Nigeria, officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria is a federal constitutional republic located in West Africa. The country shares borders with Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in the north. Its coast in the south lies on the Gulf of Guinea in the Atlantic Ocean. The country comprises 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory where the capital, Abuja is located.* Its largest city is Lagos with an estimated population of 21,324,000.
Before the modern-day Nigeria was outlined by the British colonial rule of the 19th century, the country was a place for numerous kingdoms and tribal states. The merge of the Southern Nigeria Protectorate and the Northern Nigeria Protectorate in 1914 helped establish Nigeria as we know it today.
Nigeria became a formerly independent federation in 1960 and plunged into a civil war from 1967-1970. Since then, the country has alternated between democratically-elected civilian governments and military dictatorships until it achieved a stable democracy in 1999. The 2011 election is viewed as the first conducted relatively freely and fairly.*
There are 3 forms of gambling legal in Nigeria, lottery, sports betting, and casino gambling (as long as it involves some skill, not just luck). These 3 forms of gambling can be played in land-based casinos in Nigeria.
The first law issued about gambling was the Gaming Machines Act of 1977, which outlawed importing or owning any gaming machines without a gambling license.
Possibly the most important law about gambling in Nigeria is issued in 1990 as part of the Criminal Code Act. In this act, the Nigerian government defines what counts as illegal or legal in gambling. They outlawed roulette, dice games (except backgammon), non-skill based card games, chacha and cowries and any other games of chance which are purely based on luck. However, these games exist in many offshore online casinos, where Nigerian players are still welcome.
Online gambling (especially playing online in foreign online casinos) is not yet regulated in Nigeria. The laws (from 1977 and 1990, before the internet) do not specifically mention online gambling, and the country has a very low internet penetration rate. Online gambling won’t likely be regulated anytime soon in the country.
In 2013 Nairagames and Superiorbet tried to open an online casino and online bookmaker in the country. However, after a year, they both faced legal and financial difficulties and ceased operation. It is not known how were they able to launch at the first place, considering that online gambling is not regulated in the country.
Illegal gambling dens are regularly raided and players can be prosecuted as well (the penalties are far greater for the owners and operators of illegal gambling facilities).
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- Casino gambling in Nigeria
- Bingo in Nigeria
- Poker in Nigeria
- Sports betting in Nigeria
- Lottery in Nigeria
- Bitcoin gambling in Nigeria
Casino gambling in Nigeria
Online casino gambling in Nigeria: not regulated
Officially licenced casinos are legal in Nigeria and despite the Gaming Machines act of 1977, they can operate slots and other gaming machines. There are many operating casinos in the country, the most are located in Lagos. The most notable casinos in Nigeria are the Federal Palace Casino and the Le Meridien Eko Hotel and Casino, both located in Lagos. Online gambling is not regulated, offshore casinos accept players from Nigeria.
The following online casinos accept players from Nigeria:
Bingo in Nigeria
Online bingo in Nigeria: not regulated
Bingo is a well-known and popular form of gambling found in casinos all around the world. Bingo is legal in Nigeria and players can participate in bingo games, as long as it is organized by a casino with a gambling license. You can find some bingo halls in Nigeria’s capital, Lagos.
The following bingo websites accept players from Nigeria:
Poker in Nigeria
Online poker in Nigeria: not regulated
Poker is one of the most (if not the most) popular casino games out there. In many countries (including Nigeria) it is considered a game skill and not gambling. You can find poker tables in most casinos. The game requires skill, patience, and strategic thinking from players.
The following online poker sites accept players from Nigeria:
Sports betting in Nigeria
Online sports betting in Nigeria: not regulated
Sports are very popular in Nigeria, especially football. The country is a household name in football, winning the African Nations Cup multiple times, and getting good results in numerous World Cups. Because of this, it’s natural that the government allows betting on sports. Sports betting is legal both offline and online. Nigerian players are accepted in domestic and offshore online sports betting facilities to try out their luck. The first online sports betting provider in Nigeria was Nairabet (closed down). Others are the Merrybet and the Winners Golden Bet (virtual sports betting, not real sports betting) These online bookmakers are either operating illegally or only allow betting on virtual sports. This is because online gambling is not yet regulated in the country and they can not get an online gambling license. We recommend staying away from these websites.
However, some offshore (real, not virtual) online bookmakers accept punters from Nigeria:
Lottery in Nigeria
Online lottery in Nigeria: not regulated (but you can play it over the phone by sending an SMS)
Since the National Lottery Act of 2004 is issued, Nigeria has an annual lottery game called Lotto Nigeria. The goal of this lottery is to raise funds for various charitable cause and to help the development of national sports. In this lottery, you basically have to guess 6 numbers right from the 49 (1-49) to win the jackpot. The lottery can played on a mobile phone as well by sending an SMS (this is usually the precursor to online gambling, online lottery is probably coming in the next few years). There is no way to purchase lottery tickets online currently and online gambling is not yet regulated.
Because the purchasing of online lottery tickets is not regulated, players from the country can participate in foreign lottery draws online.
Bitcoin gambling in Nigeria
Bitcoin gambling in Nigeria: not regualted
Bitcoin is a digital currency often referred to as a “cryptocurrency” invented by Satoshi Nakamoto back in 2008. It quickly gained popularity the following years worldwide due to its anonymous nature. Gambling with Bitcoin starts to become popular too. Some countries don’t see Bitcoin as a currency, rather they see it as an asset. However, in Nigeria, there isn’t any specific law about Bitcoin and Bitcoin gambling. Because Bitcoin trades mostly occur on the internet it falls into the online gambling genre, so perhaps it will be regulated along with online gambling. However, Bitcoin gambling and online gambling are still unregulated.
The following Bitcoin casinos accept players from Nigeria:
If you have questions or any feedback don’t hesitate to drop a comment below. Please let me know in the comments section if you think we might have gotten something wrong or if you have additional information, clarification about the legal status of online gambling in this country.
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Last updated: 2016-02-16