Various forms of betting, lotteries, pool, raffle draws, etc are simply forms of gambling as participants stake money or other valuables on a game of chance with the aim of winning a fortune.
A visit to a popular betting shop would reveal the diverse views on the subject. From a distance, one could see young men huddled over television screens and simultaneously scanning their phones hoping and praying for that “big break”.
Daily, Nigerians who want to get rich through betting shops wager their money in one form or the other, with the believe that such move would give them instant financial success.
The Vortex engaged some bettors and their responses were fascinating.
Mr. Alex Enezegile a sports enthusiast said betting is not a sin, but offers a source of livelihood.
He said, “The reason most people involved in sports betting is simply to cater for daily needs and an alternative source of livelihood. If some persons feel it’s a sin, I guess forex trading and other investment that promises high returns is sin too. Although, we know any habit that takes the place of God in our life is sin. If a person can regulate his betting habit then I see no reason why he or she should be called a sinner. Such person feels Bet9ja is the alternative source of making money to cater for daily needs. Las Las Bet9ja na investment!
Engineer Chinenye Douglas explained that although betting cannot be termed a sin, caution has to be taken to avoid getting addicted to it.
He said, “Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. Betting is a game of chance. You forecast the outcome of an event based on past occurrences and results. If you’re right, you win, when your predictions are wrong you lose.
“Forecasting and probability is applied in many disciplines like the financial sector by investors, etc. I don’t see why betting is different. I no steal money play am. It’s bad when one is addicted to it or sees it as a “god”. Idolatry is what is sin, not sports betting,” he stated.
Okon Edidiong explained that playing Bet9ja or Nairabet is not a sin but a means of livelihood, especially in the harsh economic climate of the country.
He said, “I dey play Bet9ja nobi today. I know how e don help me to settle some problems I face. See now, I just win 15,000. I be Christian and worker for my church sef. I never see wey Bible talk say to play na sin. As I dey this shop now, if rapture happen, I go follow God go. See as the country dey, no money anywhere, this one wey we dey take hold ourself naim people dey call sin. God go help us.”
When asked if sports betting affects his spiritual life, he said, “as I win this money now, I go pay my tithe, from here I go put offering and also give for any church project. This thing no dey affect my spiritual life. I no fit dey this shop when church service dey on, e no fit happen. Where e fit be sin na wen person place bet pass God.”
Edidiong went on to make a revelation of how he received an accurate bet prediction in a dream.
He said, “last year July, God give me some games as I been dey sleep. And na dat month my house rent expire. As I wake up, I rush come here play the game and I win N150,000 exactly the amount for my house rent.”
Branch manager of a betting shop in Port Harcourt, Philemon Okwa, explained that people should begin to appreciate the role sports betting plays in taking the attention of youths off criminal activities and giving people an alternative source of income.
He said, “The advent of bet9ja like every other betting platform is a welcome development. I see it as a means of helping unemployed youths. If you observe critically, you’ll see that most youths who engage in social vices like robbery, cultism etc have now diverted their attention to sports prediction and have so much hope they come out winners.”
When asked on possible negative effects of the game, he said, “Everything has both good and bad side. I know it has the negative effect of being addictive, because as a manager I’ve seen persons who would rather starve or borrow than miss playing a slip. My advice to people has always been for them to take the game as fun and not a full time job.”
Speaking with The Vortex, manager of a Nairabet shop in Port-Harcourt, Nkechi Joseph said that irrespective of what people think about sports betting, it is empowering many Nigerians, especially the youth and helping to curb crime among them.
She said, “The issue of unemployment cannot be over emphasized. Lots of youths are jobless and that has led to a high crime rate. Sports betting has drastically reduced the crime rate. Most persons who would have engaged in social vices now put in time to forecast games and those who are lucky win. Most people think forecasting is easy, but to predict 10 odds requires a high level of intelligence and brain work.”
A Koretbet agent, Benjamin Oghenetega said that sports betting offered him an opportunity of being his own boss.
He said, “I graduated from the university five years ago and was unable to get a job. One of my friends introduced me to KoretBet and even though I was reluctant initially, this is what I want to do with my life now. I’m a registered agent and I’m blessed to have several shops under me.”
Speaking further, he revealed that online betting has given succor to thousands of Nigerians, predicting that “many youths will find it difficult to survive if anything happens to these betting companies.”
Reverend Shadrach Bob-Manuel, in a chat with The Vortex explained that although the Bible does not explicitly mention gambling, money should not be wasted adding that excess money should be saved for future needs or given to the Lord’s work, not gambled away.
He said, “Many Christians wonder if sports betting is a sin and what the Bible has to say about it. While gambling, lotteries, and other today’s get rich quick games aren’t specifically mentioned within the Bible, God has still warned against the temptation. Often when people gamble, it is because they become addicted to the love of money. A simple game can become a sin when it takes over our minds and hearts and leads us down a road of never being satisfied.”
Rev. Bob-Manuel noted that when properly controlled, bets could have positive aspects, such as the provision of legitimate recreation, generation of funds for acceptable courses, and in some cases, the enhancement of local economies.
Irrespective of the view you have about sports betting, there seem to be an increase in sports betting outlets nationwide as a lot of people have considered it a means to survive the harsh economic conditions in Nigeria.