Reps’ move to regulate/ban sport betting necessary?

Recently, the media was awash with reports of the House of Representatives moves to regulate or outrightly ban sports betting in Nigeria as a result of negative effects on Nigerians, especially the youth. PAUL OKAH speaks with a cross section of Nigerians on the move by NASS.

‘It’s unnecessary, uncalled for’

I don’t support the National Assembly’s move to regulate or ban sports betting. It’s not necessary. It’s uncalled for. The truth of the matter is that sports betting has been keeping our youths busy and distracted, away from insecurity and social vices.

No matter the disadvantages you may link to sports betting, the advantages are many. The major thing is that, with sports betting in different forms, Nigerians are able to provide for themselves and not resort to stealing, armed robbery, kidnapping, and other social vices.

Businessmen can play it, civil servants can play it, artisans can play it, and any other person. With money got from other sources including salaries and businesses, they stake certain amount to augment their incomes.  They do this without bothering the government, families, and friends. Presently, sports betting is a source of hope to millions of families. Men are now able to afford certain lifestyles they hitherto couldn’t and provide for their families. Therefore, it will be calling for an unrest if government wants to deprive people of their source of joy. It is not what we need in these trying times of economic hardship, please.

The lawmakers should turn attention to something else, not sport betting. The negative energy is not necessary, please.

… Andrew Tyouka, civil servant

Move in right direction – Gbenga

With the negative aspects of sports betting, I must say that I am in full support of the federal government either banning or regulating sports betting.

Complaints associated with sports betting are simply too many and call for concern and urgent attention or intervention by honest reasonable people.

Do you know that many families have been thrown into mourning because the breadwinner or husband committed suicide as a result of losing his bet? Do you know that many people have lost money belonging to their companies to sports betting and they are languishing in different jails?

Do you know that many people have taken to petty theft just to raise money to place bets? Which they often lose. The list is endless.

In the Nigeria of today, one out of 10 people is into one form of sports betting or the other, it cuts across gender and age bracket; men, women, boys and girls, the old and young are involved. This includes people who are gainful jobs. You will see a long paper folded in their pockets called coupon or slip, that is what gives them away. So, it’s really a cankerworm that needs to be addressed.

I am glad our lawmakers are now making effort to address the issue, no matter how late. It is never too late to make an effort, but it’s good to start from somewhere and address an issue before it becomes too late.

…Kingsley Gbenga, entrepreneur 

Banning sports betting ill-advised – Ahmed

I was amazed when I read reports of House of Representatives members move to stop sports betting in the country, even as they urged the National Lottery Regulatory Commission to comply with the Lottery Regulatory Commission Act, 2005.

My take is that it is not necessary. Banning sports betting is not what we need in Nigeria at the moment. This is because it is an avenue for many people to make money as there is high unemployment rate in Nigeria. Even those who are employed are not paid much or owed salaries, so they use winnings from sports betting to augment their incomes.

Therefore, the move by the Reps on February 15 is ill-advised. We are going through difficult times in Nigeria, so this is not the right time for such an issue to come up. It goes to add to the suspicion or allegation by many that the lawmakers receive fat salaries and allowances, but turn blind eyes to laws they would make for the betterment of the country.

Let them retrace themselves in order not to lose the support of many Nigerians benefitting from sports betting. It is the hope of many to survive in a harsh economy.

 …Yakubu Ahmed, businessman 

Reps should be commended – Anita

I totally agree with Reps to ban sports betting in Nigeria. The thing is getting out of hand. It is being abused by Nigerians on a daily basis, especially children. Perhaps, you did not know that many adults send their children to place bets for them. This is despite the fact that it is supposed to be for those between 18 years and above.

Apart from the abuse of sports betting and exposure of children, there are also mental health problems and other things that would encourage the ban. They include depression, anxiety, or addiction, strained or broken relationships due to lying or stealing from friends and family, financial problems, legal issues, and job loss due to excessive loss or debt, increased crime rates and eventually committing suicide under. Therefore, the Reps should be commended for taking this giant stride, which is necessary.

Nevertheless, I am surprised that, following the public backlash from youths all over Nigeria, the motion moved by Hon. Kelechi Nwogu from Rives state, the Rep member has denied moving a motion to ban sports betting. Rather, he said he is committed to fostering responsible gambling and creating a fair and transparent industry.

He said further that the Bill he sponsored was aimed at protecting players’ rights and ensuring compliance in the betting industry and contrary to media reports, the motion does not aim to ban sport betting. So, it remains to be seen what will be the outcome.

 …Anita Okafor, teacher 

Move ridiculous, insensitive – Nnamdi

The move to ban sports betting is ridiculous. This government is confused. In a country where people are struggling to make ends meet, they want to crush the masses with another policy that will render more people jobless. It is very insensitive. The government was trying to create a distraction and divert public attention from the sorry state of the economy. The reasons put forward by the lawmakers are untenable because of several other human endeavours, which produce the same effects of addiction, depression, among others.

I’m saying it is a Trojan Horse to deviate public attention from the bad decisions they have made which has driven the country off a cliff. Sports betting isn’t the problem. Inasmuch as it could be addictive, so are other things like opioids, sex, alcohol, etc. If you go to the hospital, and they give you morphine to numb pain. Isn’t morphine addictive? Are they going to ban that too? It doesn’t make any sense.

Everyone knows too much of anything isn’t good. But are you going to ban everything that has an addictive proclivity? Sports betting had become a source of income for many Nigerians, so it is cruel for the lawmakers to propose banning it when nothing has been done to provide the teeming youth population with employment opportunities.

I describe the proposal to ban sports betting as the handiwork of some jobless people. It is disappointing for lawmakers to attempt to muzzle away food from honest Nigerians at a time of unprecedented economic hardship. 

…Joseph Nnamdi, civil servant