Where can we bet securely and which are the leading bookmakers in Nigeria?
There are not one or two licensed bookmakers in Nigeria, so punters will need help to choose the right website for them. To help with this choice, we provide a table with one of the best online bookmakers which will meet the expectations of Nigerian customers.
Betting in Nigeria is becoming increasingly popular, especially in the online field. Although punters are limited in terms of where they can legally and safely bet in brick and mortar establishments, the internet provides the opportunity for many to access reputable betting companies, and take advantage of great odds on local as well as international betting events.
Interesting Facts about Betting in Nigeria
- The minimum age to legally gamble in Nigeria is 18
- Approximately 60 million adult Nigerians bet regularly, which is equivalent to 30% of the population
- Sports betting is the most common form of gambling in the country
- Online gambling is considered a legal grey area in Nigeria, and punters who continue to play on unlicensed sites do not receive any legal support
- The first local online betting site to get up and running was NairaGames, and that was only in 2013
- Although the online gambling market in Nigeria is growing, it is limited in part because only 47% of the population has access to the internet.
Gambling Legislation and Laws
Some forms of gambling are legal in Nigeria, but not all. Two different laws essentially determine what kind of betting is allowed within the country. The first relevant piece of legislation is the Gaming Machines (Prohibition) Act of 1997. This completely banned all gaming machines that were operated using coins or tokens, and they are still illegal today.
The second law is Chapter 22 of the Nigerian Criminal Code Act, which states that all forms of gambling are illegal, except for card games based on skill (like poker), backgammon, the national lottery, casinos, and state-run betting pools.
Neither of these pertains directly to online gambling, and within the country at a national level, it is considered illegal to own and operate an online casino or sports betting site. However, the government does not regulate what customers do on overseas sites, which is how many Nigerians gamble online. At a state level, Lagos (Nigeria’s largest city) offers licenses to online sites and regulates the market through the Lagos State Lottery Board (LSLB).
Competition between Operators
There is no monopoly when it comes to online gambling; there are a number of different sites that offer their services to the market. This is beneficial to punters because it means that vendors are constantly looking to improve their services and offer better odds, to gain more customers, as well as provide variety.
When it comes to betting in brick and mortar establishments, things are slightly different. There are only a handful of physical casinos in Nigeria that have been granted licenses to operate. While this does not constitute a monopoly, as they are all independent, it does limit the market competition, as well as limit the number of users that can access them.
Bonuses from Nigerian Bookmakers
Nigerian bookmakers offer a range of bonuses for all of their customers. All reputable local and international betting sites offer welcome bonuses for new customers who sign up and make their first deposit, which is usually in the form of credit, or free bets. Beware though, that these welcome bonuses may appear to be high in value, but they can often have strict wagering requirements attached before any actual winnings can be withdrawn.
There are also bonuses and promotions that are for existing customers. These are often far more varied than the welcome bonuses, and can sometimes be used each week/month/game. These promotions may involve increased odds on certain games or types of bets, bet accumulators, or mobile bonuses. These bonuses are also often changing, so punters should regularly check to ensure they are not missing out on anything.
Betting Features and Options in the Nigerian Bookmakers
Bookmakers are constantly looking to entice their punters with new and exciting features, to encourage them to continue playing. Some of the most commonly-found features include:
Available Payment Methods
Nigerian betting sites offer a range of different payment methods so that there is a convenient option for everyone. Among the most commonly-accepted methods are Visa and Mastercard, as well as e-wallets such as Skrill and Neteller. Deposits are generally instantaneous and do not incur a fee. Although it varies from site to site, the minimum that can be deposited is usually around 100 NGN. Withdrawals can be made using the same methods, and although they are still free, it can take up to 24 hours.
While all Kenyan betting sites will accept the local currency (NGN), there is no guarantee that international sites will, in fact, many of them do not. Where this is the case, most sites will provide users with the opportunity to convert their local currency into something that is more widely used, such as USD or EUR. Punters should be cautious with these services because many of the conversions can be costly.
Mobile Betting in Nigeria
Mobile betting is fast becoming one of the most popular ways to bet throughout the country. Sites are aware of this and tailor their services accordingly. Many online bookmakers offer free apps to download so that punters can play on a platform that is specifically designed to be used on a smaller device and often requires fewer data to download unnecessary graphics. For sites that do not have apps, there is always the mobile version of the desktop site. These vendors design their services specifically for the mobile user to play anywhere, any time.
