By Babajide Awoyinfa
The early exit of football teams of the supposedly heavy-weight countries at the just concluded world biggest football fiesta tagged “Russia 2018 ‘’, which ended on July 15, resorted into joys to the betting companies.
It, however, brought agonies to several of those who staked with the betting companies in Lagos for possible claims or dividends, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
Many of such clients have continued to count their losses following the defeat suffered by their preferred teams by their opponents.
Sports betting has now become a booming business in the country for people to make ends meet and sequel to the fact that most of those who indulge in betting have special interests in football in particular.
Many Nigerians that include: students, adults and upwardly mobile men and women have dominated the customers of the various betting companies and, especially, sports betting.
The fast pace at which new betting companies with special bias for sports are emerging is alarming and welcoming.
Some of the betting companies include :Nairabet (the first online sports betting website in Nigeria), Supabets Promotion, Winnersbet, Betland, Surebet247, Merry Bet, NairaStake, GoldenBet, Betcolony, Bet2win, Bet365naija, Bet9ja, 1960bet, 360bet, 9jaPredict, Winners Golden Bet, Lionsbet.
After the grand finale of the Russia 2018 where Croatia lost to France, a customer who had staked N50, 000 before the match thinking that Croatia would emerge the overall winner wept uncontrollably when he realized that his fortunes had gone into the drain pipes.
It took the efforts of other fans there to console him and reminded him that participating in the Olympics is not always meant one to win
After he had regained his composure, he told other fans that he staked such a huge amount on the team because of its sterling performances right from the group stage up to the semi-final.
“With what happened now, I have learnt my lessons that truly, anything can happen in the game of football,’’ he said.
Also, another customer, Jamiu Ojo, who staked N20,000 with his belief that Germany would beat South Korea to advance to the next stage of the world cup went wild when the outcome of the match did not favour him.
He told NAN that he had recorded more losses than he had won. “I will keep betting because I hope that one day I will hit the jackpot.’’
He said that like most people, he used to have the impression that betting was an avenue for people to make quick and easy cash.
“To tell you the truth, it is not easy to make money from betting. Beating the bookmakers is not an easy task.
“They trick you with good odds, but in the end, only a handful people win.
“Betting most times requires lots of research and luck, “he said.
Another staker who simply identified himself as Punmba as his betting identity said, “This World Cup prediction has turned to be a shocker.’’ Punmba told NAN that he lost close to N200,000 to betting during the fiesta.
“To be honest, I was expecting to make a lot of money during the World Cup because I assumed that there would be high chances of the stronger teams defeating the smaller ones.
“ However, the underdogs at this World Cup have proved to be up to the task of defeating the supposedly stronger ones, and this has caused a major upset for me this time around, “he said.
A report by www.nairaland.com, an online website, stated that “60 million Nigerians between 18 years and 40 years of age spend more than N1 billion daily on sports betting”.
The report also revealed that “a betting company can generate up to N20 million monthly and use between N5 million and N7 million to meet winners’ obligation in terms of payment”.
Kunle Olawale, an agent with a betting company, and manages a centre in Okota area of Lagos State told NAN that he wished he had enough capital to start his own betting company.
“These companies make a lot of money. We send loads of cash to their headquarters after the end of each day’s transactions’’.
Olawale said that the emergence of the betting outfits had increased and boosted business for operators of viewing centres across the nation.
Also, Adeyinka Samson, the General Manager of SureBet247, explained why the betting business had been expanding so fast during in a press conference.
“I think that first and foremost, this country has been receptive of the benefits that technology can afford us.
“Like we all know, betting has been in existence in advanced countries for many years and we are also trying to emulate what is happening in the other parts of the world. “he said.
Just as the business has its negative side, so also its positive side.
Prof. Godwin Ighalo of the Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma in Edo, won over N58 million with just a N800 total bet on 1960BET in 2015.
Ighalo of the Department Computer Engineering at the University won N58, 945,553, after placing bets with N800 in 1960Bet.
It had been adjudged as the biggest sum ever won in the history of sports betting in the country.
He was said to have accomplished the feat after placing bets on two different bet slips of N500 and N300.
Ighalo speaking then on how he was able to achieve the feat said, “Since my childhood days, I used to have strong interests in probability, relationships and special intelligence. All these with adequate sports betting research I conducted over the years, helped in making it possible.” –
The don was quoted as saying that he had been placing bets for no less than 25 years and had the faith that one day luck would shine on him.