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Sports betting in Nigeria has its detractors, but there is no denying that betting has had its fair share of positive contribution to the country.
Nigeria remains a relatively conservative country, but there is a growing liberality in the West African nation, especially amongst the younger generation.
With better mobile penetration, internet accessibility and the copiousness of social media platforms like Twitter, Nigerian youths have become more exposed and open-minded relative to the older folk.
Hence, activities like online sports betting have been on the rise.
The rapid rise in sports betting has come with plenty of baggage; some negative, others positive; but one major area where it has helped young Nigerians is in job creation and employment.
There are over 30 betting companies operating in Nigeria, with many of them having offices across the country. Whether the companies are local or international operators like betway, they hire a lot of Nigerians.
The international sites especially need the knowledge of the locals to effectively run their offices in Nigeria.
They need branch managers, sales managers, cashiers, receptionists, customer service personnel, content creators and so on.
As the betting industry continues to grow, more operators will get into the country, and more people will get jobs. Hence, sports betting has helped reduce the rate of unemployment in the country.
Another area where sports betting is creating jobs for Nigerians is in retail marketing.
Many of these betting sites have retail shops around the country, and these outlets are managed by Nigerians.
Starting up a betting shop is very easy. You obviously need to sign up with your preferred betting site and obtain the necessary documents needed to run the business legally.
Betting shops are not capital intensive. All you need is a small space (the shop) and additions like chairs, computers, a small generator, printer and an internet modem. The manager may also need some extra hands to help him out in the business, thus extending the job-creation web.
With less than N500,000, you can set up your betting shop and start making money.
Due to the rise in online betting, physical betting shops are not as popular as they once were, but there are still quite a few of them around. A lot of people still bet in these retail outlets.
Not everyone has a smartphone or good internet! Besides, some people prefer to bet in physical shops just for the thrill of socializing and betting with friends.
The long-term profitability of running a betting shop far outweighs the initial investment put into the business.
Sports betting does have its bad side, but it has also done a lot of good for the country, particularly in the area of job creation.
What we should strive for is to amplify the good and reduce the negatives of sports betting.
Betting companies have to be better at implementing and enforcing responsible gambling tools, while bettors should be constantly educated on the risks of gambling addiction.
Sports betting holds enormous potential for the Nigerian economy, as long as it is properly managed and regulated.