Online casinos are heavily restricted in Nigeria, although this does not prevent punters from being able to access them. Although Nigerian law never mentions the internet side of gambling, there are certain forms of casino betting that are explicitly banned, such as slot machines.
Punters should be aware that when they are accessing illegal gaming sites, they have no legal protection. Therefore they should exercise caution, and if they really want to bet on online casinos, try and find a reputable site.
Leading Sports for Betting in Nigeria
Sports betting is one of the most common forms of gambling in Nigeria, and the high demand has resulted in a diverse market that offers all punters could want. The most common sports to bet on are:
Football is the most popular sport globally, and British influence within Nigeria increased interest in the sport, as well as in betting on it. International markets undoubtedly have a wide variety of games and championships to browse, but local and continental sites will offer options that are closer to home and include other African teams.
Nigeria has one of the best basketball teams in Africa, and enjoyment in the sport has increased interest in betting on it. The team frequently plays teams from other countries within the continent, but also further abroad, and these can be bet on from both local and international sites.
Nigeria is known to have an exceptionally talented athletics population, and many athletes have represented the country at global events such as the Olympics. Local sites will, of course, offer greater coverage on national events, but international bookmakers will often also cover the larger events.
The Profile of a Nigerian Bettor
Due to the patchy nature of the legalities of betting in Nigeria, not a lot is known about the average bettor. However, what can be deduced is that punters are more likely to be male, and more likely to be young. Some studies have also shown that there are a higher than the average number of individuals who bet frequently (multiple times a week), compared to other countries where the average punter only bets occasionally.
Is online betting legal in Nigeria?
There is no specific national law that states it is either illegal or legal, but the state of Lagos offers licenses to online betting sites, making it legal at a state level. There are some types of casino gambling that are illegal, but aside from that, it is not.
Can Nigerians bet on international sites?
Yes, there are a number of overseas companies that accept punters from Nigeria.
Are there any taxes for Nigerian players on their winnings?
No, Nigerian players are not taxed on their winnings in any circumstances. There are taxes imposed on providers, but this should not affect players.
How to choose the best betting site in Nigeria?
There are a number of factors that should be taken into consideration when trying to find the best betting site in Nigeria. Firstly, punters should always only choose sites that are known to be reputable and safe. Due to the limited legal control over the betting scene, there is a high risk of fraud when punters play on unlicensed sites. Registering and playing only on sites that are licensed (if not in Nigeria then in places like the United Kingdom), reduces chances of unfortunate situations. Similarly, the best betting sites will have safety policies that ensure personal data is safe.
There is no single best betting site in Nigeria because ultimately it comes down to preference just as much as objective measures, and everyone is different. But the best betting site for each individual is going to be one that fits the aforementioned measures and offers them the kind of betting they are interested in.
Are there free betting sites in Nigeria?
There are a number of different sites that operate in Nigeria that do not cost to sign up to, nor do they cost to be a member. In fact, most of the sites are free, and you only spend your money on the actual bets.
Are there any betting restrictions on Nigerian players?
Yes, certain casino games are illegal, such as slot games and card games that do not require a skill. Aside from that, the online betting market is relatively free for all players, and they can do what they choose with little regulation.
Are bet exchanges available in Nigeria?
Yes, bet exchanges such as Betfair are open to customers from Nigeria. Bet exchanges operate differently from traditional bookmakers in the sense that punters are betting against each other, not the house, and odds tend to be more favourable.
The current situation regarding gambling in Nigeria means that punters have relatively free access to all kinds of betting sites, and can play however they please. The regulatory authority in Lagos offers licenses to sites that are safe and reliable, and punters can also play on international betting sites.
Despite that, there is still rampant fraud and illegal activity within the online Nigerian betting community. Because it is not regulated at a national level, this leaves room for a crime that goes undetected, and customers become victims. When this occurs, they also have no legal protection due to the status of online gambling.
Only time will tell if the Nigerian government decides to update their laws specifically to protect online players, a demographic that is exponentially growing. Until then, punters should exercise caution because there are still safe sites that can be used and enjoyed.