The sports betting community in Nigeria is small when stacked up against other nations, but this is a fast-growing market. It is estimated that more than a quarter of Nigerians 18 and older bet on sports in some way, shape, or form. It helps that sports betting is not only legal in Nigeria, but the laws regarding sports betting are pretty vague. Sportsbooks need to be licensed, so there isn’t any shady, black market betting going on, but that’s really about it outside of the age requirement.
Bookies that set up illegal sportsbooks in Nigeria are subject to heavy fines and the gamblers that use them also get fined under the country’s Criminal Code. Other than that, all you have to do is bet with a legal sportsbook and you will be left alone.
It truly is a booming business in Nigeria. Players love to wager on football, both soccer and the NFL, and Nigerians also have a really big soft spot for sports like tennis, cricket, and basketball. Basketball has been really big in Nigeria for a long time, but things obviously took off when Hakeem Olajuwon took the NBA by storm.
Sports Betting in Nigeria
There are nine licensed casinos in Nigeria and there is one licensed sports betting parlor. There are no horse tracks and the casinos are pretty small, with just over 200 slot machines and about 25 table games spread across the nine casinos. The Lagos Poker Club, which opened on New Year’s Eve in 2014, holds the only sports betting parlor in the country.
Sports betting is legal in the country and across all 36 states. With only one sports betting parlor licensed specifically in the nation, Nigerians have to look at the online sportsbooks that accept players from their country in order to bet. Fortunately, the government has been very upfront and open about sports betting law and would prefer for it to be out in the open and done legally than done in the shadows with bookies.
Some offshore sportsbooks, like Betway, have actually gotten approval from the Nigerian government. Technically speaking, betting with an online sportsbook that is not licensed in Nigeria is subject to a fine, but those things are hard to prove. Over 60 million Nigerians bet on sports.
The list of sportsbooks that Nigeria has “licensed” to accept Nigerian players is unknown, but Betway is the most popular of them. Places like Intertops and Pinnacle also accept Nigerian players.
The Lagos Poker Club is actually operated on a limited basis by Caesars Entertainment. It is a Members Only club, so betting on sports is very much restricted and not necessarily available to the general population of Lagos and the surrounding areas.
Deposit & Withdrawal Methods
For the most part, Nigerians can deposit and withdraw the same way that most bettors can. The use of Visa and Mastercard credit and debit cards is the most popular way, but direct deposits with bank wires and bank transfers are also available. A lot of online payment processors are not available to Nigerian bettors, like Skrill and Neteller, so that makes it a little bit more difficult, but the above sportsbooks and others licensed in Nigeria are sure to do what they can to work with potential customers.
Promotions and Bonuses
Upon sign up and deposit, Nigerian bettors will have access to the same promotions and deposit bonuses as other players. In some cases, these deposit bonuses may be up to a 100% match bonus of their first deposits. Daily and weekly promotions, including contests for casinos or sports pools, are also always available.
While it is not a promotion/bonus, these top-rated sportsbooks are also going to give bettors the option to see odds as Decimal Odds, Fractional Odds, or American Odds depending on what the user prefers. That is a perk afforded to all customers.
Nigeria has a rich tradition in athletics with star players across lots of different sports leagues. It makes sense that a sports-crazed nation would gravitate towards betting on the games and events and Nigeria is a growing market in that regard. With very reasonable gaming laws and a lot of places to bet on sports, Nigerians are going to continue to make up an impressive segment of the betting market in Africa.