These days most developed and/or developing countries boast land casinos, and Nigeria is no exception. Although there are only three licensed and regulated bricks and mortar casinos in the country, they are extremely popular and attract both locals and tourists.
Two of the casinos are located in the nation’s most famous city Lagos, while the third is located in its capital, Abuja. While these casinos don’t have the kind of selection or quantity of games you’d find in vast gambling centres like Las Vegas, they have more than enough of a choice to keep any punter or hotel guest with a small or large chip stacks entertained.
Nigerian Casino Resorts and Hotels
At the time of writing, the Nigerian Government has only licensed three casino / hotel resorts, which are the Federal Palace Hotel and Casino, the Le Meridien Eko Hotel & Suites and the Transcorp Hilton Abuja.
Lagos Land Casinos
Federal Palace Hotel and Casino
Owned and operated by hotel and casino giant Sun International, this premier 5-star Victoria Island casino resort with 10 categories of rooms is the place to go in Lagos for both local and visiting gambling fans.
In its tastefully decked out casino, you’ll find 106 state-of-the-art slot machines to choose from, as well as a Blackjack, Hold’Em Poker and American Roulette tables. Slots are available 24/7 while table games are available 19h00 to 04h00, Monday to Sunday.
If you’re a Sun International Most Valued Guest (MVG) cardholder, you’ll be able to enjoy a slew of regular and generous casino promotions.
If you’re a gambling novice, however, you can take advantage of Federal Palace Casino’s Learners’ Night, where you’ll be instructed on casino game rules, tips, etiquette and even strategies to increase your chances and skill levels.
Le Meridien Eko Hotel & Suites
Located on the picturesque and elite Victoria Island, Le Meridien Eko Hotel & Suites is one of THE places to be seen in Lagos, which is why it is often frequented by the who’s who of the city.
Adjacent to the hotel, which comprises 600 rooms with 8 restaurants and bars, and close to the massive convention centre (which is reportedly the largest of its kind in Nigeria), is the casino which is open from 10am daily, and boasts a plush and welcoming décor.
It features 17 exciting poker and table games, all of which you can play in Nigeria’s own Naira currency. The casino is staffed by a host of friendly, efficient and professional dealers, croupiers and waiting staff, all of whom speak English.
They have been specially trained to make your Nigerian land gambling experience as easy, comfortable and entertaining as possible.
Abuja Land Casinos
Transcorp Hilton Abuja
Part of the renowned Hilton Casino dynasty, this 600-room hotel is widely considered to be one of the gems of the accommodation landscape in Abuja, the esteemed capital of Nigeria.
Located near the centre of the city, the hotel is a fitting and elegant add-on to the city, and one that attracts a large number of tourists and locals each year.
Part of the reason for this is its elegant casino, which has a small but entertaining pick of games. These include 40 gaming (slot) machines and 9 table games (Blackjack and Roulette), all of which are manned by friendly and professional dealers who are all fluent in English.
Background on Nigerian Land Casinos
Given Nigeria’s somewhat turbulent past, it is unsurprising that its land casino industry is fairly new, having been established as recently as 1999. Despite gaining its independence from the United Kingdom in 1960, Nigeria’s fragile new coalition government only lasted six years before a violent and bloody civil war broke out, which raged from 1967 to 1970.
Between 1970 and 1999, Nigeria was ruled with an iron fist by series of military dictators, few of whom had the country or its citizens’ best interests at heart. It was only just before the new millennium that democracy finally reigned in the country, which paved the way for reforms, including the amendment and addition of various gambling laws and Acts.
Although Nigeria has 36 states, to date only two of them are home to licensed land casinos - Lagos and Abuja. It is puzzling why more land casinos have not been established in other states, but it likely has something to do with the fact that in most parts of Nigeria, lottery games and sports betting and pools still reign supreme as the gambling types of choice.
Land Casino Gambling Laws
Because there is no specific or sole gambling act in Nigeria that determines and dictates the status of gambling as a whole in the West African nation, one must look to various Acts that specify what constitutes permitted and non-permitted land casino games and practices.
For instance, Chapter 22 of the Criminal Code Act (implemented in 1999) specifies that “unlawful” games include Roulette, dice games (with the exception of backgammon), card games that don’t require skill, chacha and other cowries (shell) games. Presumably, any games that do not fall under this category must be permitted in land casinos in Nigeria.
The Act goes on to say that any person caught operating a common (unlawful) gaming house is guilty of a misdemeanour and is liable for a one thousand naira fine and/or two years in prison. This includes of making/accepting bets on the outcome of races, fights, games, sports, matches or exercises.