Nigerian Online Sports Betting Operator License Requirements

The Nigerian online sports betting industry has grown hugely in the past few years. 60 million Nigerians place bets on sports online at sites operated by more than 40 different companies.

Operators and any newcomers are subject to licensing requirements and regulatory oversight. Sports betting is a profitable part of the economy. Nigerian football culture is one of the reasons for this. Bettors like the idea of being able to potentially turn their passion into profit. Betting on sports has become widely accessible.

This is thanks to smartphones, affordable internet access, online payment and tech advancements. Nigeria’s youth and the country’s high unemployment rate also contribute to online sports betting’s popularity. One example of the market’s popularity is how some operators, such as Bet9ja, NaijaBet, and Nairabet have become blue-chip companies. As a result, Nigeria is home to Africa’s second largest online gambling market.

Nigeria’s Sports Betting Regulatory Framework

Legal and illegal forms of gambling in Nigeria are set out in the country’s Criminal Code Act (CCA). According to the act, legal forms of gambling include sports betting, racing betting, and land-based casinos.

Illegal forms of gambling include dice games, Roulette, card games that are not skills-based, and some games of chance. Something similar is in place for Arabic casino sites. All legal gambling activities are regulated at federal and state levels. However, some stakeholders argue that the federal government’s involvement is not constitutional.

The 2005 National Lottery Act (NLA) made it possible to establish the National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC). The NLRC regulates lottery business operations and gambling activities in the Federation. The NLRC issues licenses and promotes integrity and transparency in gambling online in Nigeria. It also issues guidelines and sets standards nationwide.

A 2007 supplement to the NLA created three different license classes. These license classes are sports betting, lottery, and promotional. Some states have also created municipal agencies and laws governing commercial gambling and lottery businesses. For example, the Lagos State Lottery Board was established through the 2004 Lagos State Lottery Law. A 2008 amendment made it possible to regulate different lottery categories and issue licenses locally.

Obtaining National Sports Betting Licenses

Investors should register a sports betting company before applying for a license. However, promoters of unincorporated companies can apply for NLRC approval to incorporate sports betting companies in Nigeria. When applying, promotors must submit various documents. These include a copy of a Corporate Affairs Commission name reservation approval. Proof of paying the ₦10,000 fee to the NLRC is required too. The three stages of getting a license or sports betting permit are the application, provisional approval, and the post-licensing stage.

Application Stages And Requirements

In the application stage, applicants must submit a form, supporting documents and a non-refundable fee of ₦2,000,000. The provisional approval stage begins after the application has been reviewed. In this stage, successful applicants receive a temporary license. The license is valid for 90 days.

Among the pre-approval requirements are the betting platform’s connection to the NLRC’s monitoring and reporting framework. A bank guarantee of at least ₦25,000,000 valid for at least one year is required too.

After the provisional approval period ends, the NLRC will issue a substantive permit. They’ll also upload the successful applicant’s details on the commission website. Licenses are valid for 10 years from the date of issue. In the post-licensing stage, licensed operators must remit 3% tax on monthly sales turnover. One percent of that goes to the NLRC and 2% to the National Lottery Trust Fund.

Operators must also submit monthly updates. The NLRC conducts quarterly operations audits on all licensed operators. If operators make any changes to the business they must notify the NLRC during the application review or license period. Establishing a prize fund account is a conditional requirement too. The account must hold at least 50% of proceeds from any national lottery. Those funds are used only to pay out bettors’ or gamblers’ winnings.

Operators must monitor and report all irregularities and suspected fraud to the NLRC. Under 18s cannot be sports betting company directors, participate in lotteries or receive winnings. The granting and renewing of gambling licenses are at the Nigerian president’s discretion. This decision is usually based on NLRC recommendations.


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