There has been an astronomical rise in the number of sports betting platforms in recent years. This has created easy access to betting, also giving more people the incentive to indulge in it.
A report by the New Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reveals that:
- More than 60 million Nigerians engage in sports betting; and
- About 2 billion naira is spent daily on sports betting.
That was in 2014. You expect those numbers to have multiplied by now.
Most Nigerians are adept football fans, who follow European football matches week after week, and it is mostly on these games that they stake their money.
Between football matches, you’ll most likely see adverts for different betting agencies, reminding viewers of the many options they have. The unending list includes big names like Nairabet, Bet9ja, Betway, 1960bet, Merrybet and many others.
The internet is littered with adverts these days, and you’re always likely to stumble upon betting ads. When you step out, you’ll see the billboards everywhere. Also, there is an abundance of physical shops to lure you in whenever you’re without your phone or out of internet data.
But the effects of sports betting on a nation like Nigeria can not be overemphasized. These are some of the dangers of betting on the Nigerian society:
- Addiction: Sports betting can be very thrilling, and is easily addictive. This is evident in the amount staked daily—an amount that is in sharp contrast with the poverty situation in the nation. There are several individuals who’d do anything just to place a bet every other week. This habit is not dissimilar to the compulsive consumption of alcohol and other addictive substances.
- Get-Rich-Quick Mentality: People are originally drawn into sports betting by the idea of winning a jackpot. There are sparse incidences you hear of someone making a big win, and this usually motivates others to pursue similar objective. So, the idea of getting rich quickly has become more or less a principle for so many people.
- Lack of Productivity: This point follows the previous one. There’s a lot of time and money invested into betting. The number of youths devoted to sports betting—coupled with the daily amounts spent on staking—is testament to this. The only caveat is this: betting is not a productive investment—not for those who do the betting, and definitely not for the society at large.
- Misplaced Focus: With the high rate of unemployment, you can understand why so many people embrace the pipe dream of sports betting. For these people, the idea of making quick money from betting has replaced the thought of gaining or creating employment. Consider this: if the time spent on betting sites were spent on LinkedIn and other professional platforms, we’ll make greater strides towards reducing unemployment rate. Likewise, if we spent our money more resourcefully, there’d be a better chance of making wealth.
The list could actually go on. For example, there’s the possibility of developing anxiety disorders when placing big bets. There is also the danger of crime and violence when people find themselves in tight situations resulting from betting activities.
It is true that the betting industry has provided employment for some, and it has been a revenue source for the government. Nevertheless, the downsides far outweigh the positives. And, while it would be impractical (and unnecessary) to call for a total ban on sports betting, it is necessary to curb the rising appetite for it.