How the Covid-19 Pandemic Has Helped Online Gaming in Nigeria
While the covid-19 pandemic has been devastating to many businesses in Nigeria, it has actually helped the online gaming industry.
The Covid-19 pandemic has been devastating to businesses across the globe. Most industries have seen a significant decline in revenue and millions of people have found themselves out of work, without an income, struggling to take care of their families.
Nigeria has not been exempted. Thousands of businesses have closed their doors during the pandemic, maybe for good. This includes online industries, but not all of them have found the pandemic to be as detrimental. In fact, some are generating banner revenues during this time. This is the case with the online gaming industry which has greatly benefitted from the shut-in orders.
On the Rise and Doing Well
The online gaming industry has been doing extremely well. With more people at home looking for something to do, they have often turned to these online casinos as their source of entertainment. For good or bad, this has become the thing to do. An expert overview of the Nigerian market displays the available online casinos on the Nigerian market, which only proves how big potential this industrial sector has.
The virus has helped to turn around this industry. Despite being a country of nearly 200 million, many were wondering if online casinos could have success in the country. Even with its large population, government regulations and inadequate technology services had many believing that the online business development, including online gaming would not catch on in Nigeria.
However, the numbers have proven that this analysis was wrong. With online gambling not being illegal and with many options available to consumers, it became a natural outlet for those trapped at home to play their favorite casino style games.
This was augmented by the fact that much of the Nigerian culture has been rooted in the liberal attitudes taught by the British, especially when it comes to gambling. With gambling one of the most popular leisure activities in the United Kingdom, it was not surprising to see Nigerians embrace online casinos during the pandemic.
This was especially true at sites like Betway, 888 Casino, and Casino Cruise, which saw dramatic increases in consumer use and revenue over the last three months.
Not All Have Benefitted
While online casinos are seeing their highest level of success, the prosperity has not spread to the sports betting industry. With most sporting events closed down during the pandemic, there was little, if any sports that were available for consumers to bet on. This crippled the industry.
Sporting events have been canceled and betting shops were forced to close their doors. The only options that were available for gamblers to place a wager upon was virtual sports, which had some mitigating impact. However, that has not helped nearly enough.
There has been a significant increase in the number of Nigerians who have access to the Internet, as nearly 63% of people in the country are able to surf the web. Smartphone ownership has also increased, as now 87% of all Internet traffic comes through mobile users. That is nearly 114 million people in the country using their mobile device.
That should have helped to create a significant increase in revenue for sports betting websites and it would have done so at any other time, however, a lack of sports has made these advancements useless.
Adding to the trouble has been two factors. While many gamblers across the globe have embraced virtual sports, that has not been the case in Nigeria. Not only were players reluctant to play, but there were many who were unfamiliar with the iGaming industry or did not feel knowledgeable enough to place a wager on the events.
In addition, more than 70% of gamblers in Nigeria use retail outlets to place wagers. With all these businesses shut down during the pandemic, consumers simply chose to not place wagers instead of going online to do so. The combination of these factors has made it so that the industry may find it difficult to rebound once the pandemic is finally under control.
The Government Looking to Help
While the future may look bleak, it looks like there is reason to be positive. The Federal Government of Nigeria has recently assured sports betting operators that they are committed to helping keep the industry viable. In a recent video conference held with Sports Betting Permit holders, Director General of the National Lottery Regulatory Commission, NLRC, Lanre Gbajabiamila assured licensees that the federal government will do all it can to help the industry until sports leagues are able to get back to normal.
“As your regulator, we feel obliged to touch base with you, find out the challenges you are facing in your business and see how we can continue to work together, despite the difficulties occasioned by this ugly pandemic. Let me assure everyone that government will do the best it can to protect every business within the industry, we cannot fold our arms and watch our industry with the huge investment therein go down the drain,” Lanre Gbajabiamila explained it during the conference meeting.
“I am optimistic that the Federal Government will not hesitate to give necessary approvals for any form of palliative that will ensure your business remains viable because ours is a very peculiar industry which if properly harnessed would adequately shore up the much-needed revenue for the government. Yours is to ensure that you all play by the rule, while on the part of the government, we will do all it takes to give needed support for all business to remain viable.”
What the Future Holds
The pandemic has destroyed, even taken the lives of millions of people. It is hard for some to see that the failing of the gambling industry is any big loss to Nigeria. However, this is an important industry, as it provides valuable revenue that is needed to help the government to function and assist Nigerians.
A recent Betway review found that sites such as theirs, among others, provide a significant amount of revenue to the country. Even with most placing wagers in betting shops, the online industry has still generated a sizable amount of revenue, and the increased use of casinos has only helped to improve those numbers.
This is why it has become necessary to ensure that the industry is not only viable, but thrives. Should the pandemic continue for much longer, there is some doubt that this will occur. However, assistance from the Nigerian government should help to ease the minds of these sports gambling operators. It is clear that the government understands how important this industry is to the success of the country.