Which bookmakers are trusted and where to place bets in Nigeria?
If you want to bet in a trusted and reliable online bookmaker, take a look on our table below to find the best bookmakers for Nigeria. These recommendations are based on our ratings and reviews about what bookmakers provide and depend on whether customers are pleased with their products.
Why choose online betting in Nigeria
Gambling would, in all probability, not be the first topic that comes to mind when contemplating issues relating to Nigeria. It would, for many people, come as a surprise if they discovered Nigeria’s gross gambling revenue comes only second to the South African market.
They are known as the world’s 8th largest exporter and 12th largest producer of petroleum. This ensures a healthy fast-growing economy able to remain in step with global advances in technology. The development of a technological infrastructure saw numerous households gain affordable access to the internet. In Nigeria, gambling, specifically, sports betting, forms part of the daily activities of many citizens and has over time become deeply entrenched in the Nigerian culture.
With easy access to the internet, local gamblers have streamed to offshore internet-based gambling venues where they could freely engage in betting. As a result, online sportsbetting has over the last several years taken the country by storm, causing it to become Africa’s second-largest gambling market.
Despite the constant emergence of new betting companies in Nigeria, the NLRC have to date only approved licensing for three land-based casino operators. The laws governing gambling in the West African nation may seem to mimic medusa’s hair since the Nigerian legal system provides no legislation to address gambling.
Currently, several non-related sections of the law and some federal acts make specific references defining the legality of gambling activities in Nigeria. However, at the moment, Nigeria’s legal system makes no provision whatsoever to deal with online gambling activities in the country specifically. That ultimately means no licensed betting sites operate within its borders.
Sportsbetting dominates Nigeria’s gambling industry, with football betting as its main flavour. A sport that has long remained in the top spot as the country’s staple betting activity. Football’s tremendous popularity and massive local following see it capture as much as 60% of the local online punter attention.
The country’s burgeoning mobile market in turn bear witness to a continually increasing number of mobile betting sites accepting memberships from an ever-growing number of mobile smart device owners. Many of Europe’s leading international sportsbetting brands now serve Nigeria’s ever-widening online player base.
Gambling Facts at a Glance
Issued by the Central bank of Nigeria the naira (NGN) (₦) serves as the Nigerian Federation’s only official form of legal tender, with ₦1 subdivided into 100 kobo. Introduced on the 1st of January 1973, it helped to replace the Imperial British Pound at an exchange rate of ₦2 to £1 making Nigeria the last of the former British colonies to abandon the pound.
A current UN population estimate of just over 201 million residents ranks Nigeria as the 7th most populous country in the world and the most populous in Africa.
An estimated 30% of the country’s population or upwards of 60million Nigerian punters spend close to $5 million in sportsbetting wagers each day, with punters commonly wagering an average of $8.50.
The Lagos State Lotteries Board (LSLB) established during 2005 in response to the enactment of the Lagos State Lotteries Law of 2004 and later broadening the scope of its authority by an Amendment Law in 2008. Authorised as the singular state body, it is responsible for the implementation, regulation, and control of all gambling-related activities. As such, it continues to serve as the country’s pioneering gaming regulatory body.
Licensed gambling products
Nigeria’s LSLB will in compliance with the laws determining its purpose issue licenses for the following types of gambling products:
Types of operators
Remaining adherent to the same authorities the LSLB will licence and regulate the following types of gambling operations:
A completely outdated law-set currently continues hampering the law in its attempt to control a Nigerian gambling landscape that has through advances in technology which have entirely grown beyond what it was ever envisioned to cope with. By the turn of the century lotteries, slots, and betting pools became established as the most popular forms of gambling entertainment in Nigeria.
Prior to this, the state enacted and instituted various ways within the legal system all designed to deal with gambling in all its forms. These included the Casino Taxation Act of 1965, the Pools and Betting Law, and the Lagos State Lotto Authority. These laws governing gambling in Nigeria collectively provide for the regulation of several licenced betting operations, lotteries, and a handful of land-based casino venues.
