What Are the Odds: Social Capital, Social Currency, and Sport Betting in Nigeria


The discourse on sport betting both in academic literature and media is largely dominated by negative narratives of addiction and economic consequences. This paper, however, looks beyond these negative consequences to consider the positive social consequences of sport betting. More specifically, the study explores the acquisition of social capital and social currency amongst sport bettors in Nigeria. This is important to reshape the discourse and fill the existing gap in the literature. Also, given the growth and inevitability of sport betting in Nigeria, there is value in redesigning sport betting policies. Social capital refers to actual or potential profits that arises from social relationships or networks. On the other hand, social currency is the worth of the benefits. Individuals draw or use the social currency when they obtain social support or deposit the currency when they provide social support. To investigate these issues, we deployed a phenomenology informed qualitative research design. Data were collected via semi-structured interviews with 45 male and female Nigerian sports bettors aged 18 - 50 years (male and female) recruited from within Oyo State. Thematic analysis was utilised to draw themes across all the cases. The findings showed that sport betting enables bettors to establish interpersonal relationships that enabled information sharing and social support. Sport betting also generated both bonding and bridging capital. Whilst the negatives of sport betting no doubt exist, government policy needs to also reflect the benefits of sport betting. Implications on community wellbeing, social policy and ideas for future research are also discussed.


Richard Ajiee
Programme Leader BA Global Tourism/Lecturer, School of Hospitality and Tourism, Auckland University of Technology (AUT), Auckland, New Zealand

Geoff Dickson
La Trobe University

Mistura Kehinde
Lecturer, Sociology , Leadcity University, Oyo, Nigeria

Temitope Oguntola
Business development , Marketing and strategies , Interwagers Nigerian limited, Lagos, Nigeria


Presentation Type

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session


Sport Betting and eSport


Sport Betting, Social Capital, Social Currency, Sport for Social Change

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