How betting, now $70b business evolves into Nigeria’s body economy

*Once stigmatized, now toast of the masses

*How it yields prosperity as much as adversity

*Bet9ja tipped as the best

WorldStage Newsonline– Despite the tough economic climate in Nigeria with fuel scarcity, naira crisis, poor power supply among others, many more people are waking up with smile on their faces and hope for a lucky day.

Nigerians are living their own share of betting business which a report said now worth $70 billion, making it the fastest growing industry in the country.

It’s a new dawn, brighter day and most importantly, a lucky day.  It could be 1X2 bets with 1 as a home win, X for draw and 2 the away win.

That is the language and mindset in a world of betting!

Betting which is completely legal in Nigeria and regulated by the National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC), is a game of chance or gamble that comes by different methods and names. It is described as an act of risking money and other forms of properties on the unknown result of an event.

Generally, it involves pool betting, lotteries, raffle draws, snooker, sports gaming, card games, board games and casinos. However, the most prevalent types in Nigeria today are sports betting, lottery, card games, board games, casino betting and virtual games.

But among them all, sports’ betting seems to be the most popular. Sports’ betting has increasingly grown in popularity mainly due to the pervasive football culture among Nigerian youths. Some of the European’s most popular leagues, such as the English Premier League (EPL), Italy’s Seria A, France Ligue 1, Spain’s La Liga etc have millions of fans, and betting activities from these sports allow Nigerians to profit from what they enjoy.

In the 1960s up to the early this millennium, one sure way to incur the disrespect of the Nigerian public, particularly in the south-west axis was to engage in the play of betting popularly known then as pool.

Not only were the players disrespected, they were also considered misfits and the dregs of the society. They were railed at, mocked and treated to distant relationships. But how the practice so demeaned and scorned is now an attraction to the general populace, including the enlightened, graduates and the poor masses alike is still a development begging for clue of understanding.

However, from WorldStage’s findings, a combination of socio-economic and recreational factors has been adduced by those who spoke on the betting evolution. While some people identified attachment to it by graduates yet to secure jobs but make sizable earnings from playing it, some others attributed it to impact of love of Nigerian youths for foreign popular soccer clubs.

According to Messrs Mustapha and Enilolobo, both of whom are researchers and analysts, betting is a source of income that helps improve the welfare of unemployed youths in Africa, and Nigeria in particular.

Corroborating the socio-economic impact on the rise of betting among the youths, a report from Nairametrics said that the betting industry keeps thriving because there’s a population for it, including the high rate of unemployment which has made many youths resort to quick ways of making money.

The Minister of Special Duties, Senator George Akume also alluded to it previously during the unveiling of the National Lottery Nigeria when he said: “The most important benefit of the national game is that it translates to significant employment opportunities in line with President Muhammadu Buhari`s directives to all MDAs to initiate programmes that generate employment to our teeming youths.”

“To some extent,” another report stated, “the necessity for additional money in the face of the recent economic downturn, which has left a number of young people unemployed or underemployed, has boosted the number of people who participate in gaming, particularly sports betting and lotteries.

“As a result, gaming has evolved as a result of Nigerians’ love of sports and the ease with which they may bet money on what they enjoy. The majority of bets are placed in bet shops, according to a 2015 publication on football betting in Nigeria. However, an increasing number of customers are placing bets online.”

There’s also the claim of addiction and the lure of easy fortune it many a time gives players.


Mr. Wole Agboola, an operator of a sports betting outlet in Jankara area of Lagos who spoke to WorldStage on how it is played said it’s all about predicting results of soccer matches of the European clubs. He added that the minimum amount to stake as bet is N150, whether it’s real, virtual or Zoom game.

According to him, sporting game involves predicting football matches of the English Premier League, La Liga, Seria A, Ligue1, Bundesliga and other first-rate European soccer leagues.

He narrated the process of the betting game as: “The virtual game is programmed in form of animation playing football for 5 minutes, assumed for 90 minutes which is the standard real life football matches’ time. You predict which animation football clubs wins and lose and you get your prize after 5 minutes the game ended while the live matches win or lose is after 90 minutes.

