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Nigeria online sports betting laws

Online betting on sport in Africa’s most populous country is effectively legal, and the industry is thriving as a result. Bettors in Nigeria, a country with a hearty appetite for great sport, are spoiled for choice when it comes to placing wagers on the best local, national and international events.

Is sports betting legal in Nigeria?

Yes, it is, although things are slightly complicated. With 221 million inhabitants, Nigeria has the highest population in Africa and the seventh largest in the world. Given the advances in recent years in communications and digital technology, the country has ideal growth conditions for an online betting industry – especially in a nation that absolutely loves its sport. The position over the legality of online sports betting in Nigeria is reasonably clear.

When the 1990 Criminal Code was introduced in Nigeria, it specifically ruled that all games of skill were legal – and this definition included sports betting. Further legislation followed in 2004 with the Lagos State Lottery Law and in 2005 with the National Lottery Act. Neither of these laws specifically mentioned online sports betting. Indeed, at no stage has a law been passed that either legalizes or forbids online sports betting taking place in Nigeria. This has been interpreted as meaning that people here are at liberty to wager with local or international sportsbooks.

There are now two bodies – the National Lottery Regulatory Commission and the Lagos State Lotteries Board – that have the power to issue licenses to sports betting operators. If you run a sportsbook and are awarded by either of these institutions, you are clear to begin taking bets on the best sporting action. The degree of the growth seen in the Nigerian sports betting industry has been impressive. The country now has the second largest betting market in the continent, behind only South Africa. Gross gambling revenue was recorded at $58million in 2018, with every expectation that this figure will rise significantly over the next few years.

Many of the biggest names in international bookmaking are now operating in Nigeria, with considerable success. The presence of such illustrious brands in the market place, all competing for local custom, ensures that the competition for clients is intense – and as a result there are some great welcome bonuses to be found. However, few of the offshore websites accept bets in the Nigerian naira, preferring to trade in Euros or US dollars.

At present, licensees do not have to follow any responsible gambling obligations – and there is no centrally maintained exclusion list of those who are not permitted to gamble. However, it is hoped that as the sector matures, responsible gambling measures will be introduced across Nigeria and at state level.

What odds format is used in Nigeria?

Decimal odds

The majority of online betting websites in Nigeria use decimal odds – though many modern international sportsbooks allow you to switch if you prefer to use fractionals. Decimal odds is the preferred format in much of the world, largely because it is by far the simplest expression of the probability of a given outcome. For instance, if you want to bet on the Nigeria basketball team to win their first match at a tournament, the price you see might be 2.5. This means that for every $10 you wager on the outcome, you will receive winnings of $25 if you are correct. The same bet, with the same result and winnings, would be displayed in fractional odds – which are most popular in the UK and Ireland – as 6/4. In North America, where many bettors are most familiar with moneyline odds, it would be +150. In both those instances, you have to factor in the fact that your stake will be returned as part of your winnings.

Top sports in Nigeria


Soccer is without question the most popular sport in Nigeria. Fans across the country follow the world’s No. 1 game with incredible passion. The 20-team Nigeria Professional Football League sits at the top of the Nigeria soccer pyramid that takes in teams in every part of the nation. Nigeria’s national team, the Super Eagles, have one of the proudest records of any side on the continent. They have won the African Nations Cup three times, clinched Olympic gold in 1996 and have gone to the FIFA World Cup finals six times, qualifying from their group three times before exiting in the Round of 16. Several Nigerians, including Nwankwo Kanu, Jay Jay Okocha and Mikel John Obi, have played club football to the highest level to increase the intensity of the fervour with which their compatriots follow the sport.

Nigeria sports betting FAQs

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