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Why is Nigeria not attracting the top gambling brands?

By Guardian Nigeria
19 January 2023   |   12:03 am
Nigeria is one of the countries at the forefront of the iGaming revolution on the African continent. Along with Ghana, South Africa and Kenya, the country is making unprecedented gains from opening up to online betting companies. As it stands, there are well over 30 betting sites operating with online gaming licenses in Nigeria. To…

Casino Online Gaming PHOTO: Getty Images

Nigeria is one of the countries at the forefront of the iGaming revolution on the African continent.

Along with Ghana, South Africa and Kenya, the country is making unprecedented gains from opening up to online betting companies.

As it stands, there are well over 30 betting sites operating with online gaming licenses in Nigeria.

To the uninitiated, the number of bookmakers in the country is quite substantial. However, a cursory look at some other top iGaming destinations will show that Nigeria is barely scratching the surface.

For instance, Kenya has over 50 registered betting companies with licences from the Betting Control and Licencing Board (BCLB) of Kenya.

Going by the numbers of online betting companies in Kenya, one would think that the Kenyan market is saturated, but the reality is far from that.

Currently, there are more than 20 new companies looking to obtain operational licenses to join the fray in the East African country.

Why is Kenya considered a fertile destination for iGaming companies? Why are they drawn to Kenya?

The situation becomes even more puzzling when you realize that the Kenya Revenue Authority is very strict with betting companies in terms of revenue generation and taxes that are supposed to be remitted to government coffers.

The entire online betting industry is heavily regulated and the tax man does not leave anything to chance in terms of revenue.

Currently, there are taxes on both betting stakes and winnings. And as a consequence, the subject of betting taxes has been controversial in the last few years.

Nevertheless, the government is not backing down.

In fact, recent development within the KRA has mandated betting companies to pay their taxes by 1am on a daily basis to allow for real time computation of taxes to plug the gaps.

Far from Kenya and closer to home, West African country, Ghana, is attracting more international betting companies.

Recently, renowned global brand, Bet365 launched their operations in Ghana complete with local payment methods for local players.

On the contrary, Nigeria with the largest market share for igaming in Africa seems to be struggling to attract the biggest betting brands in the world.

While there are a few brands from Eastern Europe like 1xBet and 22Bet present in Nigeria, the more popular brands like Bet365 and Unibet have overlooked Nigeria.

While Nigeria has what looks like a liberal market for igaming, the biggest brands do not find the country attractive enough for operations in Nigeria.

The Bet365 example in Ghana is quite telling. This is because Ghana does not have the market size Nigeria boasts of and clearly not even the demographic required for a betting company to be successful.

Yet, Bet365 decided to launch its presence in Africa in Ghana.

With the absence of some of these famous global brands, igaming enthusiasts in Nigeria are missing out on the best betting bonuses.

Away from the Kenyan and Ghanaian examples, a much smaller country in Southern Africa, Zambia recently welcomed Unibet, another global brand.

Despite not anywhere close to any of the biggest online betting industries in Africa, Zambia are beginning to pull their weight.

Sadly, Nigeria is not getting any consideration from the big international brands.

Many have attributed the lack of interest in the igaming industry here in Nigeria to a few factors.

The regulatory framework is still in its infancy with a lot of uncertainty for betting companies. Granted the National Lottery Regulatory Commission is doing its best to standardize the online betting industry, there is still a long way to go.

However, analysts are quite optimistic that it is just a matter of time before the global brands begin to troop into Nigeria.