LOTTERY LICENSE: BETTING RULES IN NIGERIA
By Iwo Bulski
Besides being among the largest petroleum exporters in the world and having the biggest economy in Africa, Nigeria is known for its love affair with gambling.
The West African nation has a range of gambling activities like sports betting, charity-based lotteries, pools, and selected land casino games. As such, the country’s overall gambling market is estimated to be worth over 65 million US dollars.
Though the figures are still pale compared to other African gambling-loving countries like South Africa, which generates over 1.5 billion dollars annually, the value is still notable. That because Nigeria only has a few licensed and regulated land-based casinos, compared to South Africa’s 40+ spread across its nine provinces.
Besides the minimal number of land-based casinos in Nigeria, the country’s gambling laws also need a major overhaul. For instance, gambling operations in the country fall under the gaming machines and Criminal Code Act of 1977. That’s because the law doesn’t make any allowances for mobile or online casino gambling, which is currently on the rise thanks to sites like Betway. There’s also no law preventing Nigerians from visiting offshore-operated casinos, gaming and betting sites willing to accept them.
Online Gambling in Nigeria
In Nigeria, all gambling activities are governed by the country’s National Lottery Regulatory Commission, under the Gaming Machines Act of 1977. However, the definition of gambling activities in the country is documented in the Criminal Code Act of 1990. The act doesn’t provide regulations for activities like the Betway sports betting, but it recognizes sports betting, lottery, and land-based casinos as legal forms of gambling.
Today, online betting in Nigeria is big business, with thousands of punters betting on different games daily. There are several betting operators in the country and Nigerian can also join offshore operated betting sites to place wagers. Nonetheless, there’s a wide variety of markets, lines and sports that Nigerians can wager on. That includes basketball, motorsports, football, soccer, virtual dog racing, and more.
Land casino gambling licenses in Nigeria
Before any operator can open a land-based casino in Nigeria, he has to go through the long, tedious, and complicated process involved in applying for a license. That’s why the country only has a few casinos, although Nigerians love gambling. For a start, the prospective operators need to be examined by the NOTAP (National Office for Technology acquisition and Promotions).
The SCUML (Special Control Unit for Money Laundering) and NIPC (Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission) will also need to approve. Additionally, applicants must have a secure Tax Identification Number issued by the FIRS, register for VAT (Value Added Tax), and get a Capital Importation Certificate). As such, any application is only considered after meeting all these requirements.
Successful applicants and license holders can operate land casinos, betting pools, and sports betting or charity-based lotteries per the license terms. The games permitted in such casinos include Blackjack, Roulette, Casino Hold’em and slots, though the Criminal Code Act prohibits games of chance. The Lagos state Lotteries Board has also licensed several lottos in the country.