ABAKALIKI – The thrills of the ongoing World Cup in Brazil on Monday caught up with several fans in Abakaliki, Ebonyi, as several betting groups emerged in viewing centres across the city.
A News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) correspondent monitoring activities at the viewing centres, reports that the fans formed groups, where varying sums of money were staked on the outcome of matches.
The fans bet amounts varying from N5, 000 to 50,000, depending on the perceived strength of competing teams as they contributed money in groups and also bet individually.
The fans bet N50, 000 for the first round match between England and Italy, and Nigeria and Argentina for instance.
The bet amount is given to a neutral individual usually referred as “facy’’.
Obinna Iheme, a viewing centre operator at Ogoja Road, Abakaliki, said he encouraged such acts because it attracted viewers to his viewing centre.
“I do not see anything wrong in what my customers are doing as it is part of the World Cup thrills and a source of financial empowerment to them.
“I alongside the ‘facy’get some commission from the betting.
“people who feel the act is illegal are wrong,’’ Iheme said.
A member of a betting group, who spoke anonymously, said that in events where competing teams drew, the money would be returned to the stakers.
“The amount of money we bet has now increased as the competition enters the knockout stages and is expected to increase further as we approach the quarter-finals and semi-finals stages and the final.
“We are negotiating to bet N100, 000 with a rival group for the final match.
“The unpredictable outcome of matches in the competition has made permutations complex and financially rewarding,’’ he said.
Jude Ezekoka, a viewing centre operator at Kpirikpiri area of Abakaliki, said he averted trouble in his place by making the betters agree to stipulated terms and nomination of a capable ‘facy’.
“We ensure that they abide by all terms of agreement and nominate an honest and strong `facy’ who will not be fraudulent and be strong in cases of intimidation and attacks by betters,’’ he said.
The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Ebonyi Police Command, Mr Chris Anyanwu, said the police had no business in such issues. (NAN)