As Nigeria grapples with skyrocketing inflation and increasing living costs, an alarming number of its citizens are turning to sports betting and loans to bridge the widening gap between their incomes and expenses, according to Ratecaptain findings.
Emeka Obi, a storekeeper in Ikeja, narrates how his income can no longer cover his basic needs, with rent and the cost of living doubling in recent months. Faced with this financial strain, he decided to explore an additional income source through sports betting. “I see my friends making good money from sports betting, and I often help them make predictions,” he says. “I needed another source of income, so I thought, why not try sports betting? Since then, I’ve been able to support my family from the proceeds I earn.”
Nigeria’s headline inflation reached an 18-year high of 26.72 percent in September 2023, hitting food prices particularly hard. This has exacerbated the country’s multidimensional poverty crisis, impacting 63 percent of the population, equivalent to 133 million individuals. As more Nigerians slip into poverty, there has been a surge in demand for sports betting services, with the number of betting companies in the country steadily increasing.
Some of the popular sports betting platforms in Nigeria include Msport, 1xbet, Naijabet, Nairabet, Betway, Bet9ja, Sportybet, Lionsbet, Merrybet, Surebet247, Betfarm, Betland, 1960bet, Betking, and 9japredict. A 42-year-old man named Bolaji points out, “Betting is the only means people like us have to raise some cash for immediate needs without resorting to illegal activities.”
The rising costs of goods and services have prompted many Nigerians to explore sports betting as a means of supplementing their incomes. For some, it has become the lifeline for their families. A recent study by NOI Polls reveals that Nigerians spend over N730 billion annually on sports betting, with a daily generation of at least N2 billion. The data also indicates that over 60 million Nigerian bettors spend over N3,000 daily on stakes. The prevalence of sports betting in Nigeria can be attributed to the nation’s love for football, with a majority of the betting activities taking place online.
Simultaneously, the surge in online sports betting is contributing to the global gaming industry’s growth, which is projected to be worth $93 billion by 2023. The annual gross gaming yield, which represents the net revenue for gaming facilities, is estimated to exceed $400 billion.
In addition to the rise in sports betting, many Nigerians are seeking loans to cope with the escalating cost of living. Ayo Adetimehin, a 32-year-old teacher, discloses how he borrows from the school where he works to bridge his financial gaps. “I currently owe the school where I work three months’ salary because I have to borrow to survive the current cost of living crisis,” he explains, highlighting the dire financial situation faced by many Nigerians.