Sports betting has come a long way in Nigeria, with the industry now firmly established as one of the biggest in Africa.
Indeed, Nigeria has the second biggest betting market in sub-Saharan Africa, just behind South Africa. From the infant days of the early 2000s, the Nigerian betting industry has risen very quickly to become one of the fastest-growing markets in the world.
And with a population of over 200 million to work with, the projection is that it is only a matter of time before Nigeria rises to the top of the sports betting leaderboard in Africa.
It is therefore no surprise to see that many betting operators from all parts of the world are looking to plant their presence in the Nigerian market. The number of betting sites in Nigeria is growing all the time.
A large percentage of new betting companies in Nigeria have concentrated their efforts on the online part of the business without paying much attention to retail shops.
This makes sense; because the majority of Nigerian bettors now bet online as against betting in brick-and-mortar shops.
This then begs the question: Do retail shops still have a role in the sports betting industry?
The simple answer to this question is yes, and there are practical reasons to support this claim.
When Bet9ja entered the market, they started by establishing many physical shops around the major cities in Nigeria.
This created a top-of-the-mind awareness, and helped them to earn the trust of the public as the most reliable betting site around.
Till today, many Nigerians still rate bet9ja as the gold standard for online betting in Nigeria. Some are not even aware that many other betting sites exist.
It is true as at the time bet9ja first came around, online betting had not truly taken off and bet9ja didn’t have many other options than to set up physical shops, but it is also undeniable that these shops played a big role in the company’s ascent to the top of the Nigerian market.
It is interesting to note that despite being by far the biggest betting site in Nigeria, bet9ja still has more physical shops than any other betting site in the country.
These shops also serve as some form of advertisement for the company.
Because of their physical presence in many areas, there is a very high probability that anyone who wants to join a betting site will join bet9ja.
Another evidence that the retail shops’ system still works is seen in the case of betking.
Upon entering an already saturated market in 2018, betking invested heavily in physical shops to go along with the online presence.
The result is that betking has become one of the top bookies in the country, arguably the second biggest after bet9ja.
Of course, betking’s rise can be attributed to a lot of factors, including a very aggressive marketing campaign in the broadcast media, but having shops all around Lagos has also gone a long way in pushing them into the consciousness of the public.
Establishing betting shops also serves as a form of CSR, as it creates employment for the shop owners and betting agents. This also helps the company score more points in the eyes of the public.
Raw statistics would suggest that retail shops may not be the most attractive option for a new betting site, but upon closer inspection, it may be well worth the investment in the long run.