What this means is that it’s neither legal nor illegal to gamble in online casinos in Nigeria. This is as long as the locals are playing at offshore-based gambling sites like the Australian online casino 24K Casino. Nigeria is also not too strict yet when it comes to regulating gambling activities unlike how the United Kingdom does things.
Online Gambling in Nigeria
Online gambling came to the country in 2006 and this was around a decade later when casinos went online. Back then, online casinos required software download for people to be able to play casino favorites like poker, roulette, and blackjack.
A popular casino site back then was 32Red Casino where people can play any casino games. This was one of the first few online casinos that accepted Nigerian Naira and transactions with major Nigerian banks.
Gambling activities in Nigeria are now regulated by the National Lottery Regulatory Commission or the NLRC. NLRC’s regulations are based on the National Lottery Act of 2005 and the Money Laundering Prohibition Act of 2011.
Today, some of the most popular gambling sites in the country are Bet9ja, 1960bet, Nairabet, and 9jaPredict. Ultimately, UK-based gambling companies are the ones that are dominating the Nigerian market, but as this sector grows, we’ll likely see more operators from other countries offer their services here.
It is also estimated that the country’s online gambling revenue each year is at least 400 million USD. It is also estimated that around 60 million Nigerians would actively place their bets on sports each year.
Based on these, casino games are illegal but they have nothing on offshore online casinos. This is why the locals are still free to play at some of the best online casinos listed by sites like onlinecasinos.com.
With the rise of mobile technology, more and more Nigerians are also starting to show interest in mobile gambling. Thanks to powerful smartphones and mobile devices, anyone can gamble on the go. Nigeria’s internet infrastructure has also significantly improved in the last decade.
Thanks to all that, the locals can play high-quality casino games and easily transact with the local currency.
Since there are now many online gambling companies that are in the Nigerian market, they are all trying to find ways to get new customers. Most of them are now offering bonuses that are hard to resist. It’s also hard to avoid gambling anyway. Nigeria is also a country that loves sport which means many are also interested in sports betting.
BtoBet reported in 2020 that sports betting has been a crucial sector in Nigeria’s gambling industry. The locals are fond of betting on football, especially on big events like the Spanish La Liga and the English Premier League.
PriceWaterhouseCoopers also reported in 2108 that Nigeria was the second-largest online betting market in Africa. That year, the country had a Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR) of over 58 million USD.
Analysts also estimate that Nigerian punters spend around 5.5 million USD per day on their favorite activity. There are also speculations that the annual turnover of sports betting in the country is already worth around 1.9 to 2 billion USD. Unfortunately, it’s hard to gauge since online betting is not strictly regulated here.
What is the Future of Online Gambling in Nigeria
The rise of online gambling in the country has somewhat pressured African countries and Nigeria is one of them that legalized certain online casinos. This is why the NLRC has issued local licenses to certain companies.
Several major online casinos are now operating legally in the country, but offshore casinos are still in the grey area. This is why the competition is still tough for these operators. However, since the NLRC is now involved in local regulations of online casinos, Nigeria will likely take more steps on regulating online gambling activities.
It’s not surprising if eventually, Nigeria will only allow locally licensed online casinos to operate and offer their services to the locals.
PriceWaterhouseCoopers has also predicted that the country’s GGR would grow at least 16% by the end of next year. It will continue to do so even after next year. That said, online gambling is one of the industries that are helping Nigeria’s economy rise as it has been doing so over the last few years.