Before the advent of the now famous Baba Ijebu, gambling in Nigeria was mostly restricted to the football pool betting which involved the prediction of matches to be played in the various leagues in Britain.
But when Baba Ijebu or better still, Lotto, came, it revolutionised the betting industry as people would not have to wait till the weekends to bet.
In the case of the new models, one could bet three times a day with the prospect of winning on each. To make it more enticing, one could bet with as little and Five Naira and win something tangible.
It became the favourites of many as families went into it headlong and even churches gave sure tips on the game.
But now, the influence of Baba Ijebu is dwindling with the coming of sports betting where one can actually win very big money.
But what is the attraction to betting for Nigerians?
Here are 10 reasons betting has come to stay in Nigeria.
1. Variable Rewards
Nigerians who are addicted to gambling believe it provides them variable and unexpected rewards, and they often imagine that their next attempt might fulfil their needs.
You would hear statements like: 'This time, I am going to finish Baba Ijebu' 'I will win N10 million tomorrow and that will be my last'.
This illogical expectation of a variable reward keeps them going for it. For others, though, it might sound illogical but for pathological gamblers, it always a motivating factor.
2. Near-Miss Effect
Just take a look at the faces of gamblers when they collect their tickets and you will confirm that the near-miss effect often propels them to try again.
When they get just one miss from a ticket of four numbers, they would think if they had followed their instinct and played the number they had in mind, they would become instant millionaires.
So they want to believe the instinct the next time and would surely win. You hear statements like: 'Ha, Baba turned my number 34 to 43. Next time, I will finish him.'
When he gets that close, he would assume that he was very close to winning while in fact, the next time he tries, the probability will be the same since the slots will be reset. The near miss effect makes people think they are getting closer and so it keeps them going.
3. Control Illusion
Gambling seems to make people think they are in control while the fact remains that it is the game that actually controls them.
Not understanding that betting is all about luck, they would point at the man who won a huge amount some weeks back and assumes they could be in such a position soon and as such, they just have to play some more.
4. To Make Up For Past Losses
As a gambler loses money in a game, there are chances that he would get addicted to it with the goal of making up for the losses he has had in years.
If he has not won any tangible money in gambling, he would want to keep betting hoping to recoup all he has lost in one fell swoop but the cycle has a way of repeating itself on and on.
5. Winning Becomes A Catalyst
If a gambler wins some amount in a game, chances are that he would stake an even bigger amount hoping to make a kill the next time.
The illusion here again is that once he wins, he unconsciously feels he has the magic wand to predict the game correctly and places a bigger bet to 'close' down the betting company the next time.
When a person wins, certain lights turn on and certain sounds are played in his head. This makes other gamblers think that they have a great chance too and the fact that someone has just won makes the gambler think that he can be the next.
6. Early Wins
A person who wins on an early bet has the tendency to become addicted to the game. For instance, if at the initial stage, he stakes N200 and wins N2000, chances are that he would think the more money he stakes, the bigger money he would win.
While this is going on, he would lose so much money before the next win which would not even be quantifiable with what he has lost over the years.
Gamblers keep losing money but keep gambling because they believe their luck will surely come one day.
Statistics have shown that almost all gamblers lose and that on the long term the only winner is the betting company because even if 10 people win N10 million each, the companies still make a killing with the number of gamblers who lose on a daily basis.
8. Escape From Financial Problems
Financial problems can hardly leave the mind of a person but as soon as he embarks on a gambling pattern he never gets to leave because he believes that the end of his problems has come.
The subconscious mind of a person believes all of his financial problems can be solved and this is why it's a perfect place to escape from those problems.
9. Get Rich Quick Syndrome
Many gamblers believe that people can become rich quickly or overnight and as such, they keep pumping their money into the machines.
They would swap stories of how someone won millions on a single stake and is now living the life of a big boy.
Most times, these stories are made up but try getting a gambler to think otherwise is more like squeezing water out of stone.
Some gamblers are drawn by the passion the have to betting. They are passionate about betting and believe they will one day become as rich as the Dangotes and Otedolas of this world but little do know that those people worked hard to get to the position they now occupy and did not just wake up to get those riches.