The Legal Landscape for Nigerian Online Casinos

There are aspects of gambling that are legal in Nigeria. The Nigerian Lottery was legalised in 2005, and the wider gambling landscape is dealt with under Chapter 22 of the Criminal Code Act enacted in 1990. This law defines which aspects of gambling are legal, including land-based casinos, sports betting, and the lottery.

It does not deal with online gambling. Therefore, there is no determination as to whether this sector is legal or not; it’s a grey area. If there was a regulation of online casinos in Nigeria, it could bring benefits similar to those in the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States of America (USA). Let’s examine this situation in more detail, starting with the problems that the lack of regulation in Nigerian online casinos brings.

The issue of a non-transparent online casino legal situation in Nigeria

You only need to look at the situation with online sports betting in Nigeria to know that there is an appetite for gambling online. In 2019, a report by Research and Markets valued the overall sports betting industry in the country at around $2 billion dollars. Further to this, of the total Nigerian population of 219,921,954, estimates suggest that close to 60 million people bet on sports online.

Currently, a “Finance Bill” is awaiting presidential assent that will amend section 15 of the Companies Income Tax Act (CITA). The amendment will lead to taxation on the lottery and gaming industry and will clarify the taxation situation in this area.

However, given that online casinos in Nigeria are not currently regulated, this taxation legislation will not apply to them. This is an issue given that the government would find this additional revenue useful. A regulated online casino industry could also provide additional jobs in Nigeria, and boost the already healthy economy in a country which has the highest GDP in Africa.


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