5 Things You May Not Know About The Sports Betting Industry In Nigeria
Telema Davies and Tonte Davies
It’s not every time you easily come across intricate and insightful information about a business industry. At the least, you either do the research yourself which is really be dreary and time-consuming. On the other hand, you can refer to industry journals, media or in some cases, business summits/conferences.
The sports betting industry in Nigeria is no different when it comes to widening your knowledge base. In fact, put aside your bias – for the morally sensitive lot – against betting and you’ll be amazed at what you think you know but in real sense, you didn’t. At the Sports Betting West Africa 2015 summit held last week, there are key facts relevant as take home lessons.
1. “GAMBLING is business”
Not many will agree that it is – of course. Truth is, if it isn’t a business, why are there regulatory agencies and laws (Lagos State Lotteries Law 2004 and National Lottery Act 2005) to back them up?
You cannot argue against the existence of the Lagos State Lotteries Board (LSLB) let alone, the National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC). Without such agencies, can you really have an industry?
2. WHAT share does Nigeria have in global betting’s $1 trillion market?
Thanks to globalisation and its accompanying instruments like the internet, Nigeria’s betting industry can be of value to the global market.
For a gaming industry currently estimated within range of ₦80 - 100 billion ($500 million approx.), sports betting is ascribed to have a “large chunk” of this market estimate.
Perhaps not coincidental is that financial advisory firm PricewaterhouseCoopers projects “a growing and increasingly well-off population” who will “contribute to a rise in sports betting revenues” by 2018.
3. CALL me, punter
Like other distinct industries, sports betting has its peculiar jargons. Terms such as ‘handicap’, ‘odds’, ‘bettor’ or ‘punter’, are amongst the common terminologies you hear when in the circle. This piece won’t exhaustively explain what these terms mean; but if interested, you can walk into a betting office for more details.
4. BETTING does not make you irresponsible
Of course you must have heard how irresponsible you can be perceived if discovered you bet. You may have equally thought of yourself in such light also [as being irresponsible]. In any case, such [self-] perception are today left for the repository of history books.
Oluwafunmilayo Iyanda, a legal expert at Hermon Law, Lagos, recalls the perception attached to being a bettor while growing up. “When I was growing up, they say that ‘won ta tete’ [meaning ‘they’re gambling’ in Yoruba parlance],” Ms. Iyanda said. “Everyone looks at you as being irresponsible,” she states further.
With the facts and figures laid bare, Yudi Soetjiptadi, director, Betting and iGaming (BiG) Africa Summit, differs with the view that bettors are irresponsible. He opines the challenge is more of addiction and not the intent to play a bet. “Gambling is not the problem; addiction is the problem,” Soetjiptadi said.
Ms. Iyanda again, is categorical in enunciating that the perception against betting is gradually changing given its rising profile as a vista for business opportunities. “[But now] people are beginning to appreciate it [sports betting] as a business,” Oluwafunmilayo said, pointing out the interest of foreign investors into the Nigerian market.
5. All for a GOOD CAUSE
Every established betting operator is required by law to make a “statutory payment of 20%” of their proceeds transferred into an account known as National Lottery Trust Fund. This “statutory payment” is also referred to as “good cause”.
This “good cause” programme is used to aid development of educational facilities across Nigeria, and support of sports athletes in the country.
Photo credit: National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC)
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