Nigerians Take To Betting, Online Pyramid To Survive

By Ikenga Chronicles October 18, 2016

Nigerians Take To Betting, Online Pyramid To Survive

Thousands of jobless youths, unemployed and semi-employed adults have hinged their hope of surviving the pangs of hunger induced by the economic recession in the country on sports betting and online pyramid schemes.

There is a common slang among those who have embraced betting for survival. They often ask: “Who can pay?” The usual response is: “It is the betting company that can pay.” This, according to one of them, who gave his name as Demola, is because most of the unemployed people draw their monthly ‘salaries’ from betting.

He said: “Some of us have searched for jobs for several years without success. It has even reached a point where some of us have become frustrated. But now we can smile. “For me, football is a passion. Initially, I was not interested in betting. I was just interested in my favourite team in the English Premier League (EPL).”

“I also enjoy good football matches across different leagues. But I saw some youths staking and winning money almost on a daily basis, so I decided to try my luck. I must confess, I have no regret doing that. Now, if a job comes my way I will take it, but I no longer fret over my inability to secure a paid job.”

Demola, a graduate from one of the nation’s institutions of higher learning, disclosed that he was even making a weekly contribution from his winnings.

Another man, who gave his name as Oluwatoyin and lives at Oke-Aro, a border community on the fringe of Ogun State, said he loves sport betting. Oluwatoyin, who said he lost his job about two and a half years ago, described sport betting as a reward for passion.

He said: “Getting passionate about your favourite sport, especially football, is good. So, getting reward in form of winnings from betting is also good. I bet regularly and I also win on a regular basis.”

“Betting is a big business globally. So winning in betting is like a reward for someone’s passion.”

According to him, betting is not only for football, it cuts across different sports.

“Every sport tourney, be it football, swimming, track and field, car racing such as Formula 1, hockey, volleyball, basketball, etc, are veritable avenues for betting. Winning depends on luck, most of the times. Because when you stake based on prediction of maybe about five football matches, once one of them fails, you win nothing.”

According to him, predicting the outcome of more matches correctly increases the money to be won.

But a businessman, Mr. Ola Akintade, said he had always enjoyed watching football matches. Betting, according to him, was not the reason he watches football. He said: “I am a football lover. I eat, sleep and live football. But I do not bet because I do not believe it is good for a Christian. I do not think it is Biblical but I have nothing against those who do. I have a lot of those who bet as friends.”

Another football fan, Mr. Chikezie Henry, said he could not be addicted to betting. “I play the game when I want to, I just see it as fun that goes along with football and as I catch my fun I also win some money sometimes,” he said.

Some lovers of sports and betting are however worried about the issue of one wrong prediction ruining other correct predictions. A man who gave his name as Olawale noted that wrong prediction was a major drawback to betting.

“It is true that we make our winnings but it is not as always as we want. The fact that one wrong prediction makes you lose other ones you have predicted correctly in a particular ticket is annoying.I don’t like it,” Olawale stated.

But on his part, an agent of a sports betting company, Mr. Femi Adeleye, said losing out when one prediction fails is the fun in the game.

“This is what makes the game more interesting. If you are made to win all the correct predictions you made in a game, say 20 games, and the wrong predictions you made are forfeited, it is no longer a game.”

“In this game, when all your predictions are correct, you have won all and when one of your predictions is wrong, you have lost all,” Adeleye explained.

Also, many Nigerians now depend on online pyramid scheme where they pay money in form of help into the account of those seeking help. The most popular of the pyramid schemes is MMM.

MMM, according to information obtained on its website, is a community where people help each other.

“MMM gives you a technical platform, which helps millions of participants worldwide to connect those who need help to those who are ready to provide help, for free,” it adds.

According to Akintade, who is a registered member of MMM, the person offering help is called PH, while the receiver is GH. The guider, he added, is the person under who others registered.

Akintade disclosed that MMM is a multi-layer pyramid. He said: “When you register, you have to offer to provide help of equivalent of $10 in naira, which is the minimum. Once there is anyone in need of help, MMM will send the name and account number of that person to the PH. The account must be credited within 24 to 48 hours. Thereafter, another person would also pay money into the account of the GH, which will come with about 30 per cent interest.”

Although the scheme is reported to have sailed into turbulent water in some African countries, particularly in Zimbabwe, Nigerians contributing to MMM have remained resolute in their support for the pyramid.

One of the contributors to the scheme, who gave his name as Kayode, said the pyramid would never run into problem in Nigeria.

“There is nothing anyone can say about it that will change my mind about the scheme. I have joined in the last couple of months and I have been enjoying the contributions. It is what some of us depend on to survive the economic recession,” he added.

Another of the online pyramid scheme is CrowdRising, whose contribution is denominated in naira. For this scheme, the minimum contribution is N7,400. It has four grades. For Grade 1, when a contributor pays N7,400, five others will pay N7,400 each into his account, totalling N37,000.

Subsequently, if he pays N14,800, he receives contributions of 25 others amounting to N370,000. The amount somebody pays increases by N7,400 at every level.

But this, according to Akintade, may soon run into a serious problem. He said:

“For instance, someone on Grade 3 who pays N22,200 will receive N2,775,000. What stops him from taking the N2.7 million and stop further contribution? And for the last level, he rakes in N23,125,000 from a paltry contribution of N37,000. It is incredulous.”

Despite the risks of sports betting and pyramid schemes, they continue to flourish in Nigeria as many grapple with unemployment issues and the harsh realities of failing economy.

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