Nigeria: Sports Lottery Spikes Crime in Kaduna

| April 17, 2016 | 0 Comments

Kaduna — From time immemorial, lottery has been going on in Nigeria. Until recently however, it was the elderly and some specialized interest groups and individuals who mainly engaged in it. Pool betting had also been popular among the middle aged.

Unlike other forms of lottery that have been in existence in the country, many people treat pool and its players with disdain because it was seen as a game that allegedly impoverished its players who hung on an everlasting hope of winning but without actually winning. Others saw it as outright gambling, a habit that was easy to start but very difficult to stop.

Today however, lottery has been re-branded and made more attractive, especially targeting the youth and adolescents. Prominent among the captivating features of today’s lottery is not only that it is sports-oriented, which often fascinates the youths, but also due to its use of the internet and other hi-tech inputs which makes it easier, accessible and quick. They can be played online or at designated offices. This was unlike before when lottery was analog and only played at designated offices/centres.

Some prevalent sports lottery played today are Bet9ja, Naira bet, Cash bet, 360 bet, Fast bet, Sure bet, Sahara bet, 1960 bet, Bet revolution, among others. Some of the criteria for winning include: predicting the team that will win a match or the person that will win a race; predicting the team(s) that will qualify for a competition or the first to qualify; predicting the player who will score/amount of goals to be scored in a match; predicting the player who will receive the first yellow/red card and/or the number of cards that will be received, etc.

In Kaduna, Daily Trust check reveals that few persons have actually won and those winners have continued to serve as a reference point and enticing force to the thousands of youths who have become active players but are yet to win.

Investigation also indicated that sports betting has badly diverted the attention of such youths from forging ahead in life. Some have relegated their school, work, businesses and domestic work/family duties to the background and have given substantial attention, time, resources and energy to sports betting.

A footballer and teacher in Kakuri area of Kaduna South local government, Ayodele Joseph, says sports betting is fast becoming a menace and that its addiction is now worse than that of drugs.

“I teach in a secondary school and I’m also a footballer. So, owing to my profession and career, I mix with lots of youths. What I have observed is that a considerable number of them are turning to sports betting to deliver them from poverty. They want to make easy and quick money devoid of hard work. They are no more paying attention to their studies or careers.Sports betting is gradually taking over their lives. They pay little attention to developing themselves, but rather deploy their energies to sports betting. These include students, applicants, apprentices and workers,” he said.

Joseph said however one looks at it and no matter the name it is called, it is still gambling and it is a game of sheer luck.

A staff of Kaduna Polytechnic, Paul Johnson, said sports betting has led to increased crime rate in his area, KurminGwari, in Kaduna South, saying bags, phone snatching and breaking into peoples’ homes have become the order of the day.

“Majority of the boys in my area are into betting and they don’t work. In order to get the money, they snatch phones and peoples’ bags, as well as break into peoples’ houses in broad daylight looking for what to steal and sell.”

He said most of the boys who hitherto were bus drivers, conductors, bricklayers, and others have abandoned their work for the bet offices. “Sports lottery is impoverishing the society because it is increasing joblessness among the already jobless youths.”

Meanwhile, a boy who has won about N1 million, Mathew Adikwu popularly known as M.Pac, said he is not doing anything other than sports betting at the moment. He said though he is seeking admission to go back to school, his major preoccupation presently is sports betting, adding that he is encouraging youths to engage in it because they could win like him.

“Last year November, I won N707, 000 in Bet9ja. I played with only N500 to win all that money. Since then I have been winning other monies, all amounting to over N300, 000. The highest amount I have ever played with is N1, 000.

“Sports betting is my business for now; I can say that is what I now do for a living even though I am still looking for admission. Most people don’t win as some of us do;sometimes it is luck, while other times it is skills. I advise everybody to take part in it because you can become a winner like me. For those youths who were said to have abandoned their work or school for sports betting, I think they know what they are benefiting from the betting to have made such decision,” he said.

When asked what he did or is doing with the money he has been winning, he said he is investing them, but did not disclose how.

Even the ladies are not left out. A female hair stylist who preferred anonymity said she is into sports lottery too and that whenever she wins she will equip her salon with modern hair dressing facilities. She claimed to know many people who have won, and says so long as people keep winning, she will keep betting until she wins someday.

The proprietor of Standard Global Academy Kakuri, Racy Hyginus, wondered why the government should legalize such gambling, stressing that it is seriously impacting negatively on education.

“Students no longer pay attention to their studies because of sports betting. Why should government even legalize something like this in the first place? This should be scrapped immediately before it ruins the youths and the education system. This is an extension of gambling and instead of the students to think of their education, what they are worried about is how to get money for gambling. If they can stake N1,000 to get N1 million, what then is the essence of going to school? Even if the government would permit something like this, it should be well censored and there should be an age limit,” he said.

Similarly, the Registrar of Yahaya Hamza Institute of Technology in Mando, Kaduna, Odulami Lukeman, said it should be scrapped because some students use their school fees and money meant for their education for sports gambling.

Lukeman argued that so long as the gambling is allowed to continue, students will never give their best to their education. He advised the youths to redirect their focus, saying education still holds a better promise of an assured future than the gambling which they borrow money and even steal to go and play.

A housewife, Veronica Samuel, who resides in Kurmin Gwari, said initially, she thought that it was a harmless and honest means of earning money, but later discovered it was pure gambling. She said wherever youths are gathered in her area; all they talk about is betting and how to get money to play.

Mrs Samuel said apart from the rate of stealing which has increased, some of the youth are employing diabolical and spiritual means in order to win, noting that if nothing is urgently done about it, the nation may end up not having focused, enterprising and knowledgeable youths.

When contacted, the Kaduna Zonal Coordinator of the National Lottery Commission, Baba Adamu, said lottery can boost the economy and youth empowerment if properly regulated and inculcated into the nation’s economic plans.

He said unfortunately, however, most of the lottery companies are still operating illegally and that he is waiting for the list of the illegal operators from his head office in order to clamp down on them and sanitise the system.

He also noted that those operating the illegal sports lottery are foreigners, and that the money they make is rather boosting their economy than that of Nigeria.

Adamu enjoined the youths to regulate their activities and not allow their involvement in sports lottery take over their lives or lead them into any form of crime, adding that they should always report any injustice meted on them by the lottery operators.

Culled from :Here

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Category: Sports