taking. If you make a perfect prediction, you will win and if it’s the other way, it means you have lost. Out of all the accredited agents in Nigeria, I prefer Merrybet.



In Nigeria today, we are not ready to help ourselves. Even the rich are complaining bitterly. So, how do you think people will cope with the little they are earning without any alternatives. Sports betting has rescued a lot of people from hunger. My younger brother introduced me to sports betting. I never believe in it until he won about N300,000 last year. And since I have been playing the risky game, I have won more than I have lost.

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