Sports betting is at an all-time high in Nigeria and is viewed by many as an alternative to finding a job. The government is seeking to rectify the issue.

Nigerian Youth Embrace Sports Betting

Nigeria’s youth culture has been hit especially hard by a craze for online betting, although it’s a pastime being embraced by one and all. 

Of the country’s 190 million inhabitants, over 60 million people between the ages of 18 and 40 enjoy wagering according to recent poll reports. Over ₦700 billion is being spent on betting each year, making the average roughly ₦300 per day. 

The Sweeping Popularity of Football

Thanks to the recent debut of 50+ online bookmakers in the country, it’s easier than ever to place bets on desktop, smartphones, and tablets. There are also many land-based sportsbooks and Nigerians are turning their passion for Football into a money-making scheme

Fans are taking a business angle and betting with their heads, not their hearts. Bets are often placed against favourites if it looks likely that the match will go against them. 

Unemployment Plays a Huge Role

Many young people are struggling to find work and turning to betting to earn an income. But the Director-General of Nigeria’s Industrial Training Fund, Joseph Ari has revealed that the situation is being compounded due to many youths lacking the necessary skills to find employment.

Ari stated that 900+ trades are being filled by foreigners in the country’s labour market because of this problem. Surveys have shown that there are still vacancies of 19.5% in the housing sector and the petrochemical industry reports a similar number, with almost 14% of available positions remaining so. The auto sector has openings in the region of over 11% and there are openings of more than 10% in the textile industry. 

The Scarce Skills Allowance

Olusegun Temilola, from the University of Lagos’ Sociology department, has stated that bettors are risking their financial futures by chasing the dream of overnight wealth. The government is taking steps to deal with this drift to the pursuit of sports betting and introducing measures to reward the acquisition of skills. Richard Egbule, Chairman of the National Salaries, Income, and Wages Commission has indicated the resolution to introduce special measures.

These are going to be in the form of a Scarce Skills Allowance, and this will be aimed at attracting young people to attaining expertise in areas that will render them employable. With the extra benefit of diverting their attention from betting! It is hoped that this allowance will encourage people to further their education and focus on long-term monetary stability with a well-paying job.

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