In this article we'll discuss the 'ins and outs' of gambling in the oil-rich West African country of Nigeria, which consists of a number of licensed and regulated lotteries, land casinos and betting operations. These gambling operations are operated in accordance with a number of Nigerian gambling laws and acts, which collectively determine the types of gambling games permitted.
With regards to online casinos in Nigeria, no acts or laws have to date been proposed to legalise and regulate it. This means it is a prosecutable offence for anyone or any firm to own and/or operate an online casino in Nigeria. That said, there aren't any laws to prevent Nigerians from playing at offshore owned and operated online casinos that welcome players from Nigeria.
Although international online casinos that accept Nigerian online gambling fans are few and far between, you'll find the very best and most lucrative of them listed below.
Featured Nigerian Gambling Sites
A History of Gambling in Nigeria
Leading up to the new millennium, betting pools, lotteries and slots were the most popular form of gambling in Nigeria. Although various gambling authorities, laws and policies were already in place (including the Casino Taxation Act of 1965, the Lagos State Lotto Authority, a Lotteries and Pools Betting Law), gambling across the nation was largely unregulated.
The Gaming Machines (Prohibition) Act of 1977 even made the import and owning of gaming machines (slots) illegal in Nigeria, with the sole exception of licensed casinos.
However, the country's gambling landscape began to change in the late 1990s, with the passing of new policies and laws to better govern and regulate gambling in Nigeria. These included the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999), Taxes and Levies Act (1998), Casino and Gaming Law of Lagos State (2004), the National Lottery Regulatory Commission (2007).
These new laws and polices also paved the way for the privatization of certain gambling sectors in the nation.
In addition, as internet and mobile technology has become more widely available in Nigeria, so has online and mobile gaming. The result is that post 2000, gambling in the nation is split into 5 categories which are (from biggest to smallest) betting, lottery, promotions, slots and pools.
Gambling Legislation and Regulation in Nigeria
Citing chapter 22 of the Criminal Code Act (1990), the Nigerian government has defined legal and illegal forms of gambling. Legal forms include betting, lotteries, racing, pools and selected casino games (including slots, Blackjack and Roulette). Illegal forms include non-skill based card games and other "games of chance" considered unfavourable to players.
Nigeria's various gambling laws are applicable to gambling operators and players, although the penalties and punishments for operators are far more serious. In addition to the Criminal Code Act, there are various other gambling laws that govern the operation of gaming machines in Nigeria.
Currently none of Nigeria's gambling laws are pro-online casinos (online betting, yes). This means it is illegal to own or operate online casinos within the country. That said, there is little the government can do to stop citizens from playing at offshore online casinos (which accept Nigerians), including those featured right here on this site.
How to Attain a Gambling License in Nigeria
To attain a gambling license in Nigeria, operators must be approved by the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), Special Control Unit against Money Laundering (SCUML), and the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP).
Some operators are also required to secure a Capital Importation Certificate, and liaise with the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to get a Tax Identification Number and register for Value Added Tax (VAT).
Bear in mind, however, that only games that comply with Section 57 of the nation's National Lottery Act (2005) can be offered legally, which include lotteries, sports betting / pools and bricks and mortar casinos.
According to the Act, a "lottery" or "lotteries" includes any game, scheme, agreement, system, plan, promotional competition or device for the distribution of prizes by lot or chance, or as a result of the exercise of skill and chance or based on the outcome or sporting events, or any other game, scheme, agreement, system, plan, competition or device, the President may by notice in the Gazette declare to be lottery and which shall be operated according to a licence.
Many lotteries in Nigeria are licensed by the Lagos State Lotteries board, which regulates gaming firms that run lotteries and/or games of chance, which include public lotteries, sports betting, interactive games, scratch card games and promotions / competitions.
Types of Gambling in Nigeria
Nigerians favour four main types of gambling namely lotteries, land casinos, sports betting and more recently online gambling at offshore owned and operated sites. In addition thanks to the evolution of smart phone technology, many Nigerians have started to play the lottery, place their bets and visit casinos using their mobile phones and devices.
These are the most popular types of gambling in Nigeria...
Nigerians love their lotto draws which is why the nation has a number of licensed and regulated lottery operators.
The National Lottery Act of 2004 began regulating a national online lottery game, Lotto Nigeria. The aim of the Nigerian National Lottery is to raise funds for the development of National Sports and other good causes for the nation.
To play the Nigerian Lotto you must pick 6 numbers between 1 and 49. Predict the winning numbers and you'll win the jackpot. Predict 3,4 or 5 correct numbers and you'll win the corresponding pay-out.
The addition of Quick Lotto, another nationwide online lottery, is a Nigerian initiative with daily/weekly lotto draws and instant scratch games. These comprise daily Quick 5 lotto draws and a weekly Mega Hammer draw. With the rise of smartphone usage in Nigeria, players can now enter lotto games using their phones.