Currently, the only means at its disposal to deal with many of the newer forms of gambling is the Criminal Code Act of 1990. This serves to define the legal and illegal status of all kinds of gambling in the country. It considers lotteries, betting, pools, selected casino gaming, and racing as legal practices. In opposition, this same law-set deems games and activities such as non-skill-based games including cards and other games of chance which it considers unfavourable to players as illegal.
The Gaming Machines Act of 1977 (Prohibition) determines the importation and ownership of all gaming machines as illegal but considers legally licensed casinos as a singular exception to this rule.
Recognising a change in the country’s gambling landscape during the late 1990s, the government enacted a series of laws and instituted policies aimed at better regulate and govern new developments in gambling.
These incorporate the Taxes and Levies Act of 1998, followed by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 1999, the Casino and Gaming Law of Lagos State in 2004.
However, Nigeria’s legal system remains void of any law-set legalising and regulating the online gambling activities of its citizens.
In terms of their online sportsbetting activities, the Nigerian legal system allows a lot of leeway and freedom. This makes it easy for its residents to entertain themselves endlessly at any of its locally licensed and numerous offshore online sportsbooks. The most restrictive issue a local punter may face is more of an inconvenience and is simply the act of finding an offshore sportsbook operator willing to accept naira as legal tender. The other is the cost converting to euro (€) or USD ($) to fund their offshore sportsbook account/s.
How to Choose the Right Online Betting Site
In the absence of a law determining the limits of their online activities, Nigeria’s citizenry remains free to sign-up and play at any online sportsbetting and casino venue of their choice without exposing themselves to fall foul of the law. This same void in the country’s legal system not only affords them a certain amount of freedom, but it also robs them of any legal recourse should they find themselves disagreeing with an online venue about any potential issues that may arise. As such residents should remain alert to avoid potentially suspect operators, and to assist them in determining which is the best betting site for them, they may want to add the following requirements to their shortlisting criteria.
- Do all your potential brands operate in full compliance of a license obtained from any of the reputable, industry-recognised international authorities such as the Malta Gaming Association or Gibraltar Gaming association?
- Do their games remain subject to a regular testing program to certify the validity of each game’s RNG by an industry approved independent auditing firms such as iTech Labs or eCOGRA?
- What is the standard of their betting products and customer services, do they offer 24/7 live chat support, betslip editing, bet builder, and Cash-out?
- Aside from the obligatory huge range of sports types, do they offer a comprehensive variety of betting options and markets?
Leading Online Bookmakers in Nigeria
Despite the presence of several local bookmakers offering their services online to Nigeria’s residents, two local bookmakers in addition to Europe’s most popular bookmakers dominate its sportsbetting market. Below we summarise some features of the best bookmakers accepting membership applications from Nigerian punters.
Wazobet, established in 2011 in Nigeria, became a pioneering bookmaker not only in Nigeria but one of the first to start operating online in Africa. Working in the local market by the authority of an LSLB issued license, the brand has become well known. This is not just for its vast range of sports types, but for offering very interesting promotions and a comprehensive variety of alternative betting markets. It is also for its excellent standard of service as well as the depth and quality of its betting products and live streaming video service.
Founded in Russia during early 2017, 22Bet proved the seriousness of the company’s intent to establish itself as one of the online sportsbook industry’s premier providers of betting entertainment. They did so by initially offering a fully comprehensive range of sports types and punter options supported by an equally wide range of betting markets. The brand improved is desirability via wide-ranging improvements to its already excellent product, until matching of betting the products of most of its peers. Furthering the company by adhering to the tried and tested methods demanding reasonable prices and excellent odds on most of its markets, the international bookmaker accepts just about all currencies.
