Sports’ Betting: Two sides of a coin

Sports’ Betting is becoming much of a national sport as sports themselves and it is legal in all parts of the country. [Bet9ja]

As reported in 2014, around 60 million Nigerians were estimated to be placing sports bets per day around the country.

Gambling in Nigeria is regulated by the National Lottery Regulatory Commission; lottery is legalised with the National Lottery Act 2005 and gambling is defined by Chapter 22 of the Criminal Code Act enacted in 1990.

The law splits the games into two categories: The legal and illegal games. The legal games are lottery, land-based casino and sports betting.

However, roulette, dice games and non-skilled card games are illegal.

Football is one of the most widely followed sports in the country with fans lining up to watch games both for local games in person, and on television stations in the European leagues.

Nigeria in particular has one of the largest followings of European football clubs in the world and fans are fierce about supporting their teams, even though that team may be miles away.

In the same manner, sports’ betting in Nigeria has influenced a good number of the youth as they either play online or in gambling houses; but it has negative and positive impacts on Nigerian youths.

A youth, Chigozie Onwu said: “Well, sports’ betting in spite the fact that some perceive it as a bad omen has actually done lots of good to Nigerian youths.

“It has provided jobs to millions of Nigerian youths, something the government has constantly fallen short of.

“There are more than a million betting shops in Nigeria with average of four or six young Nigerians working in them.

“A simple calculation will reveal to you the millions of youths today are somewhat employed because of sports’ betting.

“Again, there is benefit of placing a stake of as little as N100 and some online platforms accept as little as N50 to win millions of naira.

“Some people, instead of spending that little sum on hard drugs or other frivolities, will rather choose to invest on their lucks hoping to hit big with these little money.

“People now rather spend more times in the betting shops nowadays than roaming around the streets and indulging in some vices such as petty stealing and pick-pocketing.

“When they hear that someone has won millions of naira, they want to win too; we should also not forget the fact that sports’ betting has changed the lives of several youths for good.

“Many times, people have won millions of naira with a stake of just N100; some of these people never dream of hitting such amount of money’’.

Another sports’ betting enthusiast, Godwin Okenna, nonetheless, says in spite of the advantages betting poses, “one can’t rely on betting as means of survival.

“While it has a positive impact in the lives of some, same can’t be said of others; personally, I see betting as a thing of luck.

“Something not to be taken seriously, something not to be seen as a means of investment’’.

In his view, Francis Eleojo, a critic of betting, describes betting as addiction and a tool for lazy youths who believe they can become rich suddenly.

“The youth have become lazy to a nauseating height; most of them in sports’ betting feel with N100, they can become instant by staking with hopes of a hit.

“Like every bad habit, sports’ betting has gradually become an addiction, most people that indulge might not realise it but it’s true.

“They have become glued to betting that hardly a day goes by without them playing and it has become so bad that their thoughts are constantly on betting’’.

Sports’ enthusiasts observe that sports’ betting has impacted either positively or negatively on Nigerian youths.

Some of them note that although watching sports is fun, the excitement and rush can be increased when money is involved.

Perceptive observers, however, note that chances of winning in sports’ betting are lower than that of losing.

They observe further that the betting companies regard sports’ betting as a business while youths sees it as a game.

According to them, the negative effects of sports’ betting is not good on the society as it makes the youth to be lazy, always relying on betting.(NANFeatures)

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