Online sports betting is already very rampant in Nigeria, but there is still plenty of room for growth in the industry.
With a rising young population, improving mobile penetration and better internet connectivity, Nigeria has all the ingredients to become the top online gambling nation in Africa.
Nigeria is already among the top three gambling markets in sub-Saharan Africa, with South Africa and Kenya being the other two nations in the “Big Three”.
However, Nigeria has the potential to break away from this group and become the standalone No. 1 in Africa.
The west African nation already has the advantage of population, with its over two hundred million inhabitants towering over the population of rival gambling nations. Both South Africa and Kenya have under 60 million people living in the respective countries.
Looking at those numbers alone, this should not be a contest.
So, if Nigeria can tweak a few things in its gambling industry, the country could well pull away from their other members of the “Big Three”.
One area that can be improved is mobile money, a massively under-explored branch of the Nigerian economy.
Compared to the situation in countries like Kenya and Ghana, mobile money is almost non-existent in Nigeria. Kenya, in particular, has taken advantage of mobile money to significantly improve financial inclusion in the country. The rise of the online gambling market in Kenya has plenty to do with mobile money platforms like M-Pesa and Airtel Money.
Unfortunately, the Nigerian mobile money market is still relatively stagnant. Most financial transactions in Nigeria still go through banks.
To be fair, the banking system in Nigeria is better than that in many African countries, but a decent chunk of the population remains unbanked.
This gap can be bridged via mobile money.
With the mobile penetration in Nigeria constantly on the increase, mobile money will significantly improve the financial inclusion in the country.
A very crucial quality of mobile money is that transactions can be done on the most basic of mobile phones. You don’t need to have a smartphone to conduct mobile money transactions.
Think about what mobile money would do for online betting sites in Nigeria.
At the moment, the most popular deposit method in the betting industry is payments via ATM cards, while other options like Opay, Quickteller, and internet banking are available on some sites.
Some international betting sites accept payments via Neteller, Skrill, AstroPay and even cryptocurrency, but these methods are rarely used by the average Nigerian player.
Mobile money will significantly ease the process of making deposits and withdrawals from betting sites, ultimately leading to a sharp increase in the volume of gambling transactions.
Mobile money will draw more people to online sports betting, especially those in the unbanked rural communities.
The Nigerian betting industry is already doing great, with top bookmakers like bet9ja generating billions of naira in revenue every year, but a viable mobile money system will further boost the profitability of the betting sites.