What Is The Regulation Of Online Gambling In Nigeria?

What Is The Regulation Of Online Gambling In Nigeria?

By Okechukwu Nwokoye | Sub Editor on March 3, 2019
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betting gambling online casino

Nigeria being one of the largest countries in the African continent, a vast number of Nigerians have remained very keen to the experience of gambling. The country, however, has pretty strict rules in place to regulate lottery, land based and online gambling. Today, we shall take a closer look at the Nigerian gambling regulations, what they permit, which activities are illegal and if there are any penalties associated with gambling at all.

All gambling activities in Nigeria are regulated by the National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC). Lottery and some forms of land based casinos are legal. The criminal code act of 1990 helps define the list of legal and illegal gambling in the country. While sports betting, casino and lottery are allowed, the country frowns upon roulettes, dice and card games. Nigerian law does not specifically mention online gambling but the games played online are regularized via the legal and illegal games list covered under the law.

Land Based Casinos

Nigeria has only three land based casinos, 2 in Lagos and 1 in Abuja. Apart from playing in these licensed casinos, owning casino machines or operating casino games is illegal. The licensed casinos also have coinless slot machines that can be operated via cards. The selection of games is pretty small at these casinos. If one is found to operate casino games or possess casino equipment they can be sent up to 1 year in prison under the Gaming Machines Prohibition Act. Players can be fined 40 Naira or sent to 3 months in prison if caught participating in illegal gambling.

Online Casinos

As the NLRC and Gaming Machines Prohibition Act does not state clearly its position on online gambling, there is definitely some confusion regarding whether online gambling is legal or not. Usually the rule of the thumb is that all the games that are deemed illegal should not be played even on online forums. Since these games are not legal, there is a large number or underground illegal sports betting and casino games websites in Nigeria. But as playing these games is also illegal, there is not a lot of player protection. In case the website refuses to pay or scams the players, no legal action can be taken.

One way to circumvent this scenario is to play on foreign online casinos. Based on their ratings and reviews, these casinos can be a good way to enjoy online games from Nigeria. Although most online casinos do not allow Nigerians to participate, there are some that do and some even accept deposit and withdrawal requests in Naira.

Legal Online Games

The premier Nigerian form of betting is the lottery. So all lottery types of online casino activity are deemed legal. Same with skilled card games. Poker, Hold’em Poker, BlackJack etc. are considered legal as there are some skills required to play these games. When it comes to card games such as over/under, highest card wins etc. these games are deemed illegal to play on land or online.

There is some confusion regarding the legality of the American Roulette and the Roulette in general. Usually the Roulette is deemed illegal to play but the land based licensed casinos feature Roulettes as a primary attraction. Playing Roulette online might attract penalties or imprisonment under the relevant act.

All dice games are illegal whether played on land or online. Bingo is allowed as it is a form of lottery where one has to get a ticket first and wait for the results to come out. There is no particular clarity on whether virtual slot machines are considered legal or not.

Online Casino Games are in Vogue

Despite regulations, Nigerians participate in quite a lot of online betting and gambling activities. While many enjoy sports betting, roulette and virtual slots are pretty popular as well. In most cases, the government surveillance is insufficient and one can expect to engage in online gaming unhindered. For virtual slots, Nigerians often take the benefit of https://free-spins.net/ in order to get free spins on their favorite slot games. This is a good resource that can help one generate some extra cash via online gambling escapades. It is an international website hence using it does not directly entail any repercussions.

All in all, the online gambling sphere in Nigeria is pretty active and the law being unclear on certain aspects of it can muddle the line between legal and illegal. As scamming is rife in underground betting circles, one is best served by playing on the foreign gambling websites directly. Having a knowhow of legal and illegal games can certainly help from getting prosecuted. A quick look at the criminal code act of 1990 can help immensely if one is planning to engage in online gambling from Nigeria. To summarize, it is an activity that can be enjoyed if certain precautions are taken.

References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gambling_in_Nigeria

http://www.gamblingafrica.com/nigeria/gambling-law.asp

https://www.onlinebetting.com/legal/nigeria/



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