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Thriving game business: The gains, the odds

The gaming or gambling world, is currently thriving as devotion that is revered by optimism and victory, usually celebrated in many cases, with free drinks to colleagues in the same game culture.

In urban cites across Nigeria, especially Lagos, gaming kiosks are gradually replacing that of beverages that hitherto adorned sidelines of streets in Lagos.

Such centers, which complement pool shops are now common sights in streets within the metropolis and suburban, the more enlightened the community, the more sophisticated the shop.

It is now a common sight to see housewives, school children, artisans, professionals and highly educated trickle into such shops or kiosks with papers, with their game receipts to check how successful their stake has been.

As the gambling kiosks continue to increase in geometric progression, business centers are also currently being outpaced by technology -driven gambling shops that project all characteristics of a business center.

John Uka , a Lagos resident told our correspondent in an interview that in an urgent need of a cyber café to update information to his office, he entered a supposedly cyber café at Iyana Ipaja, in Lagos behind the BRT station, but discovered that all the patrons busy with the computers were executing one form of gambling or the other.

“Please, where is the nearest cyber café around here,” he eventually asked. “ I do not know” was the reply he got from owner of shop.

As the world ushers in 2018, the survival of markets in Nigeria under the threat of proliferation of gambling centers that promise quick money through betting, has continued to trouble the minds of many people.

Mr. Feyishola Oke, who lives in Lagos in an interview, derided people who referred to betting as gambling; he rather called it a game. “It is not called gambling, but it is betting or game I don’t gamble, what I do is betting” he said.

According to him, gambling has to do with pools, but betting is not pool, you bet some numbers in a game and if it matures, it is your game and you make money, but if it fails, you bet again.

“ I don’t play gamble, but I bet and I have won money , I have seen people who won one million and even N5m, but for me I have only won N50,000, but I have also been making small cash like N5,000 or N10,000”

Abbey, always busy with his laptop foraging through gambling websites, said that he stated betting barely one year ago; and hopes to make it big someday “ there was a day I almost won N2m, it was just one number that spoilt my game.”

NOIPolls, a data analytical survey firm, in the week of July 17th 2017 showed that betting has become a growing trend amongst young Nigerians aged between 18 – 35 years.

Furthermore, in terms of active participation, 36 per cent of those polled admitted that they personally engage or have family members who engage in betting; with more than half of this group of respondents, 53 per cent, engaged in daily betting.

On the other hand, 60 per cent of this same group reported that they win a bet ‘few times a month’, while 8 per cent revealed that they have ‘never won a bet’. In addition, the poll highlighted that people prefer betting platforms that: offer timely redemption of winnings, favourable odds on games, reputation for prompt payment, and are easy to use.

Respondents identified reasons why Nigerians engage in betting and gambling to include: ‘quest for quick money’ (30 percent), ‘high rate of unemployment’ (21 percent) and ‘greed’ (15 percent) amongst other reasons.

According to the report, about 60 million Nigerians between the ages 18 and 40 years spend up to N1.8bn on sports betting daily with an average investment of N3, 000 Naira per day.

Interestingly, the craze to win big in gambling cut across age, gender, religion, profession , socio- economic status and creed, as the gaming center patrons keep winning new converts ,increasing misery and affluence at the same time.

One major characteristics among all the patrons of gaming centers is that they remain highly optimistic and in some cases, their optimism works out, wiping away period of misery, to resurface sooner than expected.

Gambling is driven by the urge to make quick money, solve poverty challenge and launch in the world of the next call of accomplishment could lure people to experiment different forms of legitimate business.

The upsurge in gambling recently triggered the mind of a financial consultant , Mr. Matthew Ogagavworia, who on his face book page wrote “First, it was churches replacing factories, now Gambling/betting centers replacing retailer” he expressed concern that if not checked may youths could end up becoming addicted to gambling ,” Worried” he said.

Also a public affairs commentator, Kingsley Ughe expressed some concern too “I thought I was the only one who noticed increase in gaming centers and commitment of youths to gambling”

For Mr. Omoruyi Osifo, the trend could get to a climax that may spell doom for the economy and the country “I am indeed worried my brother, but where are we really going to in this nation call Nigeria”

The development ws captured differently by Are Olalekan, who deduced that death of industries and low productive capacity of existing industries had forced many people out of jobs while most people under one form of employment are either not paid, under paid or impoverished by the employer, hnec the urge to seek solution else here.

“My brother , how do we move forward as a nation if there is no factory that will enable people to work and earn a living, it’s so sad”, and for Vincent Okolosi, the flagrant display of wealth in the society.

“The craze for quick money everywhere. My fear is even the rate of flashy cars driven by children that have never worked a single day in their life” Okolosi said.

Mr. Marvel Eyoh a Lagos resident ,who spoke to our correspondent on the prevalence of lotteries in Nigeria and the state said that though he has never placed lottery before, but he has had the urge to play the game, especially when some of his friends celebrate their winnings. He said “ I don’t know about lottery, I don’t play it, but I have heard people winning huge money from their games” he said.”

Pressed further to give insight into the lottery game, Eyoh said: “what I normally see people usually do is what they call permutation. This entails that out of five games (Numbers) that you pick, two or three numbers out of them will draw or come out which will give you winning, but , if one of the numbers fail to draw, then you have lost”

According to him, apart from permutation or what he calls perming , there Is also another lottery that is called betting, which also gives betters the opportunity to win various sums of money , however depending on the amount staked.

He said that in the betting game, if the gambler choses two or three numbers in a betting game, “here, they will say two ,or three direct which means that you are sure that the numbers must play; and when the numbers come out in the result of the betting you have won.”

He further revealed that the sure betting attracts higher monetary reward, which is also dependent on the total amount staked.

“The amount you win depends on the amount risked, people are taking the risk of staking with N10, 000. N15, 000, N20, 000 and more depending on how rich you; are and while some are winning, many others are losing, and still they continue to gamble, hoping to win in their next game.”

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