The popularity of online betting in India: What lies ahead
On a global scale, the sports betting industry was able to reach a market value of $203 billion last year according to Statista. It has become a widespread activity and is popular in the United Kingdom, USA, Australia, India, and many more. In Africa, Nigeria is the home to the largest gambling market with a burgeoning sports betting industry.
Nigeria’s gambling segment is regulated by the National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC). And based on current legislations, lottery, land-based casino, and sports betting are legal here. What’s deemed illegal are games of chances like roulette, dice games, and other non-skilled card games.
However, none of the laws in the country state that online versions of these games are prohibited and this is why Nigerians are free to place their bets on today’s best betting sites in the country that are listed by bettingsites24.ng.
Popular and Legit Sites Offering Services to Nigerian Punters
Some of the most frequented betting sites by the locals are 1xBet, 888sport, Bet365, Betway, and Bet9ja. Nigeria has also already issued licenses to over 30 sportsbooks companies since September 2018 when the NLRC has first issued one to the Africa Betting Company Nigeria Ltd.
Here is the full list of NLRC-licensed operators in Nigeria:
Name Of Company and Trading Name
Africa Betting Company Nigeria Ltd: Afribet
Kc Gaming Ltd: Bet9Ja
Alphagram West Africa Ltd: Alphagramwa
Sporty Internet Limited: Sportybet
Promoserve Inter Links Ltd: Ibet
Digi Bay Limited: Betway
Over The Top Entertainment Ltd: Nairabet
Tm Gaming Ltd: Access Bet
Blackbet Ltd: Blackbet
Crystral Gaming Limited: Betbiga
Naijabet Limited: Naijabet
Interactive Gaming Solutions Limited: Cloud Bet
Visatech Limited: Betlion
Calgary Online Limited: Betpawa
Beaufortbet Nigeria Limited: 1Xbet
Advance Hospitality Limited: Betwinner
Bet24Hrs Gaming Company Limited: Bet24Hrs
Epl Partners Nigeria Limited: Betbonanza
Zegaming Nigeria Limited: Zebet
Mobile Sport Limited: Msport
Interwetten Nigeria Limited: Interwetten
Shade International Gaming Limited: Betika
Otrada Hospitality Limited: Melbet
Infinity Mobile Gaming & Entertainment Limited: Bangbet
Sv Gaming Limited: Betking
Neomobile Entertainment Ltd: Booster 99
Arcadia Hospitality Limited: 22Bet
Merrybet Gold Limited: Merrybet
Lucky9Ja Lotto Limited: Ilot
Soloti Gaming Ltd: Frapapa
N1 Interactive Africa Limited: N1
Starlight Ace Verde Gaming Ltd: Starbet
West Africa Betting Investment Limited: Betmojo
Winners Golden Bet Nigeria Limited: Winners Golden Bet
These are the operators that are free to offer sports betting services in the country. While Nigerians can still place bets on offshore-based betting sites, the NLRC has been making efforts to direct the players or bettors back to these licensed companies.
Recently, it was reported that the NLRC started to form a cooperative task with Nigeria’s Financial Intelligence Unity (NFIU) to restrict gamblers from playing on unregulated sites. NLRC also teamed up with Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) to fight “unscrupulous companies” operating in the country.
NLRC Director-General Lanre Gbajabiamila spoke about these partnerships and said, “Our alliance and cooperation are now more imperative, and as responsible agencies, it is our duty to keep pace with the dynamic and growing complexity of the modern lottery industry which features multi-channel availability, the electronic delivery of play, and complex financial transactions.”
With this, the commission likely aims to follow Australia’s footsteps in regulating online gambling. Australia has unlicensed gambling sites in the country blocked with the help of local ISPs. However, many aren’t impressed with this move and the gamblers in the country are still betting offshore anyway. Gamblers can easily access banned sites with the use of a VPN.
Still, it’s likely that the NLRC will have a similar approach and figure out ways to develop better solutions.
Why Makes Sports Betting Attractive?
Nigeria’s interest in sports betting is mainly from the country’s love for sports. The most popular followed sports here are football, basketball, cricket, Dambe, and boxing. When it comes to football, European football leagues are the favorites like the IPL and the UEFA Championships.
The accessibility of sportsbooks also plays a big role in the growth of Nigeria’s betting industry. Internet infrastructure has also greatly improved and people are more confident and comfortable placing bets online. The country also has a rising youth and mobile population.
There are also research and studies that found how unemployment could affect people’s interest in gambling. Africa’s unemployment rate has reached a new high this year and there are studies that link unemployment to gambling. These studies found that many youths would go to online casinos or place sports bets online to try and make profits. While this is generally not healthy, it is happening. This is why the efforts of NLRC to regulate gambling and betting in Nigeria is crucial.
Get the latest news delivered straight to your inbox every day of the week. Stay informed with the Guardian’s leading coverage of Nigerian and world news, business, technology and sports.