“In other words, virtual game is staking while a live match is about to go on or showing at the moment, predicting which football club wins and which loses. We have bookings also which is the accumulation of more games. For example, if one wants to play multiple of different games, Say 10, 20 or more, when its picked on the system to bet , the system will give a 7 digit code, the person who stakes will call the 7 digit to the cashier in the outlet, the cashier will type the 7 digit on his/her system to show the different games the he/she picked and will be asked how much he/she is willing to stake on the game with minimum of N150.

“He/she will be handed a ticket he/she can come with to confirm all games on the days it’s played. If along the line about eight games have been played from the ones staked and if they go successfully, for example, if a customer stakes 10 games booked to win N50,000 and eight of the games were successful but which is worth not more than N10,000, he will be asked If he is ok with the N10,000 to cash out and forget the remaining two games or he wants to be patient till the results of the last two games are out. If the last two games go wrong, with that decision, he loses all the money.”

Mr. Agboola also disclosed that there are premium betting, that is, ones that come with huge prizes, among which he identified staking by predicting score line rather than the side to win in a match.

“That form of staking is referred to as ‘correct score.’ For example, the person that stakes can predict that Chelsea will beat Arsenal 2—0. If the game ends as he predicted, he wins higher prize than person who predicted which team wins a match. But if the game ends in 1-0 score line, he loses his bet, regardless that the team still wins,” he explained further.

Sports betting is not all about predicting soccer team to win a match or score line to achieve, there’s another form of it that come in animation of animals racing. This type of betting according to Miss Faridah Olagbenro, a Bet9ja betting agent operating at a shop location in Ijaye, Lagos, is a sport game of dog racing popularly referred to as ‘aja n sare owo n jono’ (money is being lost as dogs are racing).

Olagbenro said the sport game is of two types- the booking sport game where customers predict scores of sport games that would be played for the rest of the week and the virtual games which involve predicting live match scores at the moment of watching.

She explained that result is reviewed immediately after the match same day. “The minimum fee to stake in both games is N100 to win N500 and more. It has potential winning and correct scores winning chances depending on odd games,” she added.

There’s another type of betting called Baba Ijebu which according to Mr. Hafeez Abiodun, an agent of the outlet, operates by predicting numbers in the order likely to be out from a card that is given to player at the Baba Ijebu centre.

He said with N50 Too Sure bet a player is likely to win N12, 000 and N24, 000 with a bet of N100 if he wins the lucky numbers. He explained that players predict games through dreams, madman suggestion, assumptions or by numbers inscribed on the walls.

John Ikechukwu, another Baba Ijebu outlet operator, says the game is played with any amount of money as little as N50. The game, he explains further, comprises of Too Sure, Perming and Three Numbers.

“The too sure game is predicting two digit numbers from 10-90 and if staked with, for instance, N10,000 it’s likely to win N2.4 million. In Perming players get their money back if they lose the game. If N50 is staked for five predicted numbers and two numbers win, the player gets N1,000 but if permed with N50 each, one is likely to win N2,000. The 3 game involves predicting three numbers from 1-90.


Mrs. Kemi, an agent with Baba Ijebu betting outlet in Iyana Ipaja, Lagos who compared the betting platforms said that while it takes seven days to review win or loss of what is staked on Baba Ijebu platform, it takes longer time withBet9ja and that players can book for another year’s games for which they may not get their tickets in six months.

She added that for Bet9ja any win will blink on their system to tell that a player has won but that it isn’t so with Baba Ijebu which uses serial number indicate win or loss.

For Mr. Wole Agboola also, Bet9ja is the leading bet company in the country at the moment. He cited reasons for its leadership as including having more betting products and one that guarantees higher commission on sales.

Some of the products of Bet9ja, according to Agboola, are virtual games, Zoom game, Instant Bet, Lucky Numbers, Sport9ija Horse Race, Dog Race, Dice, Cards and many others. “It can’t be compared with other betting platforms such as Sporty Bet, Baba Ijebu and so on,” he boasted.

The game consists in correctly predicting the score of all 6 games each round. To take part and have a chance to win the jackpot or any of the weekly prizes, you must register your details at, login and submit your entry before the Competition closes (Start of the first game) each round.

The biggest winner in the bet9ja platform so far was said to be a 17-year-old kid who became rich by winning N43 million. He was said to have placed a bet based on statistics and previous games.

