How to obtain a gambling license in Nigeria?.
Africa is the second-largest continent in terms of landmass and the third-largest in population size. These figures are of great interest to businesses seeking new markets for development. Among all African countries, we have identified one that is the most liberal regarding gambling regulations, where more than 30% of the population engages in games of chance – Nigeria.
Key advantages of obtaining a license in Nigeria
- It covers multiple gambling verticals (sports betting, online casinos, lotteries).
- The regulator does not prohibit operations outside Nigeria if such activities are permitted (or not prohibited) in those countries.
- A continuously growing population actively participating in games.
Process of obtaining a gambling license
For simplicity, we propose breaking down the process into two crucial stages:
(a) Company registration in Nigeria;
(b) Application submission to the National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC) and completion of necessary compliance procedures to obtain a license to operate within and outside Nigeria.
Specifics of the Nigerian license
- A federal license allows operations only online because individual states have own rules. For instance, Lagos State has a separate body regulating the issuance of gambling licenses.
- Roulette, dice games, and unlicensed card games are prohibited.
- Online casinos are permitted, although their operational conditions are not explicitly outlined in the law, and legal online operators must comply with norms applicable to land-based casinos.
Requirements for obtaining a gambling license in Nigeria
To acquire a license, the applicant needs to undergo several crucial procedures. Below is a brief list of the primary regulator’s requirements:
- Company registration and proper documentation are mandatory.
- Qualified employees with reputable backgrounds must be employed in each company.
- Detailed information about the planned games for operation (rules, certification), secure servers, data protection measures, and a reliable payment processing system are required.
- The company must provide a financial forecast for the next 5 years.
- A local legal entity must have a minimum statutory capital of approximately 30,114 EUR (30 million NGN); if foreign-owned, at least 30% of its shares should belong to a Nigerian citizen.
- Preparation of Anti-Money Laundering/Know Your Customer policies and obtaining a certificate from Nigeria’s regulatory body, the Special Control Unit against Money Laundering (SCUML), is necessary.
- The regulator requires a bank guarantee of 25,095 EUR (25 million NGN) for all types of licenses.
SBSB Fintech Lawyers possess unique experience in launching and supporting gambling projects. We can easily guide you through this license’s intricacies and prepare all the necessary documentation to kickstart your business.
License cost and types in Nigeria
- A sports betting license will cost you 100,379 EUR (100 million NGN) plus a 2,008 EUR (2 million NGN) application fee. Interestingly, members of the Association of Nigerian Bookmakers receive a 50% discount on this license. The license duration is 5 years.
- A lottery license is cheaper – 10,038 EUR (10 million NGN) plus a 2,008 EUR (2 million NGN) application fee, but you need a statutory capital of around 100,379 EUR (100 million NGN). This license is valid for 10 years.
- An online casino license is also expensive – 100,379 EUR (100 million NGN) plus a 2,008 EUR (2 million NGN) application fee.
It’s noticeable that several African countries are relatively lenient towards the gambling industry, issuing licenses even for unregulated verticals. This isn’t surprising as tax revenues from this business often constitute a significant portion of state budgets. Additionally, African populations enjoy gambling and actively participate in it.
Mobile gambling is particularly active here since not all countries have widespread access to other technologies. Moreover, while individual bets might be small, Africans place numerous bets, leading to the emergence of many operators in this region. Clear regulations and fast licensing (within 3 months) distinguish Nigeria from other jurisdictions.
However, this isn’t cheap and will require significant resources and investment. But if you’re interested in tapping into a continuously growing market, this license might be for you, and the SBSB Fintech Lawyers team is ready to support your business from start to finish.