These are exciting times for online gambling in Nigeria. The economy is strong, the population is young, and there is growing access to mobile phones and the internet. These factors have combined to create a fertile ground for the growth of online gambling.
Nigerians are extremely passionate about sports. Soccer is almost like a religion for millions in the country. Naturally, this has led to the rise of sports betting as a major gambling activity in the country. But with the changing times, online casino gambling is also emerging in a big way.
Legality of online casinos in Nigeria
No article about the safety of online gambling is complete without a look at the legal aspect. It is important to clarify important points about this vital area before moving on to the Nigerian online casino market.
For the most part, Nigeria is a largely gambling friendly (or neutral) market when compared to many other countries. Offline gambling is legal and available through a few casinos and betting parlors in the country.
Online gambling is unregulated and Nigeria does not have any laws prohibiting any aspect of it as a criminal offence. This is a key reason for the rapid growth of the online casino and sports betting industry in Nigeria.
Online Gambling options for Nigerians in 2019
When it comes to sheer choice, things have never looked better for Nigerian punters. The Nigerian online market is vibrant and varied, growing at a fair rate. Thanks to increasing demand among young Nigerians, an ever-increasing number of operators seek to foray into the Nigerian market.
There are two major options for online gambling in Nigeria:
- Online sportsbooks
- Online casinos
Sports betting is a dominant pastime in Nigeria, with soccer being the most popular betting market. Nigerians bet in huge numbers on the domestic NPFL, and the international matches of the Nigerian national team – The Super Eagles. Other favourite betting markets include the popular European leagues such as the English Premier League and the Spanish La Liga.
Online sportsbooks are easily available in Nigeria. There are many domestic operators as well as international entrants into the market at present. Of these, Nairabet, Bet9ja, and Merrybet are the biggest players. All three are licensed by the Lagos State Lotteries Board and offer legal online betting to Nigerians across the country.
Due to the massive betting market in Nigeria, many international brands like William Hill, Betway, and 888 have started accepting Nigerian players in recent years. They are expanding in a big way in Africa, and Nigeria is one of the hottest destinations at present for overseas betting brands.
The state of Online Casinos in Nigeria
Online casino gambling in Nigeria began back in 2013. The first-ever Nigerian online casino was launched that year. Called NairaGames.com, it did not survive for too long and is currently not active.
Unlike in sports betting, there is a clear lack of well-established domestic players on the online casino scene in Nigeria. Due to the huge demand, many new operators have sprung up in recent times, but it will take them time to establish themselves as reliable brands.
So what is the alternative if a Nigerian player wants access to safe online gambling? Well, there are actually hundreds of alternatives out there! Offshore casino operators tend to have a benign view towards countries where online gambling is not explicitly prohibited.
And since Nigeria is one such country, many European online casinos are only too happy to allow Nigerian players to use their services online. It is next to impossible to provide their entire list here, as it would be too long!
The best thing to do would be to head to a reputed online review site like NoDeposit365. They offer the most comprehensive list of online casinos for Nigerians.
Big names are entering the Nigerian Online Casino scene
There is a common trend seen across the entire Nigerian gambling scene. Big-name brands from overseas are eager to offer their betting services to Nigerians. This is true in the case of online casinos as well.
The biggest and most recognizable names include Betrally, Bet365, and 1xBet. They all welcome Nigerian players and offer cool rewards and exciting bonuses for signing up and playing. Some other popular names include:
- Vbet Casino
- Red Stag Casino
- Casino Las Vegas
- Mega Casino
- Slotty Vegas
Safety and reliability of online casinos in Nigeria
Casino safety is crucial for an enjoyable gambling experience. Players have to be extra careful since the Nigerian market is still young and quite chaotic. Many new casinos are launched with each passing day, and appear to offer very attractive terms and bonus packages.
But it is important to look beyond these bonuses. One must pay attention to the casino’s reputation, reliability, license, and terms & conditions. In these aspects, offshore casinos have a clear advantage. The casinos licensed by regulators in the UK, Malta, Gibraltar, and Curacao offer a safe online gaming experience.
These casinos may require player information and document verification on registration. But at least they can be held accountable if they do anything wrong. This is not possible in the case of unlicensed rogue online casinos.
Nigerian players should take advantage of the global casino market. There are thousands of licensed online casinos around the world that accept Nigerian bets. Therefore, finding a safe online casino will not be very hard.
How online casinos handle payments for Nigeria-based players
Many online sportsbooks in Nigeria accept bets in the local currency – Naira. Unfortunately, this is not the case when it comes to online casinos. Most casinos only accept major international currencies such as US Dollars, British Pounds, and the Euro. African currencies in the international casinos are restricted to the South African Rand, which is available in quite a few casinos that serve that market.
But as the Nigerian market continues to grow, operators are sure to start accepting payments in Nairas. Until then, payments in US Dollars or Euros represent the best option for players from Nigeria. Credit cards are the safest and easiest option for both payments and withdrawals.
Whereto for Online Casinos In Nigeria?
The online casino market in Nigeria is in a strong growth phase at the moment where an increasing number of operators start to serve this exciting new market. Things will only get better for Nigerian players in the near future as the market attains further maturity. Until then, the best option is to play it safe and look for licensed offshore casinos for the latest slots and cards action.