Nigeria presents the best opportunity of all

A few years ago, PriceWaterhouseCoopers released a report called the Gambling Outlook 2013/17 which studied the pace at which gambling might grow in Africa over the next few years.

Of all the countries included in the report, Nigeria came out top in terms of being the one with the potential for the fastest growth, which could be anywhere north of 17% in terms of year-on-year growth.

Lotteries held at national level are regulated through the National Lottery Act of 2005 which determine how they should be run, what taxes are paid by both the Operator and the winners and what other measures need to be put in place to ensure everything runs smoothly and fairly. In 2011, the Money Laundering Act was put in place to establish measures and penalties relating to Money Laundering offences, which apply to the Gambling industry.

Whereas both of those are relatively recent Acts, most of the other ones relating to Gambling in Nigeria are from a while back.

For example, the definition of ‘gambling’ can be found in the Criminal Code of 1990 and the Gaming Machines Act of 1977 is the one that relates to gaming machines such a slots and video poker.

At present, there does not seem to be a set plan by the Nigerian government to get this legislation updated.

For example, 2013 saw the first-ever Nigerian online casino open its virtual doors. NairaGames Casino has admittedly shut down since but it shows that being granted a licence to operate as a legal online casino there can be done. Further proof of that is the fact that not only are there five licensed online sportsbooks, but two of them also have online casino games on their site.

What does the law say?

As things stand, Nigeria can be said to be semi-regulated.

The law states that legal betting includes skill-based card games such as Casino Hold’em, Roulette and Backgammon, which can be played at one of three legal bricks-and-mortar Casinos in Nigeria. These three Casinos also offer sports betting facilities which make up a greater share of the country’s revenue generated from gaming than all the table games put together.

There are currently also a handful of Nigerian-based and owned sports betting sites. These are extremely popular and 100% regulated.

It is also legal to bet on state-run betting pools and horse racing totes. These two forms of gambling are actually regulated very strongly with measures put in place to ensure every bet on them is registered, the winnings are divided equally and properly among the pool winners and that any establishment running them is licensed before being open for business. Anyone running these operations without the proper license can face heavy penalties including huge fines and imprisonment, all of which reiterates the point that everything needs to be done by the book and that of course is where our work as consultants will be invaluable in making sure that no stone is left unturned.

Similar licensing requirements and subsequent penalties to those who do not have them also apply when it comes to running lotteries.

Understanding Nigerian Law and how to interpret it is therefore paramount and for those who succeed in making it work in their favour, the business potential is almost unparalleled.



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