The fact that online betting in Nigeria is now mainstream doesn't mean there wasn't a time it wasn't frowned upon. However, as they say, change is constant and so was the same regarding betting policies in Nigeria. The laws guiding online betting in Nigeria were reviewed to allow the operations of the bookies. Now, we can confidently say that online betting in Nigeria is now legal. However, in this article, we will take a look at details that surround the legality of online betting in Nigeria.
What makes an online betting site legal in Nigeria?
The fact that online sports betting in Nigeria is legal doesn't mean that just about any betting site you find out there is authorized to operate. One thing you should look out for before on any betting platform is their license. Before their betting operations can be allowed in Nigeria, they have to procure a license from one of the Betting regulatory bodies in the country. Two of the most renowned regulatory bodies in Nigeria are National Lottery Regulatory Commission and Lagos State Lottery Board.
Why is it important to get a license?
You might question the rationale behind the government regulating online betting in Nigeria. However, it may serve you to know that it is mostly for your best interests. Imagine where there are no regulatory bodies available to keep an eye on the operations of these betting companies. There is likely to be a high rise in fraudulent activities. This means citizens will be more susceptible to losing funds. Before the betting site is authorized, they are checked to be sure they have the wherewithal to pay users. This is also done to ensure that users' data are safe with them. Also, with the betting operators being regulated, the government can also collect the appropriate taxes. In the grand scheme of things, the key reason why these companies are given licenses is to proof-check them that they are fit to run such operations.
The Regulatory Bodies in Nigeria
For this section, we will be looking at two renowned regulatory bodies that are assigned to ensure accountability and transparency in the betting business.
The National Lottery Regulatory Commission
This is a regulatory body formed under the National Lottery Act of 2005. The main purpose of putting together these agencies is to protect the interests of the users who will be using online sports betting in Nigerian platforms. The body has its main headquarters in Abuja. However, there are many other factions distributed across 15 states in the country. There are three different types of licenses that the commission is tasked to issue. They include: The promotional permit, lottery license, and sports betting license. The scrutiny followed before the issuance of the sports betting permit can be very thorough. With that in mind, they demand a lot of requirements from the stakeholders. Some of the requirements are:
- A non-refundable payment of 2,000,000 NGN for processing and application
- Name of the Director and other stakeholders in the Board
- A minimum share capital of 30,000,000 NGN
- Proof of domain name registration
- A list of the scheduled games
- Information on the security system, which includes firewalls, servers, clouds, etc.
With the requirements stated above, you can see that the Commission does not joke. They consider every fine detail before authorizing any company. This is why you should trust whatever platform that they veto to operate in Nigeria.
Lagos State Lottery Board
It is not surprising that Lagos State has its regulatory body. This is no surprise when you consider that it is the hub of commercial activities. Practically every approved betting site today most likely started its operations from Lagos. It makes sense that there would be a standalone board to keep an eye on the betting operations of these companies in Lagos. The Lagos State Lottery Board started being operational in 2005 and it was established by the Lagos State Lottery Law of 2004. So, it is safe to say that the Lagos State Lottery Board was formed before the National Lottery Regulatory Commission.
Top Five Licensed Sports Betting Operators in Nigeria
We can't possibly review all the licensed sports betting operators in Nigeria, however, we can take a shot looking at five of them.
Bet9ja has become a household name in the sports betting industry in Nigeria, for a lot of reasons. This operator which is under KC Gaming Ltd currently has a license that allows them to be operational from 1st of November 2018 to 31st October 2023.
1xbet which started as an international sports betting company spread out to Nigeria and has so far become a force to reckon with offers one of the best range of sports betting markets you can find around. 1xbet, registered under the company name Beaufortbet Nigeria Ltd, currently owns a license that allows them to be operational from 12th September 2019 to 11th of September 2024.
The advent of SportyBet into the sports betting industry has changed the face of betting in Nigeria, particularly in terms of quality of service. The betting operator which is registered under the company name Sporty Internet Limited currently holds a license that allows their operations from 16th July 2018 to 15th July 2023.
There is no discussion of operators of online betting in Nigeria without the mentioning of BetWay. This is one operator that has left a mark as far as sports betting is concerned. The operator which is registered under the company Digi Bay Limited currently has a license that allows their operations from 11th of January 2018 to 10th of January 2023.
Melbet is another top-notch sports betting platform that's being lauded by a lot of bettors in Nigeria because of the quality of their service. This operator registered under the company Otrada Hospitality Limited currently has a functioning license that's valid from 11th June 2020 to 10th of June 2025.
Now that you know that online betting in Nigeria is legal, take a tour around the bookmarkers you can find and go with one that suits your taste and needs. However, make sure that they have a functioning license to operate before trusting them.
This article was most recently revised and updated 7 months ago