Why Does Sports Betting Have Such a Strong Pull? 8 Nigerians Answer

October 27, 2022

Growing up, I had this wild idea that bet shops were like social clubs for men — think school JETS club type— because no day would pass without my finding a crowd of sweaty men throwing terms like “over 1.5” as if they were trying to solve a math problem.

Obviously, now I know what sports betting is, and that it isn’t limited to a particular gender. I also know it can be a problem. A documentary on sports betting recently started an online conversation, and I just had to ask: why does it have such a strong pull on Nigerians?

I spoke to eight sports betting lovers, and here’s what they had to say.

“I have nothing to lose”

— Dare, 32. Male

I work in a school and only earn about ₦18k monthly. My salary never lasts a week, especially with a wife and two kids at home. It’s better for me to set out like ₦5k to bet because even if I don’t, the money will still finish. At least with betting, I have hope of multiplying my money. I sometimes lose, but I sometimes win the odd ₦10k.

“I can get lucky at any time”

— Kola, 30. Male

No one knows what’ll happen tomorrow. Even if I lose ₦10,000 today, I know it’s very possible for me to win ₦100,000 tomorrow — which will even cover what I previously lost, so I just keep trying. Who knows when my luck will shine?

“I do it for fun”

— Ope, 27. Male

It’s a way for me to relax after a hard day. My favourite hangout spot is a bar with a betting shop close by, and it’s normal for us guys to talk about games and place bets. Sometimes I get carried away and bet more than wisdom allows, but it’s like a bonding thing with my guys.

“It’s just something you do”

— Wumi, 23. Female

Almost everyone I know plays Baba Ijebu. What else is there to do when you struggle to make ₦1k last a whole week? At least, if you remove ₦150 to play a game, or even the lotto game we call “two sure”, there’s hope you can make more. Even if you lose, it’s just a part of life. I’m not sure I can stop.

“I usually have a good chance at winning”

— Sunday, 29. Male

I spend a minimum of ₦15k every week on sports betting. I’m a good football game analyst, so I started as a way of putting my predictions to good use. I used to win a lot in the beginning, but now the thrill has taken over and made me lose more. I think it’s also because I hardly think it through these days. But when I focus more, I usually have a good chance of winning.

“I’m not sure why I do it, honestly”

— Joe, 31. Male

I typically play virtual games, and if I’m being honest, I’ve lost far more than I’ve ever made. I’ve been betting for six years, and the most I’ve made at once was about ₦80,000. The money finished the same day I won it because of previous debts and the compulsory drinking with friends to celebrate.

I don’t know why I bet, honestly. I just know that any day I don’t visit the betting shop doesn’t feel complete.


RELATED: The #NairaLife of a Gambling Addiction


“The search for a big win never ends”

— Nonso, 28. Male

I know betting is bad for you, but for me, the search for a “big win” never ends. Imagine booking live matches, and only one game spoils the ticket. You never stop thinking about how close you were to winning something huge. The only big win I’ve ever had was in 2019 when I won ₦120k. I’ve seen people win ₦500k, even ₦1 million. It can be me one day, so I keep playing.

“I love the thrill of it”

— Peter, 22. Male

Every bet I place increases my excitement level because you can never tell the one that’ll change your life forever. And with how things are in Nigeria, one will just die of depression if you don’t do things that get you excited.

Of course, losing money doesn’t excite you, but I try to reduce my loss by not being too greedy. Some people will place bets up to 20 times at a go, hoping to recover the money lost. But if I play and lose like seven times at a shot, I give up and try the next day. I’m not sure how much I bet monthly because it really depends on how the games look.


*Responses have been slightly edited for clarity.


ALSO READ: “I Was Asked to Pay ₦450k for a ₦55k Job” — 5 Nigerians on Job Racketeering

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this

November 25, 2019

What’s the first experience in your life that made you realise ah, money sweet o?  That would be JSS1 in 2004. I went to a boarding school and it was my first time away from the safety of home. My pocket money for the term was ₦200, and I had classmates who had ₦1,000 for […]

August 10, 2021

There are some statements that only make sense to Nigerians, you’d think that would make someone finally make a Nigerian dictionary but no. Here are 8 of those statements. 1. Upstanding How? How will someone be upstanding? If you are up, you are standing. Choose one. Nigerian pastors love to use this word a lot […]

Watch

Now on Zikoko

December 1, 2022

On November 30, 2022, the Federal Government absolved itself of total blame concerning poverty in Nigeria. The Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Clement Agba, shifted some of the blame to governors of the 36 states. The minister said the governors should stop spending borrowed money on unnecessary projects and spend on projects […]

Recommended Quizzes

November 7, 2019

These days, everyone is always talking about how much sex they’re getting, or how little sex they’re getting, or how disgusting sex is etc. There’s just so much talk about sex, it’s almost impossible to know who’s lying and who’s telling the truth. In anticipation of our new series about the sex lives of young […]

how tall are you
March 11, 2020

Did your parents give you enough beans when you were growing up? If they did, then you’re probably around 6’0″ and above. Either way, we created a quiz that can guess your current height (pretty accurately, if we do say so ourselves). Take to see if we nailed it:

October 30, 2019

Kemi Adetiba’s King of Boys movie got a lot of things right, especially casting, so yes, it was a monster hit. Now, we know you may not have put much thought to this, but the personalities of some of the characters closely match yours, and we would like to help you find the perfect match. […]

More from Hustle

Watch

Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

September 13, 2022
Vs The World is a Zikoko original video series that follows best friends Astor and Hassan as they take on the world.
August 23, 2022
Zikoko Ships is a Zikoko Original series where we invite two people who share a relationship to play the Zikoko card games
December 14, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
November 2, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
October 26, 2020
A collection of videos documenting some of the events of the EndSARS protests.
June 22, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
June 22, 2020
Hacked is an interesting new series by Zikoko made up of fictional but hilarious chat conversations.
June 4, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.
X