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Niger’s Online Gambling Industry Takes Off With Ebol

Gambling is legal and illegal in Nigeria, by type. Many agree that new laws are needed, as there is currently a lack of strict regulation and weak enforcement of existing legislation. Since there are no specific laws around online gambling, with the exception of the 2005 National Lottery Act, in theory, legislation regarding land betting should also apply to the digital realm. However, in December of 2019, Lagos State began granting licenses to online sports betting, Nigerians have been playing at offshore online casinos for decades without fear of prosecution.

Gambling has always existed in Nigeria but in the past it was seen as an antisocial activity, and it was actively discouraged by the Church, which warned against the pursuit of quick fortune. In the late 1990s, in Chapter 22, Section 236 of the Criminal Code Act, the Nigerian government legalized some forms of gambling like ebolafc.net in an effort to generate tax revenue. The most common forms of gambling in Nigeria today are online sports betting (such as football and pool offers), lotteries and slot machines. The general population found that 36% of adults gambled and 53% were daily gamblers.

Online Gambling Industry Takes Off With Ebol: Money laundering
Casinos have long been identified as a target for money laundering and financial crime. High customer turnover and transaction volume make gambling a high-risk business and in 2003, the Financial Action Task Force added casinos to the list of non-financial companies required to follow its Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (AML/CFT) guidelines. This means that casinos follow similar checks to verify the knowledge of the customer and the examination of transactions applied by banks and other financial institutions. Lately, though, gambling and online gaming have come under the spotlight.

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The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) takes a close interest in the sector and is currently consulting on its updated guidance on a risk-based approach to AML/CFT for Virtual Assets and Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs). The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has long been concerned that the online gaming and gambling sector is a magnet for financial crime, and in June 2019 announced that VASPs would be subject to anti-money laundering/terrorist financing directives.

A BtoBet report released in September 2020 indicates that sports betting have emerged as an important industry, benefiting from the huge football culture in Nigeria, with millions of fans in the country, such as La Liga and the English Premier League.

PricewaterhouseCoopers, a major accounting and auditing firm, reported in 2018, that Nigeria was the second largest online betting market in Africa, with total gaming revenue of $58 million that year.

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South Africa remains the continent’s largest market, with a total GGR gambling industry of around $2 billion and 54% internet penetration. Although online gambling is technically illegal in South Africa, companies can offer online betting services if you obtain a local license. In Nigeria, regardless of international accreditation, operators still need local approval to operate in the Nigerian market.

According to some analysis, the Nigerian population spends around $5.5 million per day on sports betting, with the average bet between $7 and $8. Some speculate that the annual turnover of the bookmaker could be around $1.9-2 billion. For comparison, the gross gambling revenue (GGY) in Great Britain was $19 billion in 2018, with more than 36.6 million online accounts at licensed UKGC sites contributing to this figure.

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