By Okechukwu Ebuka

If you are interested in placing your bets on an upcoming sports tournament, you must familiarise yourself with the gambling legislation of the country within which you intend to do so. This is especially the case for countries with a colourful history when it comes to gambling, such as Nigeria. It may surprise you to know that, despite ranking 7th amongst the countries with the world’s largest populations, most forms of gambling are illegal in the country. Continue reading to find out everything you need to know.

A brief history

In the mid-1980s, gambling was flourishing as an underground activity in Nigeria but remained frowned upon by wider society. This was largely due to a series of churches and religious groups discouraging activities that had the potential to result in quick wealth. By the time 1990 rolled around, the Criminal Code Act outlined the country’s stance on gambling by legalising some forms of gambling in an attempt to generate tax revenue.

In the years that followed, gambling continued to experience rapid growth and is now a popular pastime for a growing number of adults in Nigeria with between $400 billion and $500 billion poured into the economy as a result of gambling per year. It is worth noting, however, that sports betting is currently the only form of online gambling that is officially recognised by the country’s government. This makes the task of analysing the size of the online gambling industry a particularly difficult one.

The legal gambling age 

Before you embark on your gambling journey in the country of Nigeria, it may benefit you to research the legal gambling age in Africa as well as whether or not this applies to online gambling, in-person gambling, or both. As with most online casinos around the world, age restrictions apply, and you may find yourself unable to withdraw your winnings if you cannot prove you exceed a particular age.

If you are looking to play at an online casino, you must be 18 years old. If you are looking to play at a physical casino, on the other hand, you must be 20 years old. Whilst these rules are applied on a country-wide basis, regulations can differ from casino to casino. You must find this information out beforehand in order to play.

Online gambling

As with most countries around the world, online gambling has taken over from in-person gambling. This is largely due to greater flexibility and convenience as well as the option to play from the comfort of your own home. But when it comes to Nigeria, the line between legal and illegal can sometimes become blurred. There is no reference to online gambling within any caveat of Nigerian law.

As a result, it must be considered completely safe and legal. This does, however, permit players to gamble at international online casinos that offer a wide range of titles on online casinos, live dealer casinos, bingo websites, virtual poker rooms, and online sports betting platforms. But with no official rules or regulations to protect players from fraud, you must exercise caution when shopping around for an online casino on which to spend your hard-earned cash.

Sports betting

With sports betting the only recognised form of gambling in Nigeria, it is extremely popular. In the simplest of terms, this means operators must pay taxes to the government on the income they receive on an annual basis with land-based operators taxed on the profits they make. As with most African nations, the percentage of taxes imposed on winnings in Nigeria tends to be around 20%.

The sports betting industry is, however, largely unregulated with online sportsbooks available throughout the country. Over the years, the sports betting industry in Nigeria has proven to be one of the safest with a wide range of companies vying for their share of an up-and-coming market that currently serves over 60 million people.

A bright future

With gambling going from strength to strength in Nigeria, the future is bright for the sports betting industry in the country. As one of Africa’s leading economic nations, a large percentage of its profits can be attributed to gambling, and sports betting in particular. As a result, it is now the second-largest sports betting market in the entire continent behind South Africa. With the popularity of sports, and major sporting tournaments, also surging, the gambling industry in Nigeria is poised to reach new heights in the coming years.

If you are looking to wager a bet in Nigeria or are just interested in how the country’s gambling legislation differs from that of your home country, there can be a great deal to learn. For example, whilst gambling is now a popular pastime, sports betting is the only form of gambling currently recognised by the government.

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