Currently, only three types of gambling are legal in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This includes casino gambling, the national lottery, and sports betting. The first gambling law of the country dates back to 1977, which is more than ten years after the country became an independent federation in 1960. The so-called Gaming Machines Act of 1977 initially made the import and/or possession of any gaming machines without a gambling license illegal. However, there was no proper legislation for legal gambling at that time. In 1990, Nigeria issued the Criminal Code Act, which possibly introduced the most influential changes in regard to gambling. This was the first time the government properly defined legal and illegal gambling activities. Popular casino games were outlawed, including roulette, non-skill-based card games, dice games except backgammon, and any other games of chance based purely on luck.
The National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC) was established through the National Lottery Act of 2005 to oversee the national lottery and some officially licensed casinos and gambling operators. Now slot machines can be officially offered at regulated casinos despite the Gaming Machines Act of 1977. In 2013, two companies tried to establish an online casino and a sports betting platform in the country with the support of the government but, ultimately, they failed and went bankrupt. The launch of these two sites remains a mystery, however, as online gambling was not officially regulated back then and still isn’t to this day. It seems like, in 2020, some online bingo sites started popping up that are also listed on the official website of the NLRC but no further details have been made available.
Unfortunately, there is not a lot of official information about the National Lottery Regulatory Commission of Nigeria available as most of their website is currently under construction. The majority of statements provided are relatively vague. The main reason why the NLRC was established was due to the need to regulate the operations of the lottery business, promote transparency, and provide accountability in the lottery – as well as protect the interests of players, stakeholders, and the public, as is described on the official website. Furthermore, there is mention of the following main functions for the organization:
As previously mentioned, there are no active online casinos regulated by the National Lottery Regulatory Commission of Nigeria at the time of writing. However, some bingo sites have been listed since 2020. We are not aware of the specifics of the security standards of any of these sites as the NLRC does not share official information about this topic. They seem to have an open ear for player complaints – a complaints form was integrated on the site. Players can get in touch with the regulator this way. How exactly these complaints are handled is unknown.