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.


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