Popular punter, Mayowa Ogunlade, aka Mayor of Ekiti, talks about how he became a bookie’s nightmare, why he admires Harry Maguire and more in this interview with ABIODUN ADEWALE
What was growing up like?
Growing up was good as I was born and brought up in a Christian home. My parents gave me the best education, butthey were very disciplined and a little bit strict. So, this didn’t give room for friends in my life or going to friends house or staying out late and all of those things. It’s just to study, study and study. I am an introvert too and I still don’t keep friends and coming from a Christian home, we don’t drink alcohol. So, I grew up with that mindset too; don’t drink, don’t club, don’t party and no friends. And I never regret these because it really brought me far in life.
When and how did you begin sports betting?
I started sports betting in 2019 and one thing about me is that I love to explore different things in whatever I do. I always want my thing to be different. I know people play straight wins mostly in football betting, then I came with a new idea of a market option that carries a big odd. I started with low stake like N500 and N1000 but then I noticed the higher you stake on these odds, the more your potential wins, so I started increasing my stake and luckily enough for me, I didn’t lose plenty games before I got my first winning which was over N500,000 with N500/N1000 stake. The more I won, the more I increased my stake.
Before sports betting, did you try your hands on businesses or other forms of betting?
I tried other online businesses, which are also related to betting, for example I did FOREX. FOREX is not different from sports betting. I traded bitcoin, importation, web developing, programming, binary international, fiverr and few more online moneymaking stuff before I started sports betting.
How much is your biggest win yet?
In a single ticket was N47m. But in a day as we play and edit, the same game accumulated over N60m.
People don’t know about your lost bets. Are they more than your wins or you hardly lose bets?
We lose a lot in sports betting, but the reason I am different is because I deal with big odds, odds that even if you stake N500, your returns will be over N200,000 when you win. So, if you win N200,000 with N500 and you keep staking your N500, before you lose N50,000, you would have won another big odd. And no, my losses are not more than my wins. As far as I am concerned, bookies are on the losing side.
Does your heart skip or jump while monitoring your bet slips?
I don’t monitor bet slips and I always advise my followers not to monitor bet slips because the more you monitor bet slips, the more you won’t have rest of mind. If you monitor bet slip it won’t change whatever players will play on the pitch. Once I stake on game, I tell myself the money I staked is gone already because I always stake what I can afford to lose. So, I don’t monitor bet slips; I just wait for the outcome of the games.
Being from a Christian home, what are the thoughts of your parents about sports betting?
They told me to stop at a time when they knew about it, but I told them I am not addicted and I know the rules. So we are cool.
Not so many are lucky to win bets. How would you describe the addiction that comes with betting especially for those still waiting for big wins?
I will say luck and grace plus a little statistics are what make you win in sports betting. I tell my followers, ‘if you have been into betting for a long time and you can’t record good wins, please stop as it will ruin your life.’ I know the rules of betting, so, I am not even close to being addicted to it. My rules are always stake what you can afford to lose, don’t chase your loss and don’t play bets with funds meant for a purpose like school fees, house rent, business, etc. People don’t know these rules, they just came into betting and when they win one small money they think that’s how easy it is. So, they tend to keep playing, hoping they will recover their money, but then they end up losing more money. By doing so, they start getting addicted to gambling, which is not good.
Bookies became stiffer with you at some point. How are you coping with that?
My prediction is always on basketball; I stopped football betting 2019. With basketball betting we have won a lot till it took weeks for bookies to pay us our winnings. They tend to increase their basketball lines by more points on their bookies, so the result can favour them but then as a betting expert, I always find my way around them. It’s not an easy run, but then we always succeed.
Have you ever considered quitting betting?
Yes, I considered quitting and I am doing so gradually, reason being that sports betting is not my job, it’s just a side hustle for me and I always like to carry people along. So, when I consider quitting, I always think about my followers that have been hoping on my games and believe in me. I just want everyone to win big, if not everyone, at least 50 per cent and it has been happening and will keep happening.
You run a foundation that takes care of people’s needs, what’s the inspiration behind this?
I can say I am a philanthropist, I know how hard the country can be. Things are hard in the country, so, I tend to help people will the little I have. Mostly when we win bets, people with different business problems, family problems and different sicknesses make comments under the comments section. My heart won’t take all these things seeing there’s a way I can help them too, so I always help the ones I can. Later, I just created a Twitter account for helping people online, instead of using my personal account.
You schooled in Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko, Ondo State. How was life on campus and were you noted for betting in school as well?
Life on campus was really good, the ony thing I didn’t like was how the indigenes harassed the new students who just resumed school all because they want money from them. But then I hope that has stopped by now. And not everyone knew me for sports betting back then, except people that follow me on social media and know I am the Mayor of Ekiti.
Betting aside, how passionate are you about football, basketball and other sports?
I am not passionate about football at all and I don’t even watch football games, but I am very passionate about basketball and it’s my favourite sport. I am a Chelsea fan anyway, but that was during the days of Didier Drogba, Claude Makelele, Joe Cole and so on. And in basketball, I don’t have a favourite team, but I admire a lot of players. Another reason I am not passionate about football is why will 22 grown men with good salaries and weekly allowances, who live in the best mansions and eat the best food, come together on a certain day to play for 90 minutes and end up playing 1-0 or 0-0. It’s bad for punters, so, football is not for me.
If you would liken yourself to a sports star, who would that be?
Harry Maguire. It’s funny but it’s him because of the never-give-up spirit and you can do it and you will do it attitude, no matter how bad it seems.
Are you considering owning your own betting company in the future?
Yes, I am considering that for the nearest future and I am not afraid of punters giving me nightmares. I am always ready.