DEC 19 EDITIONSportsTrending

THE PHENOMENON OF SPORTS BETTING

By: Alex Umoru

In recent times, sports betting has become a way of life and this phenomenon is increasingly cutting across countries all over the world with huge bettors joining the league of quick cash. The activity simply requires predicting sports results and placing a wager on their outcome.

Bettors queuing up at a BET outlet

The frequency of sports bet upon varies by culture, with the huge majority of bets being placed on football, American football, basketball, baseball, hockey, track cycling, auto racing, mixed martial arts, and boxing. Ironically, the love for sport has taken a new turn with the advent of sports betting companies all over the world and it is also seen as a way of building a network of sports fans and supporters of sports.

Bets are placed on everything and it ranges from football to pigs, from Horses to basketball, cricket and indeed anything in between. Football is the most popular among the target bet and It has also been extended to non-athletic events, such as reality shows political elections, and non-human contests such as horse racing, greyhound racing, and illegal, underground dog fighting. Historically, the first betting events ever to be recorded were in the days of Greek city states, over 2,000 years ago. The Romans soon adopted it from the Greeks and they turned it into a real business, especially from the famous gladiator games. It has to later spread to England and the rest of the world.

Automated Betting Machine Gallery

The large numbers of ardent followers of European football has triggered business opportunities for most bet companies and bettors whose activities have developed from analogue to digital. The global sports betting market continues to surge in popularity. In fact, it’s one of the fastest-growing sectors in the world, offering tremendous potentials. With the digital revolution in full force, the sports betting industry has continued to undergo dynamic changes, expanding in established markets and forging its way into new ones.

Record has it that United States of America has the fastest growing sport betting market in the World as the sports betting market was valued at $40 billion in 2016. It is pertinent to note that, the world was agog when the news broke of the highest jackpot win in US history as the winner won a whopping $1.5 Billion Quick Pick Mega Millions but they have chosen to remain anonymous. Asia has the biggest sports betting market and it contributes 47% of the world’s sports wagers. Macau and Hong Kong are the two prominent sport betting revenue-generating regions of the World and is projected to being the largest in the world. There are also steady growth being recorded in Australia, Europe and Africa right now.

According to a report by News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), 60 million Nigerians between the ages of 18 and 40 are involved in active sports betting due to rapid spread of mobile phones. Almost N2 billion is spent on sports betting daily in Nigeria, which translates to nearly N730 billion in a year.

This billion-dollar sports betting industry is growing astronomically with Nigerian football culture and both old and new betting outlets are springing up in almost every street in Nigeria’s major cities. The down side of this state of affairs is that most young people are involved in betting activity and in Nigeria for instance, statistic has shown that 70% of its youths are currently involved in sport betting and this can be translated to other countries of the world.

Cases of match-fixing in sports especially in football has position the game in a bad light in some issues recorded in Europe and Asia was strongly attributed to sports betting. Countries like North Korea, Cambodia, Lebanon, United Arab Emirates and Qatar has placed strong stem on sports betting. Currently, in Africa Lax laws on sports betting and lack of governmental policy has not helped to curb the menace of sport betting addiction. But the real fact remains that, the lives of our youth and their future is in serious jeopardy given the rate spot betting is growing unabated. This implies that a great percentage of our youth population are in danger and likely becoming gamblers who always build a living on HOPE.

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