Soccer-crazy Nigeria is home to a booming online sports betting industry – Potential reasons

Thanks to the constantly evolving systems of accepting online payments by the current tech firms, online sports betting is gaining huge momentum in soccer-crazy Nigeria and overall online businesses are becoming more viable. Unlike countries like Kenya where M-Pesa money transfers gave birth to an entire culture of cashless transactions, mobile payments couldn’t take off for a very long time in Nigeria. Lagging internet speed and fear of online fraud kept the Nigerian sports-lovers from engaging in online betting. However, now fast and instant online payments have changed the attitudes of bettors towards online payments. 

Nigeria is home to a booming online sports betting industry

Going by the numbers…

The sudden rise in the online betting sites in Nigeria has been attributed to better internet speeds and heightened access to the online world. In fact, it isn’t only the betting industry that has witnessed this upswing but the online jobs have also been on the rise. The gambling companies in Nigeria are all adapting their physical presence to the internet scene giving birth to several popular betting sites. According to recent studies, there is an entire young population that is eagerly waiting to embrace the world of technology. Moreover increased penetration of internet and mobile is forming a base for the burgeoning online betting industry. 

Nevertheless it is tough to quantify the scope and overall growth of this industry. The News Agency of Nigeria, in 2014, predicted that Nigerians spent an amount of 1.9 billion Naira everyday on sports betting and there are few industry analysts who suggest that this figure might even be around 5 billion Naira. Meanwhile, according to a report of PwC in the year 2016, experts estimated that the online betting industry would grow at a yearly rate of 18% every year and reach $150 million in 2019. In fact, the trend is clear and it has been reported that the sports betting industry of Nigeria will outshine that of South Africa and Kenya. Hence, it won’t be surprising when we say that Nigeria can have up to 190 million people with 90 million internet users. 

The spread of mobile phones among the young

It goes without mentioning that the Nigerian online betting industry has spread its wings to the increasing number of internet-inclined youth. The youth reportedly said that knowing there are many options on their laptop and phone have kept them going back for more. There are increasing number of betting sites and review sites like itopbetting in Nigeria that offer an array of information about sports betting. The betting operators have joined hands with telecom companies to facilitate their services for smartphone users. This strategy is in perfect line with a shift towards banking services to clients who still don’t have stable internet connectivity. 

The future of sports betting industry seems to be filled with lots of mergers and acquisitions. Both the LSLB and the NLRC have issued more than 100 licenses to sports betting sites and hence the Nigerian market is going to be filled with small players. This will make the betting industry of Nigeria one of the rapidly growing aspects of their economy.  


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