Entering the betting industry in 2018, Betwinner quickly distinguished itself by pioneering many of the essential betting products now commonly featured by all of the world’s foremost betting brands. Besides, it differentiated its product from those of traditional bookmakers in the market and in doing so became famed for offering many additional betting sections, including betting exchange. In addition, the brand has developed extremely well-optimised betting apps, that allow the customers to back and lay wherever they are. Their list of pioneering services and betting products include options such as the ubiquitous Cash out, Live Streaming Video, amongst numerous others.
Upon hearing the name, Betway would in all probability spontaneously generate words such as “one of the world’s largest online bookmaker” and “best service” or “great sports range” in the minds of most knowledgeable punters. Established in 2006 in the UK, Betway continues to apply and solidify its number one position in the market. This is accomplished by offering a massive number of betting markets and by distinguished itself for its fast, hassle-free payouts and easy to use interface, in combination with some of the best pricing and odds in the market today.
1XBET entered the online bookmaking market in 2011. Initially focused on rapid expansion, the company entered a number of markets without first meeting all the required criteria and in doing so caused some damage to its image. When the realisation of their error struck home fully, the company rethought its strategy, made an abrupt turnaround and remained on the straight and narrow ever since. Before their initial excursion into international markets, thanks to the vast amount of promotions, the brand gained the confidence and respect of punters from across the Baltic regions. In addition to its customary vast sports range, the company’s primary focus is aimed at reaching the high payout rates achieved by Asian bookmakers.
Bonuses for Niegerian Players
Nigeria’s online market has captured the attention of many of the foremost European operators serving the international arena. This provides the tens of millions of local sportsbook enthusiasts with access to grab all of the best promotional bonuses and special offers these industry leaders have to offer. Able to select from options incorporating several excellent sign-up offers that have rewards mainly paid out in the form of Free Bets with some promo welcome offers also including free spins on the casino’s slots. The welcome offers vary from percentage matched rewards for first deposits to percentage matching bonuses on first bets placed, and many opt to feature a percentage matching bonus paid if your first bet loses.
Existing members of the brand have a significant number of regularly revised promotional offers made available to them. Bonuses aimed at keeping long-standing members feeling appreciated and happy not only pay out their rewards in the form of exciting Free Bets, but they may also even include a number of cash rewards or a trip of a lifetime. These include daily, weekly, and monthly reload deposit bonuses, daily lost bets refunds, weekly aggregated lost bet totals paid back, boosted price offers, enhanced odds and numerous others aimed at keeping punters challenged and excited.
Most Popular Sports to Bet on in Nigeria
Nigeria possesses one of the world’s most biased sportsbetting industries. The country has 80% of its youth so completely enamoured with the game of soccer/football; it often reaches obsessive levels. This fandom devotion clearly shows in the narrow focus and popularity of its betting markets. Naturally, the most bet on sports in the country is soccer, followed by:
- Horse racing
Are Online Casinos Popular in Nigeria?
The Nigerian populace loves the excitement offered by gambling in all its formats. Fortunately, the current inability of its legal system to provide for the badly needed entertainment of its citizens also left a loophole that allows locals to enjoy themselves at many of the world’s premier online casino destinations without any fear of legal recrimination.
In the intervening years since its establishment, the LSLB issued 40 licences to authorise and legitimise the operation of local land-based casinos. However, due to the massive distance scale of the country, most of its residents have never seen a casino, never mind having the joy of visiting one. Its capital, Lagos, has only one casino which also happens to be the country’s biggest. It only features 109 gaming machines, and no roulette, or coin flip tables since local law ban all non-skill-based games.
Unsurprisingly this unlikely state of affairs left Nigeria’s people streaming onto international casino websites where their entertainment for casino-type gaming culminated in a spending €55.8 million annually.
