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2015 can be the year for the revolution of sports betting in Nigeria

Johnson Adewale Foye, Head of Operations at HSL Gaming Network Limited which runs Gobet3000, believes that next year will be a key time for the development of sports betting in Nigeria.

Having spent some years in this sector, and coupled with some of the research I have done in the past and of late, I personally will say that that 2015 will mark the entrance of a great revolution in the sports-betting sector in Nigeria.
If I may take us back a little on the gambling history of this great nation. Casinos were the first predominate gambling experienced after her independence which led the government to introduce the Casino Taxation Act of 1965. A lot of other types of gambling came into existence after, with the likes of lottery, pools, promo, casino slots and sports-betting.
There have been a lot of developmental faces of the gambling industry in Nigeria which has made sports-betting predominately the fastest in growth compared to where we were coming from. This growth also has made other aspects of gambling infused into a common experience. Bookmakers now offer almost every aspect of gambling on a single site, meaning you can have a single online account with a bookmaker and be able to play sports-betting, virtuals of your choice, casinos and poker even at real time (LIVE), meaning you don’t need to walk into a shop to do any of these things, you can do them online.
Another interesting fact is that pwc (gambling-outlook-2014) has projected that the gross casino gambling revenues in Nigeria will see an average growth of 7.7% on a compound annual basis rising to US$58m in Nigeria and at the moment Casino Land licences are only given to just three operators which indicates that Nigeria has a stronger base for an outburst in gambling. Just like I indicated earlier, casino now seems to be the lowest of the entire gambling segment in Nigeria while sports-betting tops the chart.
Revolution in 2015? Why?
According to a statistics from NAN, about 60m Nigerians make a bet on a daily basis, totalling a gross of about 1bn naira (£3.5m). Lagos State ONLY has around 15 legally licensed operators and, according to a presentation by Yahaya Maikori of Law Allianz ­(Gaming Outlook – Nigeria), a typical Lagos State operator achieved a revenue of about 750m (£2.6m)  in 2014.
From my perspective, 2015 will have a higher entrance into the sports-betting sector in Nigeria as a whole,  thus causing a higher level of awareness (which for me is still low now) and also increasing total revenue. These entrances and circumstances will make leaders in the market to want to up their game, while the new entrants want to catch up with the reality on ground by trying to penetrate via the weak point of the giants. Medium class leaders also don’t want to be left behind in the race. It is at this point the revolution will begin because of the greater competition for survival.
The years I have spent in this sector has shown me the level of revenue that an operator can make. My travelling experiences across the nation have made me also to see the level of harvest that awaits a strategic operator. The growth of the sportsbetting sector has shown that online on its own will not make the kind of revenue you will expect like the retail. Just like bet365 is fully online, that model alone will certainly not bring the kind of revenue you may desire here in Nigeria because of the country’s special peculiarities.
My Advice
There are a lot of opportunities in Nigeria and Africa as a whole and the rate of growth of her revenues is surpassing the compound form. A wise investor or operator will choose to look at the below factors for fatter prosperity:
  • Know the local content for proper penetration
  • Build a network of good retail structure
  • Relate well with your network
  • Create a long lasting and futuristic product
  • Develop a customer oriented approach
  • Lastly, the way you are perceived is vital

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