What You Need to Know About Gambling in Nigeria

by Dave Brown
All you need to know to gamble in Nigeria

Casinos worldwide are forecasted to reach 130 billion U.S. dollars in 2019 but few think of Nigeria as a big gaming nation. Nothing could be more wrong. Nigeria is actually one of the African countries showing great potential and growth when it comes to gambling, especially sports betting. Considering that Nigerians already today are estimated to spend a stunning amount of $25 million EVERY DAY on betting - and the market is only at the beginning of its growth!

Betting on sports has made its way into the market and this may not be a surprise considering the love that Nigerians have for football combined with a young population. International betting operators are joining local entrepreneurs to develop safe payment methods and fair betting as the accessibility to smartphones and fast internet is increasing.

Nigerian Gambling Regulations

Land gambling and lotteries are equal here and the launch of the first online gambling venue back in 2014 paved the way for the future of virtual and land gambling in Nigeria. The gambling regulations in Nigeria can confuse first-time gamblers, as there is no unique law that clearly addresses this activity in Nigeria. What we can find here, however, are two separate federal Acts that define what is allowed and legal and what is not allowed and considered illegal in the industry. 

According to the Nigerian Criminal Code Act, an illegal gaming house is any venue where unlawful gaming is offered. The fine for being caught operating such property is of 1000 Naira and/or two years in prison. This Act, however, does not clearly mention which types of gambling are allowed, which only makes it even more confusing for players and gaming operators alike.

Despite these challenges, many things have changed in terms of the gambling scene in Nigeria in recent years. The continuous expansion of the gaming industry is the direct result of the youthful population as well as the improved internet connection with access to the internet through computers, tablets, and mobile phones. Given the player's dynamics and improved internet access, combined with the strict gambling regulations, it is interesting to keep an eye on the future of the gambling scene in Nigeria. Consumers are expressing a bigger interest toward fun entertainment options that also allow them to potentially earn money, and all of these highlights will need to be considered by the regulating bodies and the main operators in the industry. Gaming companies need to gain their competitive edge by offering the public what it wants: constant innovation and enhanced experiences.

Foreign Players And Their Influence

The Nigerian gaming market is also looking more and more appealing to foreigners visiting the country or working here temporarily. Special emphasis is put on sports betting, with Gameloft, Sirplay and other similar gaming providers working together with gaming companies in the country to grow the industry with the help of advanced technologies and assistance.

Partnerships are therefore the key to success for improving the gambling scene in Nigeria. Telecommunication and e-payment companies are struggling to make gaming a lot smoother and more streamlined when it comes to mobile users.MTN is working together with Premier Bet Lotto colloquially known as “baba Ijebu” in an attempt to enable players to get access to the lottery game using shortcodes. The Nigerian National League has also partnered up with Bet9ja, with the purpose of improving the Nigerian League on the sports betting scene.

What The Future Holds for Nigerian Gamblers

The gaming industry in the country is fragmented due to the numerous many small players looking for innovative means of playing their favorite games. With increasing consumer needs and different behavior changes, it is possible for the industry to be forced to consolidate. Mobile and virtual reality games are a contributing factor here.

There are only 9 licensed land casinos currently available in Nigeria, despite the vast surface of the country and the fact that land casino gambling is one of the three accepted forms of gambling, along with lotteries and sports betting.

Online gambling is also legally prohibited in Nigeria, and any one or any organization found hosting web-based gambling sites within the borders of the country will be liable for prison and/or a fine. In the meanwhile, Nigerians use the legal loophole to bet at offshore sites as many of the international gambling sites with both casino and sports betting allow Nigerian players. 

Passionate gamblers, therefore, do not lack sufficient options and we can expect more venues to get their license and start to function in the upcoming years.

Other Articles in our series of "Gaming Industries Around the World":

Japan - A Casino Market Worth $15 Billion!

Latin America - A growing Gambling Market!

France - On Top of The Gambling World


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