Apart from the Nigerian National Lottery, three licensed land-based casinos and certain skill-based card games such as backgammon, most other forms of betting and gambling in Nigeria are actually illegal. Unfortunately, at the time of writing the online and offline gambling markets in the country are not very well regulated or developed at all.
However, Nigerian players do currently have access to some of the best online casinos in the world, plus they can also visit hundreds of world-class online sports betting sites, online poker rooms and other similar online gambling sites because there are no laws in the country that prohibit Nigerians from playing in the real money at foreign gambling sites.
Gambling History in Nigeria
Unlike some countries where we can trace gambling activities back several centuries, there isn’t much information readily available about the history of gambling in Nigeria. However, we do know that the Gaming Machines (Prohibition) Act was introduced in 1977, and this made gaming machines illegal. These machines are classed as mechanical coin or token operated gambling or gaming devices that are used for the sole purpose of enticing people to gamble in the hope they win monetary rewards.
There was also the Nigerian Criminal Code Act of 1990 that made certain land-based gaming venues and most other forms of gambling illegal (apart from the National Lottery and games of skill that were mentioned above such as poker, backgammon and other skill-based card games). The National Lottery Regulatory Commission formed in Nigeria in 2005, and this was to oversee the regulation and monitoring of lottery in the country and to date, only three officially authorized land-based gambling venues operate in Nigeria.
The three casinos currently operate in the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abujam and also in Le Meridien Eko and the Federal Palace Hotel in Lagos. In 2013 the first home-grown gambling site, Nairagames, launched and this could have ended up being the first Nigerian approved gambling site, but it closed down after approximately 12 months citing legal and financial difficulties.
Nigeria Gambling & Online Gambling Laws
To this day there are no other Nigerian licensed gambling sites available to Nigerians, and it seems as though the government isn’t doing much to develop its online gambling market or have a fully regulated gambling industry any time soon. There is no online gambling law in Nigeria that regulates the activities of websites in the country, and this is the main reason why online gambling legislation in the country is still unclear. There are also no local online gambling authorities, which means that Nigerian-based online casinos cannot even apply for a license or officially obtain one in the country even if they wanted to.
Nigerians who are looking to play at online casinos in the real money mode tend to gamble at foreign websites that operate from outside of Nigeria. There are currently no laws that prohibit players or prosecute them from playing at these foreign controlled online casinos or other similar gambling sites and the good news for Nigerian players is that there are hundreds of these sites to choose from. Due to the lack of legislation though, unfortunately, it has led to numerous illegal gambling dens opening and these entice Nigerians into illegal gambling activities. If caught, Nigerian gamblers and the operators of these illegal venues are punished with hefty fines and jail time.
Online Casino Benefits to Players from Nigeria
There aren’t a lot of benefits to players from Nigeria who are looking to gamble online, apart from the fact that there’s no law that prohibits them from playing at online casinos that are controlled by foreign operators (ones that are licensed by foreign regulators). This means that Nigerians can benefit from being able to choose from hundreds of world-class online casinos, but it also means that they have access to hundreds of rubbish ones too.
Some of today’s best Nigerian online casinos are licensed in the United Kingdom, by the Gambling Commission, plus Nigerians can also trust online casinos that are licensed in several other major licensing jurisdictions around the world such as Malta, Gibraltar, Kahnawake and Curacao.
The Nigerian currency, Nigerian naira, is occasionally accepted at online casinos, but US dollars and most other major currencies are also accepted, and you can select your preferred currency when signing up to a casino for the very first time. You can also now deposit and withdraw at Nigerian focussed online casinos using a growing number of popular Nigerian online payment options (e.g. certain e-wallets and most major credit & debit cards).
The main supported language at today’s best Nigerian online casinos is English, 24 hour player support is generally available via telephone (often toll-free), as well as via live chat and email and when you sign up to an online casino you can instantly claim some kind of guaranteed new player welcome bonus. There are lots of other benefits too such as rewarding loyalty programs, having access to some of the best online casino games in the world and being able to play on desktop or mobile and either instantly in your web browser or from within a perfectly secure casino download client.
FAQ Useful to Players from Nigeria
Is it legal to gamble online in Nigeria?
Yes, because Nigerian law does not mention online gambling and there are currently no restrictions on players gambling at foreign-controlled gambling sites.
Am I breaking the law by playing at foreign gambling sites?
No. You don’t have to worry about the authorities knocking at your door when you play online at foreign gambling sites.
What currency do I have to play in at a foreign online casino?
Not all online casinos that welcome Nigerian players accept Nigerian currency (naira), so the best thing to do would be to play in another currency that you may be more familiar with such as US dollars (US$), Euros (€) or Pound Sterling (£).
How do I deposit at an online casino and what withdrawal methods are there?
Nigerians today can choose from a variety of perfectly secure online payment options such as e-wallets, credit & debit cards which can process instant deposits and really fast withdrawals for you at online casinos.
Do I have to download any casino software to play on the games?
Many of today’s best Nigerian online casinos are entirely non-downloadable, but the option to download is also still available at some online casinos, and the other good news is that you can play at these casinos either on desktop or mobile.
Will the Nigerian government try and tax me on my winnings?
No. Players in Nigeria do NOT have to pay taxes on any of their winnings at any foreign gambling sites.
Online Gambling Highlights in Nigeria
- Nigerians can legally play at hundreds of the world’s best online casinos and other gambling sites
- New players can look forward to a guaranteed welcome bonus and then frequent, ongoing bonuses and promotional offers after you have claimed the initial sign up bonus
- Play on thousands of popular games from some of the online gambling industry’s most notable providers (e.g. NetEnt, Playtech, Microgaming etc.)
- Live dealer casino games are also now available at a growing number of fully licensed Nigerian online casinos
- Attractive loyalty programs and also some great perks, benefits and rewards for frequent real cash players thanks to the VIP programs
- Most major currencies are accepted which means that you can play in your preferred currency, whenever Nigerian Naira isn’t accepted, plus you can easily deposit & withdraw using several reliable Nigerian online payment options (credit & debit cards, e-wallets and prepaid cards etc.)
Problem Gambling Help in Nigeriap>Unfortunately there aren’t a great deal of charitable, non-profit organizations that support problem gamblers in Nigeria, so one of the best things that we would recommend doing would be to look to the international community for support. All of today’s best Nigerian online casinos actively promote responsible gambling by providing links and telephone numbers (often toll-free) to several well-known organizations, many of which are based in the UK and have the best framework in place to deal with problem gambling.
Some of the most notable problem gambling organisations that Nigerian players can turn to for support include Gamble Aware, GamCare and Gamblers Anonymous and some of the useful tools and information that you can find on these websites come in the form of questionnaires, faq sections, relevant articles, live support groups, chat rooms and more.