How Does Nigeria’s Online Casino Licensing Stack Up
Nigeria is one of the powerhouses of Africa and has a very large population. But do its casino betting requirements do the job well enough?
Fears of Fraud with Betting
Whether it is betting on sports or gambling on casino games like slots and cards, bettors are always somewhat anxious about the site at which they play. Unfortunately, there have been some cases of dubious activity in Nigeria when it comes to sports betting, with gamblers left unable to claim their own money due to profits being withheld.
This has led to calls for stricter regulation of online bookies in Nigeria, as sports bettors hope for a safer and more trustworthy environment. But how does the other side of the iGaming coin, online casinos, hold up when it comes to regulation in Nigeria?
Finding the Best African Online Casinos
The huge array of online betting sites for African players means there are plenty of choices, but this embarrassment of riches can also make it tricky to decide where to sign up. Players hunting for the best South African online casinos need only consult list of the most popular in the SA region to find an assortment of excellent sites from which to pick.
Browsing our list is a much quicker and easier way of finding trustworthy sites compared to trawling the whole internet yourself. The carefully selected top online South African casinos have an alluring combination of great promotions for players old and new, great games from multiple software developers, and a broad range of accessible and secure banking methods for the convenience of players.
How is a Nigerian Online Casino License Acquired
Acquiring a casino license within Nigeria requires an entity to have a Capital Importation Certificate and a Tax Identification Number, and they must register for Value Added Tax for games in line with the 2005 National Lottery Act. After this, the next step (in Lagos State) is to send a letter to the Lagos State Lotteries and Gaming Authority and pay a non-refundable fee.
However, this is only the application fee, there is a first-year fee, with monthly taxes added on top. The annual license must also be renewed each year for the same sum. The fees within the country vary substantially from one state to another, although there’s also a drive within the country from some to increase associated costs.
In addition to the fee, variable by state, firms must also provide regulators with information pertaining to the company’s internal structure, and ensure that all directors have tax clearance certificates. Beyond this, estimated profits/losses and a projected balance sheet for a five-year period are required.
Is the Nigerian System Good or Bad?
All bettors dream of winning big and becoming immensely rich but is the Nigerian casino licensing system one that acts in the best interest of the country? Well, leaving aside those who will always oppose gambling and for whom any permissive system goes too far, this is open to debate. Internationally, every licensing system ranks in a hierarchy, with the United Kingdom, Malta, and Gibraltar broadly seen as the worldwide gold standard.
The Nigerian approach brings both upfront and ongoing fees, bringing in a steady stream of income for the country. Along with South Africa and Kenya, it’s one of the biggest betting nations in Africa, meaning a substantial revenue stream for the government coffers. Gambling is not tightly regulated, however.
More than a third of the country has gambled, with half this number doing so on a daily basis. Illegal betting is widespread (primarily football betting rather than casino gaming) but the true scale is difficult to ascertain.
To make matters worse, online gambling is not specifically covered in law, which, given its inherently different nature compared to brick-and-mortar casino gaming is less than ideal. In addition, there is no real provision for helping problem gamblers through Gamblers Anonymous and the like.
In short, the casino licensing system is functional, but there are many illegal betting opportunities and a lack of concerted effort to promote a healthy approach to gambling (and to help those who have an addiction). This may well see more problem betting in Nigeria, as has happened elsewhere in Africa.
Avoiding the Kenyan Problem
Many other countries in Africa have substantial gambling populations, including South Africa and Kenya. Betting in person and online is rife in Kenya, and the rise of online betting has meant that not only betting activity, but problem gambling has increased significantly in the country. A few years ago a study found that just over three-quarters of university students were problem gamblers, which is an alarmingly high proportion of young, well-educated adults.
In the 2016/2017 financial year, gross gambling revenue within Kenya was around half the annual health budget. Kenya sought to tackle this rising tide of addiction with new taxes on betting firm profits.
One of the reasons this has proven particularly difficult in Kenya is its widespread use of mobile banking, which also makes it very easy to slip into mobile betting. In countries that have more established real-world casinos, this is a less straightforward process, and real-world casinos come with travelling time, opening hours, and other restrictions that do not apply to the online world.
Walking the line between providing sound regulation that people can rely upon, without being too restrictive or making it difficult to seek help if betting becomes a problem is no easy thing. Nigeria needs to tighten up its laws to effectively fight illegal betting and encourage a healthier attitude to gambling.