Nigeria boasts the fastest gambling revenue growth rate in Africa despite laws that prevent most forms of gambling outside a few exceptions. Only three land-based casinos operate in Nigeria, yet the country now ranks second only to South Africa in terms of annual gambling revenues according to PricewaterhouseCoopers. It all goes to show there is significant untapped potential for gambling operators in Nigeria.
Nigerian casino sites have no legal authority to operate, but local gaming laws do not prevent residents from visiting offshore gambling sites to play online. There are some laws that make it a crime to be found in a “common gaming house,” but it is unclear if those laws could ever be applied to the internet. In either case, local authorities are uninterested in harassing people for simply playing online.
As such, many of the world’s online casinos do accept customers from Nigeria. Our top recommendations are all licensed in the UK or other European nations where online gambling is legal and tightly regulated. You will have the best and safes experience at the following casino sites.
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As is the case in many African nations, sports betting is the primary growth driver of gambling in Nigeria. Nigerian casinos are permitted to offer sports betting, but the vast majority of sports bets are placed illegally via unauthorized bookies. One report found that Nigerians spend roughly $4.2 billion per year on sports betting, but casino revenue in Nigeria only amounted to $45.8 million in 2014 according to PricewaterhouseCoopers.
The amount of revenue earned by online casinos in Nigeria is unknown due to there being no legal mechanism for casino sites to be licensed or even pay taxes in Nigeria. We do know that foreign casinos are easily accessible from within Nigeria, but their revenue numbers are unknown.
Nigerian Gambling Deposit Methods
Until recently, it was very difficult to move money to and from Nigerian casino sites. Most of the major online payment methods used by gamblers around the world did not accept Nigerian customers and gamblers were forced to resort to a variety of inconvenient workarounds just to make deposits and receive payments.
Things have improved greatly on that front as both Skrill and Neteller now accept customers from Nigeria. You can now sign up for an account with either service and use it to send money to your casino account, receive your winnings and to hold your money. Skrill and Neteller also offer debit cards that you can attach to your account in order to get access to your funds without even involving a local bank.
Some players have reported requesting paper checks to receive their winnings but then reported that local banks were refusing to cash overseas checks. If you win money while gambling online in Nigeria, you may want to ask your bank about its policies regarding foreign checks before requesting a cashout via check.
Gambling Law in Nigeria
The majority of traditional gambling activities are prohibited in Nigeria. The only forms of legal gaming are card games of skill, backgammon, games authorized by the national lottery and anything that takes place inside a licensed casino.
Three licensed brick-and-mortar casinos in Nigeria are the only entities permitted to offer traditional casino-style games such as roulette, blackjack and slots. Nigerian gambling law specifically outlaws most forms of gambling as explained in Chapter 22 of the Criminal Code:
“roulette, every game of dice except backgammon, every game of cards which is not a game of skill, the game known as chacha and other games of cowries, and any game the chances of which are not alike favourable to all the players including the banker or other person or persons by whom the game is managed or against whom the other players stake, play or bet” are all outlawed.
The penalties for operating or visiting unlawful “gaming houses” in Nigeria are relatively minor compared to other countries. If a person is found inside a common gaming house, they are assumed to have been there for the purpose of participating in unlawful gambling and are subject to a fine of 10 naira for the first offense and a fine of 40 naira and/or three months’ imprisonment for each subsequent offense.
Nigerian gambling laws do not mention online gambling as of today. However, the National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC) did at one point authorize a domestic casino site located at NairaGames.com to offer real money games over the internet. NairaGames.com was the only such website to receive the approval of the government, but that online casino has since shut down.
The only form of legal online gambling in Nigeria possible today are online lotteries authorized by the NLRC. The NLRC website has yet to list any approved online lotto license-holders, but there are multiple companies that have been authorized to offer various lottery games. The NLRC website also mentions legal sports lotteries although details on what that would entail are scarce.
It is also unclear how NairaGames.com was able to receive authorization considering Nigerian gambling laws do not mention online gambling. It was reported at the time that the only game on offer at the website was a roulette-style instant win game that they called the “wheel of wealth.” It’s possible the NLRC authorized NairaGames.com as a derivative of lottery gaming in order to authorize the website.
Either way, there are no full-fledged online casinos in Nigeria today. The best option for players is to visit international websites based out of other countries. We know that many of the largest casino websites do accept Nigerians as it is no secret that the country offers potential as an emerging gambling market.
Wes Burns co-founded OnlineCasinoSites.com with a mission to help gamblers understand and navigate the regulated online casino market in all countries around the world. Wes is a respected gambling journalist, working in the industry since 2008.