In recent years, we’ve seen an increase in gambling and sports betting regulation worldwide. However, the trend has been much more present in European countries and the United States, while many places in Asia and Africa still have fairly relaxed and undefined laws, especially when it comes to the online segment.
Nigeria is one such country. While gambling laws are in place for the land-based establishment, there isn’t anything in the regulation to tackle online sports betting or casinos.
The current law stipulates that properly licensed local venues can organize lotteries and sports betting, while other games of chance, such as roulette and slots, are deemed illegal. However, this only applies to brick-and-mortar establishments operating within the country’s borders.
Online Sports Betting Regulation in Nigeria
As mentioned, sports betting is legal and regulated in Nigeria. However, the National Lottery Regulatory Commission is only in charge of issuing licenses and overseeing physical businesses in the country. The online segment still remains largely unregulated.
Because of this, Nigerians can bet on sports online on many offshore betting sites established outside of the country. There are no legal obstacles to doing so, and punters from Nigeria don’t have to deal with any type of restrictions on monetary transactions, either.
Banking institutions in the country are more than happy to process deposits and withdrawals to and from these betting sites. In fact, many of them offer players the possibility to maintain their online bankrolls in Naira, which makes things even more convenient and helps to avoid paying fees.
Sports Betting and Taxes in Nigeria
Betting operators registered in Nigeria have to pay taxes and licensing fees as stipulated by the National Lottery Regulator Commission. Offshore operators are not subject to these rules as they don’t have local licenses, so even though they accept players from Nigeria, they don’t pay the taxes like locally-licensed businesses.
As for the players, their winnings are subject to tax, the rate of which can depend on many factors. In theory, all winnings resulting from legal gambling activities (such as sports betting) are taxable.
In practice, when placing bets with offshore sites, it is much harder for the country to keep track of your winnings. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t pay taxes, as this can lead to serious trouble, but casual punters who play for smaller stakes don’t have much to worry about.
Sports betting in Nigeria is completely safe and legal, whether you do it with a local bookmaker or at an offshore site of your choosing. There is nothing in the law preventing you from betting on any site you want.
That said, when playing with offshore bookmakers, you should always make sure they have a valid international license and a good reputation. This will significantly reduce the chances of getting scammed and help protect both your money and your personal information.