FACT CHECK: Do Nigerians Spend $975million on Online Betting Daily?

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The October 2023 report by the National Lottery Trust Fund (NLTF) claimed that over 65 million Nigerians engage in betting daily, spending an average of $15 calls for scrutiny.

By this claim, this translates to $975million daily, $29.2Billion per month, and not less than $351billion per year on bet spending.

Sports Betting

If Nigerian bettors are committing a whopping $351billion to betting, it means NLTF is saying Nigeria is spending more on online betting than the United States and the United Kingdom. The U.S. and the U.K. are the two biggest betting countries in the world.

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But NLTF’s report looks exaggerated and Nigerian bettors say it’s a deliberate act to bring the bettors to the tax next.

Scrutinizing the claim

The Executive Secretary of NLTF, Bello Maigari, said that Nigerians spend billions of dollars on betting despite the economic hardship, “Currently, there are over 65 million Nigerians actively engaging in this activity, spending $15 on average everyday.”

Is Nigeria the capital of online betting?

No, InfomediaNG subjected NLTF’s claim to other available reports viz-a-viz researched-based betting data of countries around the world.

Here is what we found about betting spending in the United States and the United Kingdom, the biggest betting market.

As par wagering on sports, New York – a state in the United States -, is the official capital of sports betting. Data from the New York State Gaming Commission show that bettors spent a total of $16.7 billion in 2022.

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In the U.S. market, bettors pumped in over $80 billion into U.S. mobile sports betting between January to November 2022, according to Variety’s Sports Gambling and Media report. That’s the highest spending in betting, so how did Nigeria’s NLTF come about its $975million per day?

Another report by Nielsen specifically says 46% of American adults have at least some interest in sports betting. That equates to over 155 million people.

Away from the United States. As of March 2022, Statista report show that there are approximately 32 million online betting accounts while XACE estimated that online bettor spend at least £134 annually, translating to £4.2 billion bet spending in the U.K

Our Verdict

Factoring in the population of Nigeria – over 218,541,212 people as of 2022 – it is the largest betting market in Africa, there is no gainsaying about it and no wonder betting investors are interested in Nigeria’s market..

But to claim that Nigerian bettors spend $351billion on sport betting sounds more exaggerated than real.

If the largest online sports betting market, the U.S., saw $80 billion in 2022, I totally disagree with Bello Maigari’s claim that Nigerians spend $351billion per year on online sports betting.

From the submission of the Executive Secretary of NLTF that the Federal Government should “leverage the gaming and betting industry as a tax contributor”, it is obvious why the NLTF boss exaggerated betting spending in Nigeria.

The exaggerated figure is therefore a move to bring bettors into the tax net.

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