A few of the most recognised lotteries in Nigeria include:
This firm has point of sale (POS) terminals in shops and outlets throughout Nigeria. You can buy tickets for its fixed odds lottery a shot at winning large jackpots.
Its games comprise Banker, Three (3) Direct (NAP3), Two Sure (NAP2) and Permutation. Gab Lotto works closely with federal and state lottery boards to ensure transparency and responsible play is practiced in the lottery industry.
Anambra State Gaming Company
Launched in 2016 as a joint venture between the Anambra State Government and Global Gaming Co. Ltd, the ASGC is the official gaming operator of Nigeria's Anambra state. It operates state lotteries, sports betting, raffle, pools, slots, casinos and various other gaming offerings.
Superior Games Ltd
This Nigerian gaming company is licensed under the Lagos State Lotteries Law 2004, and regulated by the Lagos State Lotteries Board. It has two main brands - Big Games and Superior Bet.
Big Games consists of 3 fixed odds lottery games: Super Games, Mega Millions and Global Games, while Superior Bet allows punters to bet on various sports, including virtual dog and horse racing, and tennis, basketball and football matches.
Nigeria has three premier land-based casinos where you'll find a selection of slots and table games to help you while away the time. Two of them are located in the capital Lagos, and one in the city of Abuja.
Federal Palace Hotel and Casino (Lagos)
Owned and operated by Sun International, this 5- casino resort is the place to go in Lagos for local and visiting gambling fans. There, 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.
Le Meridien Eko Hotel & Casino (Lagos)
Open from 10am, the casino features 17 poker and table games.
Transcorp Hilton Abuja (Abuja)
The casino features 40 slot machines and 9 table games including Blackjack and Roulette.
Sports betting is big business in Nigeria, where people can wager on sports in betting shops or over the phone at various Nigerian sportsbooks. Football betting is particularly popular, as is basketball, tennis, cricket and other local and international sporting events.
Betland is one of Nigeria's most popular domestic bookmakers, with over 100 betting shops nationwide. As a regulated Nigerian betting firm, it allows you to place bets at any of its shops in person or via its online betting platform.
Winasbet is another major Nigerian sports betting operator, with 110 outlets in Aba, Abuja, Benue, Calabar, Eboyin, Eket, Enugu, Ikot Epene, Ilorin, Lagos, Nassarawa, Port Harcourt, Suleja, Uyo and Warri. It offers a host of betting lines for football, virtual football and other sports.
Online Sports Betting
Nairabet was Nigeria's first domestic online sports betting site which boasts well over 100,000 customers. It offers sports and live betting and the option to play casino games. It is licensed and regulated by the Lagos State Lotteries Board. You can make deposits/withdrawals to and from your account at any of its outlets in Lagos or via its website.
Winners Golden Bet is an online sports betting site based in Lagos. This online sportsbook allows Nigerians to wager on many different football fixtures, basketball, tennis, baseball, virtual dog racing and virtual football leagues, to name a few betting markets.
Merrybet is another licensed Nigerian online bookmaker, which offers a wide choice of sports betting markets including football, rugby, tennis and darts. As a Nigerian-based sports betting website, they accept bets in Nigerian Naira (NGN).
You won't have to search much to find various other sports betting sites that cater to the Nigerian market. Nigerian sports bettors will also be able to place sports wagers anywhere, anytime using the mobile services offered by these online sportsbooks.
Although Nigerians are fond of online sports betting, online casino gambling is also growing in popularity. Some offshore online casinos welcome players from Nigeria and even process payments in NGN as well as offer safe and secure Nigerian-friendly banking methods.
Licensed offshore online casino operators are very popular with Nigerians. This is due to their sheer convenience, 24/7 availability, vast selection of games, and the fact they're licensed and regulated in reputable and respected gaming jurisdictions, to give players peace of mind.
These days most reputable online casinos have mobile versions which are pretty much identical in every way except they offer fewer games. What this means is that most Nigerian-friendly online casinos have mobile counterparts that can also be accessed and enjoyed by Nigerian virtual casino fans.
Most of our recommended online casinos that accept players from Nigeria are mobile-friendly and are thus accessible by the main mobile operators in the country, including MTN.
All you need to access and play at Nigerian-friendly mobile online casinos is a late model smart phone or device like a tablet, fast and secure internet connectivity (via Wi-Fi, 4G, 3G or LTE) and the means and method to fund your online casino account quickly and securely.
Because most mobile online casinos have web-based HTML5 games, you can play them from anywhere in Nigeria (that has mobile and internet access) on pretty much any make or model of device regardless of its operating system (Android, Apple iOS or Windows) for the ultimate in gaming privacy, flexibility and convenience.
Illegal Gambling in Nigeria
There are a number of illegal gambling houses spread throughout the country, from unlicensed slot machines to underground casinos. However, under these circumstances if you were to lose your playing funds or winnings suspiciously, there is no recourse, which is why you're better off sticking to licensed casinos and betting operations.