After our extensive research on the Nigerian law, including speaking to legal experts in the country, we found that online sports betting is indeed legal in Nigeria, and is regulated by several bodies.
Online betting is legal in Nigeria and you run zero risk of legal prosecution when betting online!
However, there is still a grey area regarding some other forms of online gambling, particularly online casinos, with the law failing to explicitly state whether it is legal or not. In this article, we will examine the laws governing online gambling in Nigeria, and offer our advice on the best way to proceed in your betting adventure.
Are all sports betting sites legal in Nigeria?
Any sports betting site that is licensed by either the National Lottery Regulatory Commission or the Lagos State Lottery Board is perfectly legal and safe to bet on. Before issuing licenses, these regulatory bodies put the betting sites through stringent examinations, ensuring that they are reliable, secure and financially stable.
Any sports betting site that is licensed by either the National Lottery Regulatory Commission or the Lagos State Lottery Board is perfectly legal and safe to bet on.
Once you have confirmed that the bookmaker is registered on these platforms, please go ahead and enjoy the exciting world of sports betting. Examples of betting sites licensed by both the NLRC and the LSLB are
Most of the registered bookmakers in Nigeria, like Bet9ja, 1xBet and Betway, all offer online casino services, suggesting that the lawmakers and governing bodies are very fine with that form of gambling.
If you are still in doubt, you can sidestep the Nigerian-based online casinos and play your games on foreign sites. Make sure that whichever site you select is licensed by reputable international gaming bodies before going ahead to play.
Online Gambling Laws in Nigeria
The popularity of online gambling has grown astronomically in Nigeria over the past 20 years, leading to the creation of new laws and the establishment of regulatory bodies. The National Lottery Act of 2005 and the Lagos State Lottery Law of 2004 (amended in 2008) are currently the most relevant laws overseeing gambling in Nigeria.
The above-mentioned laws served to establish several regulatory bodies with the responsibility of controlling the online gambling environment in Nigeria. As such, the government is keeping an eye on both the security of Nigerian players, while also ensuring that the proper amount of gambling taxes are collected from betting sites.
We will now have a look at the two regulatory agencies and the functions they serve in Nigeria
National Lottery Regulatory Commission
The National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC) was established through the National Lottery Act of 2005. The Commission is responsible for regulating the operation of lottery businesses in the country, promoting accountability and transparency in lottery and protecting the interest of players, stakeholders, and the general public.
The Commission has its headquarters i, Abuja, as well as offices in 15 other states, including Lagos, Delta, Edo and Kano States. The NLRC issues three different types of licenses, namely: Lottery License, Sports Betting License (Online and Offline) and Promotional Permit.
Before giving out a sports betting permit, the commission demands that any potential operator meets a long list of requirements, some of which include:
- Payment of a non-refundable application and processing fee of 2,000,000 Naira
- Name and profile of Director and other key personnel
- A minimum share capital of 30,000,000 Naira
- Evidence of domain name registration
- Details of planned games and events (live betting, sportsbook, virtual games etc.)
- Security system, including information on types of servers, firewalls, clouds, routers and other security features
There are a lot more requirements from the commission, but we have listed these to show you that online sports betting is well-regulated in Nigeria, and any potential operator is put through an elaborate process before being granted a license.
The National Lottery Act doesn't specifically mention anything about online casinos, but given that a lot of the licensed gambling operators openly run online casinos without being reprimanded, we can assume that the commission is OK with it. You can find the list of licensed operators on the National Lottery Regulatory Commission website.
Lagos State Lottery Board
Being the commercial heartbeat of Nigeria, Lagos hosts a significant number of betting sites operating in Nigeria. It is therefore not surprising that the state has its own independent board to monitor gambling within its shores. In fact, the Board predates the National Lottery Regulatory Commission, as it was established by the Lagos State Lottery Law of 2004, and commenced operations in 2005.
The Lagos State Lottery Law was later amended in 2008 in response to global development in the gaming industry and the peculiarity of the Nigerian environment.
The Lagos State Lotteries Board is responsible for regulating lotteries, sports betting, casino, gaming machines, pools betting, promotional competitions, scratch card and interactive games, and other gaming activities within Lagos State.
In July 2016, the Lagos State Ministry of Finance transferred the administration of the Casino and Gaming Law of 2007 and the Casino and Gaming Regulation of 2008 to the Lagos State Lottery Board.
However, the Board only regulates and issues licenses to land-based casinos, and doesn't say anything about online casinos. Does that make online casinos illegal? No, we don't think so. At least until a proper law is passed against it!
The law is silent about online casinos, but with numerous casinos operating freely in the state, including those on licensed betting platforms, the Board is clearly comfortable with the activities of these casinos.
Up until the latter part of the 20th century, gambling in Nigeria was largely unregulated, but as betting and lotteries became more and more popular in the country, the government felt the need to enact gambling laws and set up regulatory bodies to monitor the activities of gambling operators and players in the country.
The Gaming Machines Act of 1977 banned the importation, ownership and operation of gaming machines within Nigeria, while the Criminal Code Act of 1990 defined the legal and illegal forms of gambling.
Now that you know that online betting is very legal in Nigeria, go into the betting world, have some fun, get lucky and make some money!