Gambling is looked at with disdain by most religious groups in Nigeria, yet the embrace of sport betting has been phenomenal over few years
It’s a great irony really; those involved in casino and sports betting are discriminated against by the larger society, yet the growth rate of the gaming industry has been astronomical.
In an interview, Yahaya Maikori, the president of the Nigeria Gaming Association (NGA), speaks on the success and challenges of the industry here in Nigeria. Excerpt.
Betting is becoming very popular in Nigeria with the likes of Naira Bet, 1960 Bet, 9ja bet amongst others. What is fueling this revolution as far sports betting is concerned in Nigeria?
Yes. It may seem revolutionary but it is not entirely a new thing. It started with pools betting which has been around even from when we were children. However the revolution you talk about is now fueled by several things which include access to media, technology and the internet, which have now brought sports even to our mobile phones. Also, the emergence of big brands like the English Premier League, the German Bundesliga, etc.
Some of these companies worth hundreds of millions of dollars have in the process of building their brands embarked on some form of evangelization attracting massive followership across the globe. The passion sports evoke has contributed immensely to the popularity of sports betting.
Sports betting mean staking money on the possible outcome of a sporting event, with the expectation to win jackpot in return. Since Nigerians are sports loving people, getting people from just enjoying a game to staking cash on what they are passionate about is really easy.
Tell our readers what they might not know about the Nigeria Gaming Association (NGA).
The association started about five years ago when we started having issues with some of the government regulatory bodies. First we started as Association of Casino Operators of Nigeria (ACON), and as time went on, we started to notice the growth of other areas like sports betting, online, etc.
So, we decided to broaden the association to cover the whole gaming industry. Currently, our trustees represent different sectors of the industry. The idea is to create a platform for the advancement of our common interest as well as liaise with relevant institutions particularly government to build an economically viable industry for all stakeholders.
The manner in which you talk about ‘gaming industry’ suggests to me that we have an industry here in Nigeria. In actual sense, do we really have gaming industry yet?
Oh we have a very big gaming industry, probably bigger than what you imagine. In an interview some time back I stated that sports betting were a N40 billion industry annually. But with the information currently available to me now, I know sport betting in Nigeria is much bigger than that and that is only one side of the story. We have casino, we have lottery, promos, poker, video games and apps, etc.
Also Read: 7 Steps to Setting up a Sports Betting Business in Nigeria - Start Making Millions of Naira Weekly