The Nigerian gambling industry generates approximately ₦250 billion every year. Until recently, the gambling industry has not been regulated well. This situation has not been good for the country or for Nigerian gamblers.
Recently, the government started working to integrate existing gambling regulation and to implement laws that cover all types of gambling in the country. A similar situation happened in Germany recently, where the government passed laws to protect gamblers and to gain a share of gambling revenues. Nigerian authorities might be able to learn important lessons from Germany.
Nigerian Gambling Industry Growth
Gambling has been popular in Nigeria for a long time. The activity became even more popular when online casinos and sports betting operators started offering their services in the country. Football betting is one of the most widespread types of gambling. According to some studies, up to 70% of young Nigerians regularly bet on football matches.
The amount of money Nigerians spend on gambling increases as more operators offer services in the country every year. Betting companies usually bring in three times more money than they spend. One of the problems is that a lot of the money Nigerians spend on gambling goes to illegal casinos and sportsbooks. This happens even though the country has many licensed gambling providers.
Nigeria’s Current Gambling Regulation
Nigeria’s current gambling regulation seems to be inadequate. There are various gambling laws at state and national levels. Gambling providers pay high fees to get licenses, and they are taxed by the various regulators. This situation encourages illegal gambling operators to offer services to Nigerians.
Another problem is that online gambling is not regulated at all. Gambling online represents a huge percentage of the country’s gross gambling revenue (GGR). Even though online casinos are banned in Nigeria, nothing is being done to stop Nigerians from gambling at gambling sites based overseas.
Negative Effects Of Poor Regulation
Poor gambling regulation in Nigeria has three negative effects. Firstly, the government does not benefit from any of the profits that online and illegal gambling operators generate. In other countries, governments tax gambling operators and use that money to improve state finances. In Nigeria, less than half a percent of GGR goes to municipal causes. In the USA, approximately 30% of gambling revenue goes to the state.
Secondly, poor or no regulation means players are not protected. Countries with better regulation discourage problem gambling. They also support gamblers who struggle to control their gambling habit. Nigeria clearly needs better responsible gambling options and tools, as many Nigerians spend 10% of their monthly income on sports betting. Players also are not protected from dishonest overseas gambling operators who rig games and refuse to pay out winnings.
Thirdly, poor regulation makes it easy for criminals to launder money. If Nigerian authorities do not want to encourage money laundering, they need to take decisive steps to prevent those activities from happening.
Nigeria Can Learn From New German Laws
Until July 2021, German gamblers had unlimited access to foreign gambling sites. The country’s laws applied to a small number of land-based casinos. Online casinos were not covered by the laws.
All that changed when the Interstate Treaty on Gambling came into effect last year. The treaty lets operators get licenses that are valid for five years if they comply with strict rules.
Many of those rules are designed to protect players and encourage responsible gambling. For example, casino bonuses cannot be worth more than €100 (less than ₦50,000), there must be low limits on monthly deposits, and operators cannot offer in-game betting on sports matches. Many of the other rules which operators must follow cover game functionality. For example, online slot spins must be at least five seconds long.
Germany’s new gambling laws introduced a betting tax on players. The state imposes a 5.3% tax on every bet that players place.
What Nigeria Can Learn
The Nigerian government obviously realises that the country’s gambling laws need to be stricter. One sign of this was the National Gaming Conference that happened in Lagos in July 2021.
Proper regulation can lead to more money for state projects as well as jobs for thousands of Nigerians. Another sign that the government wants to tackle Nigeria’s gambling problems is the Lagos State Lotteries Board’s collaboration with iGaming Academy. The academy offers online gaming training. The collaboration will help Nigerians in the gambling sector to learn about international standards. The focus will be on responsible gambling and anti-money laundering measures.
Nigerian officials can learn a lot from Germany. They should pay attention to how the new treaty affects the gambling sector, especially in the areas of player protection and profits.