Sports betting industry has undoubtedly in recent years witnessed an increasingly burgeoning growth as it continues to leverage Nigeria's huge football culture.
Sports betting and gaming industry in Nigeria has day by day continue to enjoy ostensible growth and expansion.
Even globally, Sports betting has been noted to be a big business and enjoying tremendous growth on each passing day.
In Nigeria, it was gathered that about 60 millions Nigerians are actively in Sports betting and there are over 50 betting site presently operating in Nigeria.
The surge in the Sport betting industry in Nigeria is undeniably attributable to the overwhelming numbers of youths in Nigeria. Having carefully studied recent statistics, it is no dubio that Nigeria has been rated to have the highest number of youths in Africa actively engaged in sport betting.
More so, Nigeria is one of the many Africans countries engulfed with the epidemic of online sports betting,this includes online poker, casino games et al.
Nairabet was the first domestic online sport betting website in Nigeria, since its existence many others gambling websites have joined the train with the likes of Betking, Merrybet, Surebet, Collabobet e. t. c.
According to statistical portal(2015) even though it will be difficult to accurately estimate the total value of global sports betting due to the inconsistency in the regulatory and financial environments, however responsible survey estimated the value of sports betting at around 100 billion US dollars and 1000 billion dollars, while in fact the illegal betting only might be as high as 500 billion US dollars.
Some bookmakers have even speculated that the sports betting industry is now worth over one trillion US dollars.
It is worthy of note that any figure on the process of betting is merely indicative of the official gambling as most gambling activities are undocumented and operate at informal levels.
CONSUMER PROTECTION IN SPORTS BETTING IN NIGERIA
The protection of consumer in any industry is crucial and important as it assures the consumers that their interests are safeguarded from unfair practices.
The interests of consumers within the sports betting industry in Nigeria are protected by the regulatory agencies.
Which are National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC),
Lagos State Lotteries Board (LSLB) and other State Lotteries Boards
Agencies who also have the mandate to protect the interest of consumers are the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) and the Competition and Consumer Protection Tribunal (CCPT)
The FCCPC and the CCPT are agencies of the Government under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment, whose powers are derived from the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act, 2018. These two agencies are at present, the most powerful consumer redress and monitoring agency in Nigeria.
The FCCPC has wider investigative and enforcement powers whilst the CCPT on the other hand acts as a quasi-judicial body to which appeals from the decisions of the FCCPC and decisions of any sector specific regulatory authority in a regulated industry in respect of consumer protection matters will lie.
Furthermore, the Act stipulates a very steep penalty for contraventions. For instance, where there has been a contravention of any consumer rights, it stipulates a fine of 10% of the turnover of the business in the preceding business year.
In Nigeria, the conditions under which punters place bets leave them without the protection that is available to other consumers in other industries in the economy especially in situations when consumers win huge amount of money.
It is pivotal to state that there are two general legal ways to consumer protection.
The enforceability of contracts in Nigeria means that the courts and/or regulatory bodies will approve remedies to bettors who suffer loss in consequence of the conduct of the betting company. Furthermore, regulatory bodies are given the power to exert through the courts, financial remedies from bookmakers in favour of identifiable bettors in consequence of the former’s breach of specified standards.
The second way to consumer protection is through the public. This is done by leveraging on public patronage as the public imposes certain duties on the suppliers which he or she must comply with. A detected breach may lead to societal backlash and thereby occasion loss of patronage and revenue. This approach typically involves leveraging public patronage and sympathy to protect consumers who have been treated unfairly by betting companies.
In conclusion, the consumers in the sports betting market, need to be aware of their rights whenever they feel it is being infringed upon or they are being treated unfairly by Sports betting companies. Many bettors have been treated unfairly and have buried these issues under the carpet. However, with more awareness, many bettors can seek redress and protect their interests through regulatory bodies and regulations targeted at protecting consumers.