Sports betting has become a means through which many people in society make ends meet.
While you may get lucky on some occasions, the possibility of losing everything within the twinkle of an eye is also conceivable.
In fact, most people involved in this form of gambling are often faced with the temptation to bet all over again immediately after winning.
The idea behind Betting is modelled after the concept of “Give and Take,” but the reality for some people is that they give more than what they get to take home.
My observations over time have revealed that this gambling business has become a 24/7 job for some people, completely relying on the outcome for their daily bread.
Also, numerous betting centres keep springing up in various locations across the country. The most exciting aspect of it is that several online gaming platforms have emerged that players can operate in the comfort of their homes.
Just at the tip of your hand, mobile phones can efficiently conduct a transaction worth millions when placing a bet.
The Adverse Effects of Sports Betting
A notable point of the sports betting business is that while some age restrictions on who can and cannot gamble might exist, betting centres do not bother to restrain minors from participating, in as much as they possess the basic requirements, which is money.
An agency like the National Lottery Regulatory Commission, NLRC, which is the body that regulates all gambling and lottery activities in Nigeria, also oversees sports betting.
The Commission was set up to serve lottery operators, players and the general public, particularly to bring fair play, honesty, transparency and integrity into the business and establish some betting rules.
Before getting to the part that concerns the negative aspects of sports betting, let’s quickly understand the role of NLRC in all gambling-related businesses.
Many have criticized the Commission for not being up and doing regarding playing its acclaimed regulatory role with a new zeal through the deployment of leading technologies, effective management of materials and human resources for optimal realization of its mandate.
The Commission is set up to:
- Set up standards, guidelines and rules for the operation of the national lottery in collaboration with the licensees.
- Promote transparency, propriety and integrity in the operation of the lottery.
- Ensure the protection of the interest of players, stakeholders and the public.
- Carry out a periodic assessment of the national lottery operations in Nigeria and submit a report to the President and National Assembly.
- To perform such other duties as may be directed by the President, from time to time, and as necessary or expedient to ensure the efficient performance of the Commission’s functions.
The essence for taking out time to spell out the expected roles of the Commission is to create a link to the topic of discussion, especially areas that concern the adequate performance of its duty and service to gamblers.
Here’s a story to support this conception. Just last year, a group of men visited the Human Rights Radio, Brekete Family Programme to lay complaints against a particular sports betting organization.
The men who alledged some fraudulent moves by the company claimed irregularities after successfully predicting and winning a collection of games from various categories.
Unfortunately, their journey didn’t just start from the visit to Brekete Family Radio, they had initially taken the case to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, among other institutions, just to seek justice.
Already, this group of men spent more than they bargained for, travelling to different parts of the country to get a listening ear compassionate enough to hear their cries of foul plays meted on them by the betting company.
Similarly, there are several other claims by different sports betting players of not receiving prize money after predicting games correctly. This aspect is just one of the numerous adverse effects obtainable from participating in these quick money schemes.
As mentioned earlier, what is NLRC doing to ensure customers are not cheated or swindled, since it is part of their mandates to guarantee the interest of players, stakeholders and the public as well as promote transparency, propriety and integrity in the operation of the lottery?
Another unfavourable angle from partaking in this gambling business is experiencing financial distress.
Today, take out time to visit various social media platforms, search for betting predictions. You’d find out there are countless pages 100% into selling winning tickets, suggesting correct scores, establishing Very Important Persons. These VIPs sessions, of course, is accessible only for a slated fee, among other forms of sports gambling engagements.
Imagine taking time out to predict games from a presumed-winning code suggested by the aforementioned groups who sell or issue free possibilities. In the end, despite all the betting recommendations, the ticket fails; this can leave you in a state of depression, devastation and dumbfoundedness.
Ever heard of people selling their prized possessions just to get physical cash to place bets or pay what they already owe? I have seen, and I guess you out there is also aware of, some of the extreme measures people go through to win millions overnight.
While the betting business is a cash cow for some, others have found themselves frolicking in an addiction that is hard to escape, even after witnessing tragic losses and bankruptcy.
A notable side effect of this game is the Addiction part. It is hard to quit the obsession attached to gambling, mainly when you’ve recorded a win in the past or when there are displays on the internet of tempting offers and weekly winners.
It also becomes internal psychological warfare as you struggle to filter out enticing messages from bet companies who would use attractive advertisements and fancy mobile applications to keep you glued to their daily activities.
Worst of all, these lottery companies are so huge that they can afford to pay a celebrity and engage them for a period as a product/brand ambassador.
For instance, the famous rapper Phyno once bagged a deal with NairaBet as a brand ambassador. If you are a follower of the musician, leaving the brand would be difficult as far as the person you model after is advocating for more patronage.
Now you’re trapped and can’t seem to leave sports gambling for good, and you’re indebted to friends, families and colleagues unknowingly loaning you money for this purpose.
The height of it all is the Tendency to Commit Suicide. In June 2020, the Nation Newspaper reported that a 28-year-old man identified simply as Suga killed himself. Suga was from Nembe Local Government Area in Bayelsa State.
He was alleged to have poisoned himself with a suspected Sniper (insecticide) substance after using his employer’s money worth N150,000 to play Bet9ja virtual games.
This virtual game may last less than two minutes, and one either wins or loses with computers controlling the programming functions.
In 2020 alone, the death of Suga increased the number of people who died from Betting and gambling in the state to three. The report states gave these statistics.
Stay out of gambling if you cannot quit when the time is right. For it’s safer not to start in the first place than to become addicted without any exit plan.
There are more lucrative ventures to invest your time and money in; besides, even if you cash out early from sports betting, endeavour to channel a major part of the proceeds to other businesses to avoid the temptation of re-betting and losing all the funds. Be advised.