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Alphonso Mckinney

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While the primary focus of the act was to establish a national lottery and a regulator to govern it, the language of the law was broad enough to encompass all forms of gambling. However, while the law is quite clear on the legality of land-based gaming, Nigeria’s laws have not yet addressed the online gambling market. For this reason, unauthorized online gambling exists in a legal grey area. Regardless, online gambling is treated as being legal in the country, with foreign operators free to accept Nigerian players without any legal repercussions.

Online Gambling Laws Land-Based Laws Regional Gambling Laws Official Gambling Authority Taxation on Gambling Wins Minimum Gambling Age Gambling Advertising Penalties for Gambling Crime Upcoming Law Changes Responsible Gambling

The Legality of Online Gambling in NigeriaAlthough there are insufficient laws that cover the activities, online gambling is treated as though legal by Nigerian enforcement. Although that means an open and unrestricted online market, there are negative effects of this oversight, such as a lack of standards on gambling site fairness and resources for those struggling with problem gambling.

Nigerian Land-Based GamblingThe Lottery Act defines clearly which land-based gambling games are legal and those that are not. Legal games include the lottery, casino games such as slots, blackjack, roulette, craps and poker. Land-based sports betting at authorized retailers is also legal. While locals are also free to wager on activities such as horse and dog racing, there are no racetracks in Nigeria. Nigeria’s land-based sports betting industry is by no means as established as the online gambling market, though many players choose to wager at popular land-based retailer BetLand, which uses world-class SBTech technology to power its platform.

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Regional Gambling Laws

There are 36 states in Nigeria, and although each must act according to the Constitution, each region can license gambling operators. When an operator seeks a license to operate in Nigeria, it must first be approved a national license by the National Lottery Regulatory Commission. If it then wants to operate in a particular state, it must then be granted a regional license. Most states have a Lottery Board that regulate the industry or do so through their internal revenue boards. Regardless, all forms of gambling that are legal at the national level must stay legal throughout all semi-autonomous regions.

Official Regulatory BodiesNigeria’s primary gambling regulator, the National Lottery Regulatory Commission, was established by the National Lottery Act of 2005. Its initial purpose was to regulate the national lottery but has since grown to regulate the national gaming industry. Several of its obligations include licensing land-based and online gaming operators, enforcing gaming laws, and creating a safer environment for players. There are also many smaller state lottery boards to regulate gaming activities in their jurisdictions. For example, the Lagos State Lotteries board regulates everything from online sports betting and casinos to slot machines.

Is Online Gambling Taxed in Nigeria?Gambling operators must pay tax at a national and state level in Nigeria. At the national level, licensed operators must pay 20 per cent taxes on gross gaming revenues. If they operate in certain states, they must pay an additional percentage of taxes from revenues generated within the region. For example, in Lagos, this amount is 2.5 per cent of gross gaming revenues. Gamblers must also pay taxes on winnings, which are to be declared as income with the tax department.

Legal Gambling AgePlayers in Nigeria must be over 18 years old to gamble. This age requirement applies land-based and online casino gambling, whether that be sports betting, poker, the lottery and daily fantasy sports, or on casino games such as slots, roulette and blackjack. It is a legal requirement for online gambling sites to verify players’ ages when they sign up in order to curb underage gambling. This may require providing photographic identification, so be sure to have copies of your ID ready when you join.

Advertising LawsOne of the biggest downsides to Nigeria’s largely unregulated online gambling market is that there are relatively few restrictions when it comes to responsible gambling marketing. In fact, there are no sections within the Lottery Act that outline advertising restrictions, so operators are free to market on social media platforms, TV, and radio at all hours, and use local celebrities for website endorsements. References to responsible marketing practises are vague, and it appears that there are a few guidelines that marketers need to adhere to. The fact that there are a lot of inconsistencies between Nigeria’s regional regulators has made it even more difficult for national advertising standards to be established.

Penalties for Illegal GamblingRather than imposing specific penalties for different gambling crimes, the Lottery Act lists a number of provisions that must be upheld, and broad penalties that will be handed out if they are contravened. Types of transgressions include providing games without licensing or authorization, fraud, facilitating underage gambling and selling forged lottery tickets. There are different penalties based on whether an individual or a body corporate is responsible for the crime. Below, we’ve listed some common crimes and their penalties according to the Nigerian Lottery Act.

Forging a ticket, knowingly accepting underage gamblers, fraudulently taking bets: financial penalty up to N20,000, prison time of one year or more.

Forging a ticket, knowingly accepting underage gamblers, fraudulently taking bets: financial penalty up to N100,000. Each director to be fined personally N20,000 and potentially imprisoned for one year.

Announced Changes to Gambling RegulationsNigeria has announced two major changes to the gambling industry that it intends to implement in 2021. The first of these is the plan to introduce a 7.5 per cent value-added tax to sports bets. Under the current plan, bettors will be responsible for footing this extra payment. This is a matter that is still being contested by major stakeholders such as the Association of Nigerian Bookmakers. The National Lottery Regulatory Commission has also announced a new plan to tackle underage gambling, including enhanced rules to ensure operators verify players’ ages. Additionally, the Lago Lottery Board is proposing that operators are to pay fees of N200 million in an attempt to prevent fraudulent companies from entering the market.

Responsible Gambling Programs in NigeriaAs the gambling market grows in Nigeria, there have been major concerns about the current infrastructure to deal with the rise in problem gambling. There are no major Nigerian responsible gambling organizations helping to address the issue at the moment, and policies to enforce facilitating player limits and self-exclusion are non-existent. Fortunately, there are several international responsible gambling organizations that cater to Nigerian players who wish to get their gambling habits under control. Several of these have cooperated with our recommended gambling sites to ensure that safer gaming environments are created. The following are reputable organizations that are available around the clock for gamblers and their loved ones who are seeking judgment-free support for problem gambling. Also visit my web-site: sports betting