Lagos Gambling Regulator LSLGA Issues Ban On Unlicensed Gambling Sites

The Lagos State Lotteries and Gaming Authority (LSLGA) is cracking down on unlicensed operators, instructing citizens to refrain from betting on illegal platforms. The update, released earlier last month, included a list exposing 43 operators that the state regulator claimed were accepting wagers without an appropriate license, thereby breaching Section 33(3) of the state’s law.

The announcement will undoubtedly impact several segments of Nigeria’s thriving gambling industry, which has experienced significant growth due to the widespread availability of smartphones and the internet, as well as the renewed interest in sports betting, thanks to the country’s rich sports culture.

This just goes to show that those seeking to register with sportsbooks or online casinos offering sports betting platforms should do so through the right channels. There dedicated sites offering comprehensive catalogues of fully licensed and regulated providers, like this updated list compiled by NoDepositExplorer, that’s worth checking it out.

Cause For Confusion

The LSLGA statement, released under the caption “Public Notice on Unlicensed Gaming Companies in Lagos State,” drew criticism from the National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC) due to its inclusion of several operators holding licenses from the official national regulator. In fact, 20 out of the 43 operators listed were in possession of a federal license, allowing them to operate legally in the country.

The commission revealed that the LSLGA’s public statement had caused significant confusion, leading to numerous inquiries about the status of the operators named and shamed in the notice for allegedly operating ‘illegally.’ Given their role as an agency of the law tasked with regulating Lottery and Gaming in Nigeria, the NLRC found it necessary to clarify the situation. The Commission expressed regret for any misconceptions the misleading publication caused for licensees operating within the legal framework of Nigeria.

However, it should be noted that numerous operators listed by LSLGA, including most of the lottery operators, as well as prominent betting entities were not addressed in the Commission’s clarifying statement, leading many to speculate that they are, in fact, operating illegally.

Online Gambling Landscape

The Nigerian gaming landscape has experienced tremendous growth over the years, securing the second-largest share of the gambling sector in Africa. It is also regarded as the most profitable region for online gambling providers. While in-person casinos and sports betting locations are among the most popular gambling sectors, the online gambling industry is gaining traction despite operating solely through offshore sites, with no regional representatives for this online business.

Last year, the country introduced a new remote operator permit, allowing offshore-licensed operators to provide online gambling services in Nigeria without a local presence. The businesses will only be eligible for a remote operator permit if they are already in possession of a valid license from another jurisdiction and intend to offer services such as sports betting, bingo, slots, and other casino games to Nigerian players.

Valid for five years, operators will need to pay an initial sum of $100,000 to acquire a valid permit, followed by $50,000 in fees for each of the next four years. The terms and conditions, issued by the Nigerian National Lottery Regulatory Commission, detail the rules permit-holders must abide by.

Changing for the Better?

While the gambling industry appears to be changing for the better, ushering in a new wave of online providers, the situation with regards to the current laws and regulations is not as straightforward as the country would like. It is clear that their legislative framework needs more work if they want their new online industry to continue to thrive.

Since licensing it is evident that licensing in this jurisdiction has many grey areas, this automatically makes it less attractive for foreign operators to set up shop and boost the economy. Understandably, unlicensed operators need to be shut down, as they inevitably put gamblers in vulnerable positions, making them more susceptible to scams and other financial crimes.

The convenience and accessibility online casinos bring is unmatched. If the NLRC works alongside the LSLGA to ensure that all licensing requirements are clear and consistent, the income from legal online gambling operations may quite possibly be a great source of profit for the state and the country’s overall development. Nevertheless, it is not something for certain and there is an array of variables that come into play.


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