Nigeria may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but the west African nation has definitely found love in the online betting world.
Nigeria has experienced an accelerated growth in online sports betting in the last decade, with the country now firmly established as one of the biggest gambling nations in Africa.
Currently, South Africa is the only nation ranked above Nigeria on the list of top gambling markets in sub-Saharan Africa, but given the rate at which the industry is growing, Nigeria is projected to rise to No. 1 in the coming years.
There are now so many betting sites in Nigeria, and that number is bound to keep rising in the coming years.
Gambling is hardly a new phenomenon in Nigeria- it has been in existence since well before independence- but never has it been this prevalent and sophisticated in the country.
Given that Nigeria boasts over 200 million inhabitants, many of whom live below the poverty line, there was always the potential for gambling explosion in the country.
Add to that Nigeria’s incredible love and passion for football, and you get the perfect recipe for a booming sports betting industry.
What the sector needed was a little helping hand, and that hand has come in the last few years.
Online sports betting really took off in Nigeria in the late 2000s, but most of the wagering was done in betting houses.
However, the betting landscape has changed significantly in just over ten years.
Thanks to the rapidly growing mobile penetration in the country, sports betting has now shifted from betting shops to mobile phones.
People can now conveniently carry out their betting activities from the comfort of their homes on their smartphones or tablets.
It is estimated that over 80% of bettors in Nigeria bet almost exclusively on their mobile devices.
Not just has mobile penetration improved, internet accessibility in Nigeria has also got much better. These two factors have made online activities more convenient and accessible for Nigerians, and sports betting has arguably been the biggest beneficiary from these improvements.
In 2021, the total number of mobile internet users in Nigeria was estimated at 101.72 million, and is expected to rise above 140 million by 2026. Almost 60% of the Nigerian population will be able to access the internet via a mobile device by 2026.
These are some incredibly mouth-watering numbers, and many online businesses around the world have wasted no time in extending their operations to Nigeria.
Recognizing the enormous potential in the Nigerian market, betting operators from far and wide have been rushing into the country, and many have been cashing out big time from the very huge cake!
Interestingly, the early frontrunners were local bookies like bet9ja and NairaBet, but that has all changed now. There are now up to 50 licensed bookmakers in Nigeria, many of them from outside our shores.
Bet9ja and NairaBet are still standing strong, and they continue to fly the flag proudly, but they have had to withstand some serious competition in an increasingly expanding field.
It all augurs well for Nigerian bettors, with these companies set to push each other, and raise the betting standards in the country.