Before the invention of the internet, we were only able to place sports bets by visiting actual betting outlets. Now that internet-enabled smartphones are a thing, the hassle of going to the bookie's shop is eliminated.
While betting outlets are still a thing, a large number of Nigerian bettors now prefer to bet through a more convenient means. Online sportsbooks, which are now accessible through both desktop computers and mobile phones are being used by millions of bettors across the country.
Mobile Betting Options in Nigeria
Nigerian bettors use several mobile betting platforms. However, the most popular of these platforms is the Bet9ja mobile app. The Bet9ja app is the most used betting app in the country. However, we must clarify that the term betting app doesn't only refer to downloadable mobile apps that can only be found on App stores.
A good number of online sportsbooks allow bettors to place bets through their phones using USSD codes. Bettors can place their bets with bookies by dialing something like *737*1*AMOUNT*BANK ACCOUNT NUMBER# on their phones. This method of betting is useful to bettors who don't use smartphones and or internet-enabled phones. Predictably, this makes mobile betting accessible by more bettors.
Speaking of engagement with sports betting within the Nigerian population, does this generate more engagement? Statistics prove the answer to this question is yes. Roughly 60 million Nigerians between the ages of 18 and 40 actively participate in sports betting. Currently, there are over 100 million internet users and 169 million mobile subscribers in Nigeria. These numbers are not expected to plummet in the future as more people continue to gain access to the internet and smartphones.
As the sports betting industry continues to thrive, international brands such as Betway and 1xBet are making an entrance into the market. More brands are expected to tap into the mobile betting market as well. This further proves how lucrative the mobile betting business is. Study shows this business sector is currently worth about $2 billion.
Other Reasons Why Mobile Betting is Popular among Nigerian Bettors
Unsurprisingly, football betting is the most popular sport in wagering volume and the English Premier League is the most favored competition. The Nigerian Professional Football League also attracts a fair share of bettors, but cannot be compared to the EPL. Thanks to the recent popularity of African players in the Premier League, millions of bettors are willing to wager on players like Aubameyang, Mohammed Salah, and Sadio Mane.
Boxing is another sport Nigerians like to bet on. Recently, the match between Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jr. where the former won back his heavyweight boxing title, gathered millions of viewers and bets across the country. Anthony gathered a large number of bets because of his popularity and Nigerian roots.
Although these reasons don't impact the ever-increasing number of sports betting and mobile usage, they help. This can be implied because even if these athletes were not in the picture, one can still expect the number of online mobile bettors would keep rising within Nigeria's huge population of over 190 million people.
As reported by a source "The widespread use of mobile phones in Nigeria has been a positive game-changer for the sports betting business. Every day, it gets easier to pay, play, and win or lose. The billion-dollar sports betting industry is growing astronomically with Nigerian football culture."
Impact of Sports Betting in Nigeria
The popularity of sports betting in Nigeria comes with its benefits. For one, bookmakers willing to operate in Nigeria are obliged to pay tax on their winnings, which in turn increases the government's tax revenue. These business ventures also employ Nigerian citizens and contribute to the overall economic growth of the country. These points are passionately promoted by the support of sports betting business activity.
On the other hand, there is always the risk of triggering unhealthy gambling habits, addictions, and also a negative impact on bettors' finances. These are the views of those concerned about the growth of the Nigerian betting market. However, there are regulations and some cases of successful law implementation to maximize the gains and curb the risks that have been practiced in other countries. These can be adopted by the Nigerian betting regulatory bodies.
The year 2021 will be an important year to observe how things play out in the gambling industry as more sports betting brands look to penetrate the Nigerian market. Local betting sites will try to leverage their knowledge of our culture to gain an edge over foreign brands. This could mean retaining physical betting shops, which are still quite popular in the country.