Nigeria is well-known to have complicated gambling laws. But despite that fact, Nigeria also has one of the largest gambling markets in all of Africa. Sports betting, lotteries, and land casinos are immensely popular among its citizens. In fact, Nigeria’s gambling market is expected to reach, if not surpass, up to $60 million soon.
Nigeria Gambling Laws and Regulations
- Nigeria has confusing laws and regulations when it comes to gambling.
- Some gambling activities are legal while others are prohibited.
- On the other hand, there are gambling activities that can’t exactly be classified as legal or illegal.
- Nigeria follows two major laws when it comes to gambling and they are The Gaming Machines Prohibition Act of 1977 and The Nigerian Criminal Code Act.
The Gaming Machines Prohibition Act of 1977
Here’s a summary of The Gaming Machines Prohibition Act of 1977:
- This act specifies that owning and operating gambling machines is illegal in Nigeria.
- Anyone caught violating the law might spend up to a year in prison when convicted.
- All proceeds that came from operating the confiscated gambling machines will also be turned over to the government of Nigeria.
- Any gambling device or machine that is operated by a token or coin and entices people to gamble in order to win money is considered to be a gaming machine.
The Nigerian Criminal Code Act
The Nigerian Criminal Code Act can be summarized by the following statements:
- In Subsection 1 of Section 236 under Chapter 22 of The Nigerian Criminal Code, the Act states that any property or venue where illegal gaming occurs is considered to be an illegal gaming house.
- If an owner, operator, occupier, or manager of an illegal gaming house gets caught, he’ll be charged with a fine and if convicted, might face up to two years of imprisonment.
- This act specifies which types of gambling are legal and which of them are prohibited by law.
The Three Legal Gambling Activities in Nigeria
Although Nigeria’s gambling laws are complicated, it’s clear that some types of gambling are 100% legal. The only gambling activities that are considered lawful in Nigeria are the following:
- Land-based casinos
- Sportsbetting and pools
Land Casinos in Nigeria
Here are some interesting facts about Nigeria’s land-based casinos:
- Nigeria has three licensed land casinos which are the Federal Palace Hotel and Casino and Le Meridien Eko Hotel & Casino in the Lagos region, and the Transcorp Hilton in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja.
- Each casino has enough gambling machines and enjoyable games to keep the players interested.
- These casinos have a wide variety of table games and a sufficient number of slot machines.
- Blackjack, Casino Hold’em, and American Roulette are the most popular among Nigerian casino goers.
Lotteries in Nigeria
The following are quick facts about the lotteries in Nigeria:
- Only public lotteries are authorized to operate in Nigeria.
- Anyone who’s caught acting like a middle man between the public lottery and the buyer will be charged with a fine and might spend up to 6 months in prison if convicted.
- A lottery includes any method, game, or device where the money’s worth will be distributed in any manner to be determined by chance, according to Section 240 in Chapter 22 of the Nigerian Criminal Code Act.
Betting and Pools in Nigeria
Here are some facts about sports betting and pools in Nigeria:
- It is stated in Subsection 3 of Section 239 in Chapter 22 of the Nigerian Criminal Code Act that “any house, room or place which is used for the purposes of a licensed pool betting business shall not be deemed to be a common betting house by reason only that it is so used”.
- The Act allows both the use and operation of polls and betting houses in Nigeria, provided that these are the only types of gambling currently offered.
- It is also included in the Act that operators must use a totalisator or a pari-mutuel machine to ensure the fairness of and equality of the distribution of the total amount of bets.
- Operators are also required to register their betting business with the government in order to be considered legal.
The Lottery Commission Chief’s Statement
Mr. U77Adolphus Ekpe, the Director-General of The National Lottery Regulatory Commission, was the subject of a news feature and stated the following:
- Sports betting is legal and regulated in the country.
- It would become gambling if it was not properly regulated.
- Sports betting is an act of lottery.
- When you do not regulate sports scheme in a transparent way,that is where the gambling aspect comes in.
- The stipulated age for anyone interested in playing lottery was 18 years and above.