Trivia/Did you know that…
- Nigeria’s laws consider games like blackjack and poker as games of skill making them legal
- Nigerian law deems games such as roulette and dices illegal since winning relies purely on chance
- Measured by the size of its player base NairaBET distinguishes itself as the richest betting operator in Nigeria
- Bet9ja operates the most significant number of betting shops in Nigeria
- NairaBET is the oldest bookmaker in Nigeria
Available Mobile Apps
The high level of competition that exists between brands operating in the online world’s international arena improved the user-sportsbetting experience in so many ways over the past five years. It is hard to keep track of. Although recognising the massive improvements brought to the mobile sportsbetting market has turned the small-screen experience into a scrumptious and most convenient affaire.
Each of the leading brands summarised in our shortlist offer similar features on a GUI that remains dramatically different in appearance but have all received notable recognition and acclaim from both users and the industry. Combined, it is virtually immaterial which one you choose since they all feature a comprehensive range of sports markets and betting options.
Each features easy to navigate methods for punters to seamlessly continue their sportsbetting activities even while away from a PC. In fact, world research has shown an increasing number of people prefer using their mobiles to access sportsbooks and casinos, over the past eight years the figures have steadily increased to a point where mobile betting usage almost rivals the PC, which is predominantly true of the Nigerian market.
Supported Payment Methods
Nigeria based online sportsbooks offer punters one key benefit they mostly accept payment via Paystack, a payment method that has proven quite popular amongst locals. In turn, Europe’s top-tier sportsbook brands offering their services to Nigerian nationals all feature a massive variety of internationally recognised and trusted banking brands.
Available payment methods incorporate all options currently on offer around the globe, these include a range of debit/credit card facilities from brands such as Mastercard and Visa along with their debit options like Maestro and Visa Electron, the safety of indirect payment options via POLi and PayPal, as well as varieties of e-Wallets such as Neteller and Skrill, alongside electronic payment systems such as bank transfers.
The Office of the Nigerian Revenue Service imposes no taxes on the gambling derived winnings of individual persons it prefers to levy taxation directly from the gambling operators themselves.
Which is the best online betting site for a Nigerian resident to join?
You will enjoy yourself at any of the sites we summarised in our article above. However, if you prefer a local operator, then NairaBET remains the largest and has proven the most professional.
Will any online bookmaker sell, share, or reveal my personal details to an unauthorised third party?
No, all the Europe based brands operate in full compliance of the stringent EU law-set charged with the protection of personal data and may suffer heavy fines and/or the loss of their operator’s license. NairaBET also remains fully compliant of EU laws since it is operated and administered by a Europe based technology firm.
Will 22Bet accept the naira as a valid payment to fund my sportsbook account?
Yes, the company is renowned for its acceptance of just about every popular form of fiat currency and many cryptocurrencies as well.
From what age may I start to place bets in Nigeria?
Nigeria’s law governing gambling determines that persons must be over the age of 18 before they may start gambling.
How does NairaBET’s odds compare to those offered the offshore casinos operating in Nigeria?
Very well, since the company became well-known for its eminently fair and open betting practices and policies.
Are there any online operators in Nigeria that will accept and pay bets without requiring me to verify my account details?
Not that we are aware of and if you discover a site following such practices, we strongly recommend you avoid them completely since this may put you in breach of international money laundering laws.
How often will NairaBET or any of the offshore operators require me to verify my account details?
They will request you comply with the verification process on a randomly irregular basis, meaning there is no specified number they work towards.
While Nigeria’s outdated legal system represents a relatively typical example of its time, it also shares a wide variety of problems and issues common in most countries around the world, an incapability to deal with online regulatory requirements. However, while adhering to the law, it implemented the state has also taken a very considerate attitude and stance towards gambling. This is reflected in its unwillingness to prevent its citizens from accessing the websites of offshore sportsbook and casino venues. One hopes for the sake of its locals is these current attitudes will continue to persist once Nigeria gets around to dealing with its future laws governing online gambling activities. If they succeed, they may turn Africa’s largest economy into Africa’s largest gambling industry.