Nigerian Gambling Sector: Evolution and the Present Scenario

No matter what stereotypes we have set in our minds regarding the economy of Africa, it is well-researched and proven that Africa has quite a large economy. The nation of Nigeria, especially, is something that we can talk about when it comes to talking about the economy of the African nations.

Now, one of the major contributing factors to the economy of Nigeria is its gambling industry. Gambling in Nigeria takes many shapes and forms, and the people love indulging in casino games to while away their free time. However, funnily enough, the gambling activities in the country do not get a blank check in the eyes of the law. They fall under the Criminal Code Act and Gaming Machines Act of 1977, which deems gambling as an illegal affair.

However, that has hardly stopped the Nigerians from playing the games and engaging in one or more gambling activities. Gambling in Nigeria has always been a significant part of their culture, and with the entry of several online gambling websites, Nigerians can now play from any part of the world on these sites, if they are careful enough to evade the radar of their country’s law. We shall now proceed to examine how gambling used to be in the nation and also gauge the present scenario.

The Gaming Machines Act and Criminal Code Act

The Gaming Machines Act and Criminal Code Act were passed in 1977 and 1990 to control the illegal forms of gambling in the country. According to the Gaming Machines Act, any activity that involves playing on gaming machines is deemed illegal and makes for a punishable offence. The same holds true for the Criminal Code Act as well. Any form of gambling that is not betting, racing or a form of lottery is considered to be illegal. Only the skill-based gambling activities like the ones we mentioned now, and certain video slot games are allowed in the country. The rest are illegal, and anyone caught indulging in those might have to suffer severe consequences.

Types of Gambling that Are Allowed in the Country:

Gambling in Nigeria can be subdivided into three branches- land-based casinos, betting and pools and lotteries. We are going to be looking into each of these types a bit more closely for a better understanding of how casinos in Nigeria work.

Land-Based Casinos

Land-based casinos are not considered illegal in Nigeria, and there are a few land-based casinos that run with quite a lot of gusto in the country. Some of the most well-known land-based casinos in Nigeria are the Transcorp Hilton, Le Meridien Eko Hotel and Casino, and the Federal Palace Hotel. The games that are mostly played in these casinos are the different types of table games, variations of Roulette and video slots. Games involving chances more than skill are technically illegal in Nigeria, but these land-based casinos seem to be running these games quite well and without creating much nuisance. Also, the land-based casinos that we just mentioned in this section cater mostly to the foreigners and tourists that come to the country more than the locals.

Betting and Pools

The second category of gambling that is permitted in the country is that of betting and pools. However, a totalisator must keep track of the bets placed and see to it that the rules and regulations of betting are duly conformed to, for the efficiency in the domain. Also, it is the responsibility of the totalisator to look into the winnings and divide them equally to the people who deserve the amount. The venues that conduct these betting activities are expected to get their names registered so that they do not find themselves in any kind of legal issues.


Over the last few decades, Nigeria has thrived and how. It has emerged as one of the major producers and exporters of petroleum of the world, and has achieved several other feats. And one of the main contributors to its blooming economy is the gambling industry. The article has tried providing insights into the ways in which the gambling industry in Nigeria runs, so that you can see for yourself how gambling can contribute to the resurgence of an economy.


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