The atmosphere was stuffed with orchestra of breath; these were the breath of English premier League fanatics gathered for the weekly carnival of screen soccer. It’s always a spontaneous mix of emotional outbursts; from the thrill of victory to agony of defeat, no matter where the pendulum swings, this ground was a pool that’s always full of fun that splashed our weekends with delight; a pastime from the systemic economic disappointment thrown at the vibrant core of any society- the youths.
One memorable day it was when we watched Manchester United do battle with Arsenal; this fixture in years past was a doyen etched in football worlds calendar, but now a boring salsa between two estranged bad fellows. The outcome of the match would not have a bearing on the title race, but it left fans with a scrap of bragging right till the next fixture. I had a sketchy information about sport betting till we were gathered as usual in our clime to watch a dead rubber match, and the match was grinding down to a halt when the opposing team scored an equalizing goal with the last kick of the game. This didn’t elicit substantial emotional response from neither the host nor rival fans save “white” who sunk to his knees in tandem with his shrills of disappointment. I wondering how a dead rubber game could elicit lively shout from anyone till I saw a white piece of paper clenched in his fist of fury- the real core and cause of his agony. He had made wholesome predictions (bettings as its called) about the match, and that goal had ‘cut’ his tickets. To white it was like losing the title with the last kick of the season.
Sport betting is growing luxuriantly among the teeming youths of the Nigerian populace. It cuts across status and academic exposures. It is a golden goose in a land scarce of available and viable economic options. It’s like an outlet to breeze bottle filled frustrations and disappointments the youth have towards the ineptitude of the Motherland, who has been a victim or rape and neglect by successive failed leadership, hence her inability to breast feed her many offspring’s have thrown them to be bottle-fed by any means of economic ease.
With an estimated 33,652,424 of Nigeria’s population being youths, Nigeria has Africa’s leading youthful population, which means Nigeria’s productivity can soar astronomically when these energies can be harnessed, co-ordinated and deployed. However, the chronic systemic failure of successive government has led to a country impoverished whilst sitting on an enviable seat of mineral and human resource; this has led to economic downturn dovetailing into a very low income earning, underemployment, and unemployment of the youths.
Sport betting isn’t just a cash cow that helps provide temporary succor for hunger. Firstly it has provided entrepreneurship initiatives for many via the partnership arrangement for interested youths. They have shops and offices where betting takes place under a neat well arrange environment with apt technology. Consistent gains made here can give a wise young man leverage to focus, plan and sustain economically. Furthermore, this sport betting entrepreneurs employ a few hands to help in the running of the business and this dovetails into some stable economic emancipation for their employees. Secondly, the estimate by Naira Metrics puts at 60 million the population of Nigerians between 18 and 40 who are involved in active sport betting. As its being said ‘where the carcass is, the vulture gathers’ the good environment in which sport betting takes place is user friendly and specifically youth friendly; as it can be done on the go using the possibilities afforded by mobile devices, applications and USSD codes. The website designs of sport betting firms have a ‘do it yourself’ aura.
Furthermore, the financial requirements to stake have a wide range swinging from the low investment to very high ones. With as low as a few hundreds of naira to hundreds of thousand worth of stakes. This masterstroke strategy is an all-inclusive and attractive one to all the teeming betting enthusiasts pocket. The various brands of sport betting companies with their products and services sets the youthful taste buds on very sharp edges. This scenario is like rabbits finding a carrots filled field after days of hunger. However, this carrots are held by invisible sticks that can gore the very souls of those who hold its bounties. Firstly because of its economic allures. It can get so addictive and ultimately leads to a situation called Compulsive Addictive Disorder, where restraints are thrown to the dogs, this leads to a reckless fund management such as misappropriation and debts to service the addiction. Sport betting is a high risk high reward venture, but it doesn’t put the outcome in the hands of person who stakes. The thrill of a better day makes the pain of losses ephemeral and so the quest for one sweet day makes the journey appealing that you would strip to the last apparel to keep the winning dream real. These debts, debt servicing and misappropriations have lots of multiplier effects on the integrity, trust, family bonds, lack of concentration on career, business and academic of those who stake. This may impact the blood pressure with underlining health issues and law enforcement entanglement for misappropriation.
Sport betting is a sweet carrot, but it is held by a stick, a whip that can run one ragged for a lifetime if it is not done with sense and lots of restraints.
Ogunsola Fisayo via email@example.com