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by Daniela Corfield (2021-10-24)

In 2009 when Akin Alabi of Nairabet introduced sports betting in Nigeria, he obviously did not imagine that the industry will grow so big in less than 10 football seasons. But somebody did. Dotun Ajegbile did not just see the possibilities for massive growth, he also saw the day after ten-football-seasons. Akin had two things working for him; online strength and strong customer service. Until 2016, NairaBet probably had the highest online users.

Dotun found the famous 1960-Bet. He started to breakdown his big ideas and came up with two key strategies; 'company shop spread' and a partnership-portfolio for agents. Two years later,1960 bet was number UNO in the industry.

October 2012, when bet9ja officially launched, it quickly built on 1960’s foundation by opening company shops and creating agent/partnership portfolio. Bet9ja raised the bar when its thinking-team came up with a strategy to target viewing-centers and to support them with materials and training where need be. i am privy to this information because at that time, i was part of the thinking-team.

1960bet quickly applied same strategy of targeting existing viewing centers and Nairabet followed slowly after, as if still testing the waters.

Six months into the business, the future seemed very bright for bet9ja but her management could still not sleep. They looked-out for more opportunities and found that punters spend long idle hours in company shops. They started to imagine that punters could be interested in instant games, Yes, they were right. the outcome of this reaction, led to the industry boom in 2015.

Bet9ja introduced a state-of-the-art virtual dog race into the market through existing company and retail shops (outlets) and it became an instant success.

Virtual games

The dog-race became a success as a result of three deliberate actions by the developers:

1. The idea of instant outcome.

2. Addictive animation.

3. Introduction of Jackpot.

Virtual misconstrue - As successful as the virtual games are, it is often compared to sports betting and some funny industry analyst have gone further, saying it is more promising than SB, thereby misguiding a good number of investors. I cannot think, to call this any other name than ‘racing towards the red line’ But think of it this way, Sports bet invites Punters to the table and virtual games entertain them.

Punters have passion for the sports. Coincidentally, humans have passion for reward and book-makers have found a way to marry the duo.