Agboola said that in terms of customer and capital base, Bet9ja is the best betting company in the country. He also said: “What most people know the Baba Ijebu betting platform for is to play with N50, N100 etc depending on what players can afford while Bet9ja is known for not needing to have deep knowledge about it before you can participate in it which is not so with other betting platform.

“Those that designed Bet9ja didn’t sell the company to anyone, if one is conversant with the Bet9ja virtual game, you will discover that only Bet9ja stands out among other betting platform. More so in terms of odds, fast pay you just need to give it to bet9ja

“As an agent of Bet9ja I get commission on sales, and the higher the sales the higher the commission. Commission is paid weekly on every Tuesday.”

He however listed major challenges he faces in Bet9ja business as irregular electricity, debts from customers and occasional poor subscription.

WorldStage also gathered from Mr. Adebola Faloju that Bet9ja betting platform is one of the first betting website licensed by the sporting companies. “Some people call it investment scheme where you stake money and you pick teams. It’s mostly played by football lovers and it’s mainly among the youths only few oldies play it,” he added.

Faloju also said Bet9ja had the most outlets in Nigeria when compared to other betting platforms because it was established ahead of others.

Mr Isinwa Chigozie also corroborated the claim that Bet9ja is ahead of other betting firms in the country. He said Bet9ja as a betting company is a well recognized in Nigeria and among the first betting platforms that ever emerged.  He explained that with Bet9ja the process of betting is smooth and convenient for customers.


Speaking on what and how agents of betting platforms make earnings, Mr. Wole Agboola said: “We always get our commission on Tuesdays from the company itself while it ends on Mondays. In this business the number of customers determine the amount of commission we get. If you have people staking high you get a good commission. Therefore, the higher the more the customesr, the higher the commission

Mr. Hafeez Abiodun disclosed that commission paid Baba Ijebu’s agents is not laid down as it depends on the amount won and what individual winner is willing to spare from his win.

Miss Faridah Olagbenro doesn’t know how her boss gets his commission but pays her any amount he deems fit when a customer wins. She disclosed however that she used to make a cut of N50 or N100 from daily wins without the knowledge of her boss. She admitted that the business is both profitable and risky, with the possibility of ending up in debt if operator isn’t careful.

Mr. John Ikechukwu said he gets commission only from what customer stakes with and what they give willingly from their wins


It’s commonly said that there is both the good and bad sides to everything in life. So it is with betting given the flurry of criticisms some people have mounted against it.

According to a report, there are at least 20 lottery operators in the business said to be worth $70 billion in Nigeria, a situation which seemingly makes it the fastest growing industry in the country.

The report also stated that the business of lottery has gained grounds in the country within the last 10 years and that it is so lucrative that, in Lagos State, the biggest market in the country, both the federal and state government are at each other ’ s throat over the control of it.

In a presentation by a representative of People Empowerment Lotto, Mr. Oni Johnson, described the lottery industry as one of the most lucrative on earth, noting that it is a major source of wealth distribution.

“Lottery is said to worth $70billion and it is no longer news that in 2016, it was estimated that Nigerians spent an average of N154 billion on betting with 7.5 million lotteries, and 22 million sports betting players in the country,” he noted.

In a report by a media practioner, Mr. Segun James, he stated that though gambling might sound like fun, it could become a serious problem if one got addicted to it. Gambling addicts are known to lose lots of money and have been known to experience anxiety and other health- related problems, he added.

He quoted a psychologist, Alhaji Adekunle Akangbe as saying that the rising level of underage gambling had to do with the fact that some parents gambled in the presence of their children without realizing the implication of their activities on the child.

While imploring parents on the need to understand and talk to their wards about the implications of gambling, Akangbe was reported to have said “the truth remains that almost all the children under the age of 17 years have seen adverts for gambling on TV, on billboards and have heard it on Radio too.”

This, he lamented is the dangerous route the nation is heading.

In Nigeria today, it is estimated that over 500,000 children between the ages of 11 and 17 out the almost 10,000,000 people gambling in the country, gamble regularly. Of them, over 100,000 are believed to have a gambling problem.

*Contribution by Bernice Nicholas, Edited by Segun Otokiti.