Nigeria has the biggest percentage of crypto owners in Africa, according to Statista. More than 15 million Nigerians—mostly young tech-savvy people—own cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Unsurprisingly, Nigeria is the biggest market for crypto sports betting sites. To be fair, Nigeria is Africa’s most populated country. It has a population of 200M+ people, making it an excellent target audience for iGaming businesses.
But why is the country falling in love with crypto gambling?
Crypto is a Viable Store of Value
The biggest reason for crypto gambling’s popularity in Nigeria has everything to do with Bitcoin being a store of value. According to Cointelegraph, roughly 17 million Nigerians store half of their financial assets in crypto.
Cointelegraph says Nigerians love Bitcoin and Ethereum because the country lacks adequate financial services. Sure, Nigeria is full of banks and mobile payment apps.
However, most of them don’t process payments to international betting sites. And if they do, they tend to be slower and more expensive than using cryptocurrencies.
For the uninitiated, cryptocurrencies are a limited commodity. Bitcoin has a maximum of 21 million coins. More than 19 million coins have already been mined from the blockchain. By the time the last Bitcoin is mined in 2040, the cryptocurrency will be a scarce commodity. This will, in turn, magnify its value.
Crypto Supports International Payments
Sports betting is legal in Nigeria. The best sportsbooks in the country have licenses from the National Lottery Regulatory Commission. Some of them also operate with licenses from the Lagos State Lottery Board.
That said, many Nigerians prefer to bet through offshore betting sites located in Europe or the Caribbean. Foreign sportsbooks provide bigger bonuses, better odds, and quicker payments.
Unfortunately, using offshore sportsbooks means relying on payment methods with cross-border support. This is where crypto comes in. Bitcoin supports transactions in all countries.
It doesn’t matter whether you live in Enugu State or Sao Paulo, Brazil. If you want to send money through Bitcoin, all you need is a crypto wallet and Bitcoin in your account.
Most crypto casinos support a minimum transaction amount of $10. As such, crypto betting is affordable to the majority of Nigerians. That said, crypto also supports large amounts, making it an excellent option for high rollers.
A Growing Number of Crypto Sportsbooks
Crypto betting hasn’t always been a thing. Until 2017, it was difficult to find a betting site with support for altcoins. Things are changing, though. New crypto sportsbooks keep cropping up.
To the millions of Nigerians who love crypto, these new sportsbooks solve all their problems. First, they provide a way to deposit money reliably. Most of them accept the top five cryptocurrencies.
You can use Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, or USDT. Top betting sites also reward you when you complete your first deposit. They might give you a risk-free bet. This means you bet using your money. But if you lose, you get a free bet.
The most popular welcome reward, however, is the 100% bonus. You get exactly what you deposit. If you deposit 10 LTC coins, you receive 10 Litecoins. If you deposit one BTC, you receive an equal amount as a bonus.
Beyond bonuses, crypto betting sites rival PayPal and Visa sportsbooks in every other way. They’re mobile-friendly. They provide efficient customer service and support a wide range of sports.
Speed is one of Bitcoin’s biggest selling points. Bitcoin processes payments on an average of 20 minutes. Surprisingly, most people actually prefer to use Ethereum and other coins because they’re faster.
Ethereum—the most Googled cryptocurrency in Nigeria—processes payments in under five minutes. If you use Ripple or Solana, the payment speed lowers to a minute or less.
Speed is crucial for sports betting. Picture this. You had forgotten Nigeria has a game against Ghana in the afternoon. You’re confident in the Super Falcons. But for you to bet on the team, you must deposit money quickly.
Bitcoin provides convenience in such situations. It completes deposits to betting sites quickly. It might be slower than PayPal. But PayPal doesn’t work in Nigeria. Also, it’s considerably fast for withdrawals—most bookies take 1-3 days to process betting cashout requests.
Crypto Provides Financial Autonomy
As we mentioned earlier, half of crypto owners in Nigeria buy Bitcoin to store their wealth. The reason crypto is such a popular option for securing assets is that it provides autonomy.
Once you buy Bitcoins and store them in a safe wallet, they belong to you permanently. It’s not like fiat cash. If you store one million Naira in a bank, there’s no guarantee your bank will let you withdraw it a week after.
With crypto, you have total control over your funds. You can use it to bet on football. Or you can keep it as an investment. You don’t need permission to use your digital currencies. And yet, these funds could make you rich during a good bull run.
Low Payment Fees
Another reason some Nigerians prefer to bet with crypto is that it’s cheaper than local banks. Banks charge fixed amounts, say $20 for every payment. If you plan to spend less than 2000 Naira, it doesn’t make sense to pay via wire transfer.
Credit and debit cards offer free deposits to online merchants. But most of them draw a line where sportsbooks are concerned. They refuse to work with betting sites, especially offshore bookmakers.
Crypto does not discriminate. It operates through a decentralized ledger not owned by any single entity. As such, it processes payments between any two parties regardless of the industry.
When it comes to fees, crypto is all about minimizing charges. In fact, crypto is against transaction fees. It’s just that the entire crypto industry wouldn’t thrive without fees.
You see, every crypto payment needs verification before it’s added to a blockchain. The people who verify these transactions use expensive resources. To reward them, everyone paying with Bitcoin must contribute a small fee to the miners.