Without a doubt, when you hear about Nigeria, gambling is not the first thing that comes to your mind. Nevertheless, it appears that the country’s gambling industry is growing rapidly and it is estimated that in the next five years, Nigeria will become one of the fastest-growing African countries in terms of gambling.
Apparently, in Nigeria you can indulge on all kinds of betting, from the upcoming national lottery, through sports betting, to casino gambling, where you can play table games or you can choose between classic, video and progressive slots machines.
The multinational professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) recently published a report titled “Gambling Outlook 2013-2017” and it did not focus on Nigeria exclusively, but also analyzed gambling data from South Africa and Kenya. The report features data from various gambling options in South Africa – LMPs, sports betting, bingo, as well as the national lottery are taken into. Still, for Kenya and Nigeria, the report reveals statistics from casino gambling only.
As stated by PwC, Nigeria’s gross gambling revenues will increase by 16 per cent in the course of the next five years. What is more, Nigeria is to launch a nationwide lottery titled Quick Lotto, and former chairman of the Senate Committee on Capital Market Ayo Arise believes that the launch will generate employment and tax revenues.
Arise has collected data from various countries which have a national lottery and believes that for most countries the lottery is but a means to make the community more prosperous. In this respect, he states that Nigeria does not intend to behave differently. Arise has stated that 20 percent of the profits from the lottery are distributed to the Federal Government which uses the money for good causes, “for the advancement and progress of this nation,” says Arise.
Fortunately, as we already said, Nigeria has other betting options and people do not need to wait for the lottery to launch in order to gamble. In fact, one of the most popular means of gambling here is sports betting.
Many betting companies have benefited from the football enthusiasm all across the continent, designing and deploying betting platforms every day. Fans can stake small bets and win big amounts of money, and this strategy makes sports bets incredibly popular among locals, both young and old.
As a matter of fact sports betting has become popular during the last decade. According to a KPMG report on Gambling in Africa, about 60 million Nigerians adults (18-40 years old) are into active sports betting. The common player would spend about 3,000 Naira (nearly $15) on sports betting. Proportionately, nearly 2 billion Naira is laid out on sports betting in Nigeria every day, which turns into nearly 730 billion Naira for a year. No wonder why betting shops can be spotted on almost every corner in Lagos and each day, new betting places set up shop.
The strategy of betting a small amount of money with the chance to score something big seems to be increasingly popular among young people. A poll revealed that Nigerians bet on football games every day not only because it is a way to make quick money, but also because it distracts people from high unemployment rates.
According to 2016 data, youth unemployment rates in Nigeria increased from 25 percent in the third quarter of the year to 25.20 percent in the fourth quarter of 2016. By comparison, the numbers averaged 19.20 percent between 2014 and 2016.
Nigeria has a good casino gambling business, too. What is more, the casino industry is expected to grow and turn into one of the continent’s largest casino industries in the following years. The bad thing about casino gambling in Nigeria is the fact that the system is largely unregulated and there are not enough licensed gambling venues.
The two gambling cities in Nigeria, i.e, the cities with a legal gambling facilities are Abuja and Lagos. Lagos is the largest gambling city in the country and it has 1 gambling facility, 10 table games, as well as 106 games, slots, and even video poker machines. However, games such as roulettes and coin flipping are prohibited in Nigeria.
Despite the fact that the physical casinos in Nigeria are but three, the on-line casino industry has shown rapid growth, ever since the first on-line casino was licensed in the country in 2013. Actually, gambling was banned across the country until 2004, but then the first officially sanctioned on-line lottery was launched (incidentally, that is also the time when the country’s casinos opened, too).
The year 2013 saw the establishment of the country’s first on-line casino. Initially, the casino featured only Roulette games. The market rapidly expanded and now Nigerians can access a wide range of international and sports casinos operators. Nevertheless, the country is still very strict on the topic and allows citizens to visit approved sites only.
Experts expect the on-line gambling industry in South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria to reach $37 billion this year and this has made the government to realise that the potential tax revenues from such an expansive business require proper regulation and should not be turned a blind eye on.
Nigerian authorities think that the strong regulation of the market will actually attract more people to on-line gambling sites and it will even help reduce corruption and criminal behaviour among the population.
Government has been trying to set new regulating laws and make gambling profitable for the country as early as 2014, but with little success. New licensing systems are needed, according to Lagos State Lottery Board, and FIFA’s Early Warning System believes that both operators and the government can benefit from one another, all they need to do is work hand in hand.