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How My Betting Addiction Lost Me ₦2.5 Million

My Money Mistake is a weekly PiggyVest series that explores the worst money mistakes real Nigerians have made, and the lessons they learnt from it.

For this week’s episode of My Money Mistake, we spoke to a 27-year-old taxi driver who got addicted to betting, lost ₦2.5 million, and is currently in debt of ₦700k. He tells us how it happened and how he’s been coping with the situation.

Could you tell me about your money mistake?

In 2016, I was looking for a way to survive because my business wasn’t going so well. That’s when a friend introduced me to betting. He showed me the amount of money he’d won, and it immediately caught my attention. In no time, I was hooked. 

How has that been?

From the moment I started betting, the most I’ve ever won is ₦20,000, and I’ve lost up to ₦2.5 million. 

Oh wow. That’s a lot.

I don’t even know why I keep going back. I’ll just call it an addiction. Sometimes, I’ll pray or meet people who advise me, and afterwards, I’ll feel better. But after a while, I’m back there again. 

There was even a time I sold my car to pay off some loans and get into a new business. After I got the money from the buyer, I just got the urge to bet again, and before I knew what was happening, I had lost over ₦200,000 from the money. 

Till today, I’m still in debt.

How much debt?

A little over ₦700,000. It should be ₦300,000, but I’ve also accumulated overdue charges for defaulting on my repayment due date.

How have you been coping?

It’s a battle, and I really hope it doesn’t overwhelm me. I almost considered taking my own life at some point. It got that bad.

I’m so sorry. What’s your plan to get everything back? 

I’m back in business as a taxi driver, and I’ve started paying them off. I’ve also taken up extra jobs. My goal is to clear most of it this year. 

How about the person who introduced you to betting?

It’s been a long time since we saw each other because I cut him off from my life. There are other people who were a part of my life back then that I am also still trying to distance myself from. 

Whenever I mention to them that I am quitting betting, they tell me I’m fooling myself.

Do you have new friends now?

I have some good friends now, as well as my pastor who I often go to whenever I think I have the urge to bet. They often rebuke, encourage, and counsel me.

What did you learn from this experience?

The major lesson I learnt is the importance of contentment. A lack of contentment was what led me to believe that what I didn’t have was better than I already had. If I’d been content with what I had, I wouldn’t have had all these problems.

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