In Nigeria, most kinds of gambling and betting have been deemed illegal under the Nigerian Criminal Code’s Chapter 22 regulations. However, exceptions like national lotteries, backgammon, skill-dependent card games, and the country 3 licensed casinos do exist. This law also allows the government to run racing totes and betting pools.
Apart from these exceptions, all kinds of gambling are illegal under Nigerian laws.
Those engaging in illegal gambling may be penalized with a fine of around 40 naira, 3 months of imprisonment, or even both these punishments simultaneously. There are several other laws, which ban the ownership of gambling devices. The GM (Prohibition) Act has made it a punishable crime to have gambling machines in one’s ownership. Violating this law can result in a one-year imprisonment term. Apart from these, penalties for banks, promoters, owners, and operators who are involved in gambling happen to be much higher. However, the police department is mostly understaffed and incapable of stopping crimes such as these. Due to this, most of the Nigerian gambling industry operates underground, thriving via illegal channels and catering to the Nigerian gambling population.
Illegal Gambling in Nigeria
Illegal betting websites controlled by domestic players, unauthorized lotteries, football bookies, and underground casinos are widespread throughout the country. Since these players themselves happen to be involved in a crime, there’s zero player protection whatsoever. As a result, if bookies refuse to pay or if casinos rig games or if other such scams are operated, players have zero places to turn to.
Since scams are dime a dozen here, it’s safer to start gambling with gambling websites which are regulated and licensed in Western countries. The most recommended websites include those regulated under UK norms or websites regulated under EU norms, where gambling happens to be legal.
Going for such websites is a great idea since Nigerians can send in complaints via the Internet or post when they face problems with gambling sites licensed under European laws. You may send your complaints to local law enforcement, gambling commissioners, or even sanctioned arbitrators. Since these websites are fully legal, player protection is practically guaranteed. Since these websites are aware of this and operate honestly, complaints about them are quite rare.
However, understand that the Nigerian police force has zero jurisdiction over gambling sites. While these sites may be in violation of Nigerian laws, it isn’t applicable to them since they aren’t located in Nigeria. The local police aren’t likely to stop gamblers from utilizing gambling websites based out of the EU.