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Online Gambling in Nigeria: Rules and Regulations guiding the industry

The global gambling industry has recorded massive growth over the years, with an established market valued at $61.5 billion in 2021, of which Amazon Slots UK is one of the best online casinos on the global market. We can also say the same about the industry in Nigeria, which has over 60 million citizens actively involved in sports betting. 

Just like every other nation in the world, several legislations regulate gambling in Nigeria. Not all forms of gambling are legal in Nigeria and, depending on your location, you may be penalized for operating a gaming establishment. There are several Federal Acts that somewhat define what is considered legal and illegal gambling. Some states, like Lagos and Ogun states, have re-legislated some of these Federal Acts. 

Some of the Acts include:

Gaming Machines Act, 1997

This Act bans any individual from owning or using a gaming machine. The offence is punishable by one-year imprisonment with no option of a fine. The Act also empowers the government to confiscate all machines and proceeds obtained through its operation.

The Nigerian Criminal Code

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Chapter 22 of the Criminal Code defines illegal gambling as operating, managing, or living in an illegal gaming house. This means an unlicensed gaming house is illegal and punishable by two years’ imprisonment or a fine of #1000.

The Nigerian Lottery Regulatory Commission

The Commission was created and enforced by the National Lottery Acts, 2005. It tasked the Regulatory Commission with censoring, regulating, and licensing both online and land-based bookmakers in the country. Games like the lottery, sports betting, and land-based casinos are all categorized as legal, while games of luck are illegal.

Online and land-based gambling in Nigeria v United Kingdom

Unlike the United Kingdom, Nigeria does not have a set of clearly defined laws or Acts regulating online gambling, although it is still regulated by the Nigerian Lottery Commission. To operate a legal bookmaker in Nigeria, a license must be obtained from the Lottery Commission. The major reason for the lax regulations surrounding online gambling is because the Nigerian law does not mention the internet in its definition of what is considered legal and illegal gambling. Therefore, online gambling is largely unregulated, with no means of protecting players against fraud, funds theft or excessive gambling. Since gambling is illegal in some states, there are very few licensed land casinos in Nigeria. Legal land-based gambling is limited to casinos, slot machines, sports betting, lottery shops and raffle draws. 

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The U.K. has put considerable efforts into putting into place strict regulations to protect the safety and mental well-being of players. The U.K. Gaming Commission is regarded as one of the best in the world, with regulations guiding both online and land-based gambling. The 2005 Gambling Act expanded the jurisdiction and power of the U.K. government in protecting its citizens against fraud, identity theft, and funds theft. In the UKGC’s effort to combat excessive gambling, it has put in place the GamStop company. The Commission also ensures that gambling operators are fair, transparent and abide by all ethical standards. To reduce the number of fraudulent online bookmakers, it increased the application fee to a whopping £42,000.

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