Gambling has become big business in Nigeria with the recent growth of sports betting. The industry is now very big, generating a lot of wealth for players, betting operators and the government.
Due to the lucrative nature of sports betting in Nigeria, there are always new businesses moving into the country. These companies are usually in competition with each other and often try to get one over their rivals.
There is usually an intense race from these operators to promote their brands and ensure that they are the go-to platform for sports betting in the country. From billboards to creative radio and TV ads, the push to become the top dogs is getting pretty competitive.
One of the most popular tools to promote brands is to employ famous people and beloved current and former footballers as ambassadors.
This trend is widely accepted in Nigeria despite the moral conversation about whether or not these stars should be promoting gambling.
The argument for..
PricewaterhouseCoopers, the largest accounting and auditing firm, reported in 2018 that Nigeria was the second largest online betting market in Africa, with gross gambling revenues of $58 million for that year.
This figure has grown exponentially over the past few years as the ease of internet access on mobile devices has increased in the country.
The increase in operators and corresponding agents has created an ecosystem with several jobs for young Nigerians.
A need for 24/7 customer support and digital marketing experts also means there is a scatter in the range of jobs made available by this gaming boom.
In 2020, around 21.7 million Nigerians were unemployed and the youth unemployment rate was 14%.
Research conducted in Nigeria’s economic hub, Lagos State, has shown that young people are highly involved in online gambling and view it as a means of meeting their daily income needs.
The likes of Jay Jay Okocha, Victor Ikpeba, Kanu Nwankwo and George Finidi have all signed mega sponsorship deals with various betting companies over the past few years.
The argument against..
Other African nations such as Kenya and Ghana have long banned celebrities from supporting betting companies.
In the UK, from October gambling companies will not be allowed to use stars to target under-18s, while footballers, celebrities and social media influencers will be banned from appear in gambling ads under new rules.
There are growing calls in Nigeria for rules to be strengthened to prevent young people and other vulnerable people from being exploited by gambling advertising.
Gambling has become a growing trend among young Nigerians between the ages of 18 and 35, and they make up the highest proportion of the gambling population.
According to a report by News Agency of Nigeria (NAN, 2019), around 60 million Nigerians between the ages of 18 and 40 spend up to 1.8 billion naira on sports betting daily with an average investment of 3,000 naira per day. .
This statistic shows the influence that football stars who endorse these brands have on young Nigerians.
Gambling addiction is the biggest problem here as Nigeria currently has no gambling awareness programs to combat the problem.
International gambling helplines are available in other countries, as well as help websites that provide useful information on how to gamble responsibly.
Overall, the problem with Nigerian stars endorsing gaming brands comes down to integrity and the impact they have on their audience.
Are they really motivating their fans to engage in the game or is it more about the ease of joining the trend due to the mobile phone revolution in Nigeria.
Either way, online gambling is here to stay with several betting apps available for Nigerian gamblers.
Influenced or not by his favorite football stars, the Nigerian player cannot therefore ignore the boom in the game that surrounds him.