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More women turn to gambling amid hardship

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By Usman Oladimeji

Economic difficulties are challenging traditional gender expectations.

Amidst the mounting financial difficulties in Nigeria, there has been a trend in increasing numbers of women turning to gambling as a means of financial support, which is a surprising turn out. The economic environment in Nigeria has been tumultuous lately, with inflation rates on the rise, unemployment levels increasing, and the weakening of consumer spending power. The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported that headline inflation reached 29.90 percent in January, up from 28.92 percent in the previous month. At the same time, food inflation went up to 35.41 percent, up from 33.93 percent.

Millions of Nigerians are facing the harsh reality of needing to find additional sources of income to survive. A recent report by Orange Business Intelligence Technology (ORBIT) revealed that Nigeria’s betting industry generated more than $2 billion in revenue in 2020. It was reported that daily expenditures in this industry reached $5.5 million, with over 60 million Nigerians aged 18 to 40 participating. In the same year, a National Sports Industry Policy projected that the industry had the potential to bring in $4.7 billion in annual revenue, produce as many as 10 million job opportunities, and contribute 1.5 to 3 percent of the GDP over the course of a decade.

Betting is no longer seen as taboo for women.

The betting industry is booming due to the influence of football culture, making it one of the fastest-growing sectors nationwide. Both the National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC) and the Lagos State Lotteries Board (LSLB) have granted more than 100 betting licenses, signalling a growing trend. Economic difficulties are challenging traditional beliefs, with betting no longer seen as a taboo for women. Women are not just involved in betting, but they are also running betting shops that have popped up all over the nation.

Women have shown remarkable flexibility and strength in response to economic obstacles, as witnessed by the shifting cultural standards. Throughout history, gambling has been primarily linked to men, so women getting involved indicates a shift away from traditional gender expectations. With the rising costs of living, women have been pushed to seek out new ways to make money out of necessity. A recent discovery showed that women of varying social backgrounds, including those with limited education and those in professional settings, are now engaging in betting activities.

Positive reviews online draw more women to betting.

In Nigeria, different groups of people engage in various forms of betting. Those in urban areas often participate in Baba Ijebu, while the more educated individuals opt for sports betting, which can conveniently be accessed through mobile apps. Additionally, the rise of social media has spurred the participation of Nigerian women in betting activities. Women are drawn to the industry by the betting advice and positive reviews posted by fellow bettors online. There has been an increase in the number of women working at betting shops across various neighbourhoods in Lagos, including Obalende, Mushin, Oshodi, Ojuelegba, Ikotun, Iyana Ipaja, Igando, and more.

This trend has sparked concerns about how the rising cost of living is affecting society. Although their determination is admirable, it emphasizes the pressing need to tackle the underlying issues causing the high cost of living in order to establish lasting economic security. Udukheli Izebuno, a writer and consultant on LinkedIn, highlighted the significant impact of the booming sports betting industry on Nigeria’s economy. Not only has this market grown rapidly in recent years, but it has also provided entertainment to millions of people.

Related Article: Gov’t to boost revenue through betting

Izebuno highlighted the impact of online betting platforms in increasing the participation of women in gambling, suggesting that the accessibility of these platforms has played a significant role in this trend. Access to free online gambling sites has provided women with a more discreet and convenient way to engage in betting activities. The increase of online gambling platforms in Nigeria, including casinos, sports betting apps, and lottery sites, has provided women with a stigma-free environment to participate in these activities. Gender equality movements have further encouraged female involvement.

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