In Nigeria, online sports betting is exploding in favor of the World Cup in Russia. This is one of the vectors likely to accelerate the development of online payment in a country that is still poorly banked.
With what is at stake in the game scheduled for Tuesday night, the draw why not the Super Eagles victory over Argentina, there is enough to galvanize the ardor of Nigerian punters. The deposit of sports parties on football has attracted many online gambling companies. Russian, Slovak and Italian platforms are already present in this large African market. British bookmaker Betway arrived in January and launched a massive promotional campaign for the World Cup by offering a round trip and two seats to attend the match scheduled for tonight, the same gift offered by the number one in the market, Nigerian Bet9Ja. The Nairabet start-up claims two million customers. An activity that contributes to the promotion of financial inclusion to an audience that sometimes does not even have a bank account.
Nigeria is an economic giant but still a dwarf when it comes to digital finance.
Nigeria is among the African countries where less than 10% of adults have a mobile account, according to the Global Findex, the World Bank's financial inclusion index. When Kenya, the forerunner in this area, exceeded the 40% mark. Nigeria is also one of the least banked countries, with just 40% of adults having a bank account. This delay is partly explained by the recent economic difficulties of the country and also partly by the lack of computer security, the slowness of the Internet, the fear of fraud and scams have dissuaded users. A situation that has improved a lot recently thanks to payment technologies offered by local start-ups, PayStack and Flutterwave.
The services of these two start-ups were quickly adopted by online gaming companies and acclaimed by their customers.
PayStack is the most popular payment method for those who play on the Nairabet site. The start-up founded two years ago by two young Nigerian computer scientists thanks to an incubator in Silicon Valley is booming. It has raised more than a million dollars with the support of Chinese Tencent and US Comcast. Paystack is not just for gambling sites, it is also a technology favored by Nigerian transport and insurance companies. Fluterwave, the other local startup, launched at the same time, is also growing at a rapid pace with one foot in Silicon Valley. She raised ten million dollars to ensure her future development.
Does the online gaming market represent an important part of digital payments?
The turnover is estimated at one billion dollars today in Nigeria. This activity has taken off since last year. As evidenced by the jump in tax revenues levied on sports betting, they increased by 30 to 40% between 2016 and 2017. A trajectory that follows that of online payments. Year over year the number of digital transactions has doubled. Sports betting is therefore one of the engines of financial inclusion in Nigeria. There is still a lot to do in this area in Nigeria: 98% of cash flows are still made in cash.