How online Casinos are growing in Nigeria

In 2022, iGaming, which includes online casinos, is not just a growing industry, it’s a global phenomenon. Valued at $61.5 billion in 2021, the market size is expected to almost double to $114.4 by 2028.

With so much potential profit at stake, it’s no surprise companies are looking to new markets around the world. As Africa’s biggest economy, Nigeria represents huge opportunity for providers such as Virgin Games and its exciting Slingo Casino product.

Though they are gaining popularity today, online casinos were slower to take off in Nigeria than in many other nations. Not because Nigeria’s 218 million population didn’t have an appetite for iGaming, but due to legal and technical stumbling blocks.

The law

As with many nations, Nigeria has always wrestled with how to regulate iGaming within its borders. Balancing individual liberties, community safeguarding, political differences, and financial concerns has proved to be a tough task.

Until 2004, casinos and gaming of any kind were outlawed in Nigeria. After its legalisation, lottery games were introduced along with a small number of land-based casinos.

This deregulation opened the door for online casinos to begin targeting Nigerian citizens, but the rules remained a little unclear. Even today, the legality of online casinos in Nigeria is something of a grey area.

A lack of regulations means Nigerian citizens are free to play offshore online casinos without fear of prosecution. An onshore ban on certain games, however, has created a lack of certainty for providers operating within Nigeria’s borders.

Though not officially legal until 2016, an absence of regulations meant there have been ways for online casinos to operate. After 2016, due to pressure from neighbouring nations, Nigeria finally authorised some online casinos and began granting licences.

Today, though the legality is still technically unclear in many situations, several major online casinos are operating in Nigeria. Crucially, the regulations now allow Nigerian citizens to fund their casino accounts using Nigerian currency from Nigerian bank accounts.

All taken into account, this means ordinary Nigerian citizens are now free to enjoy online casinos as they wish. While all this was happening, however, Nigeria also needed a technological revolution to occur.

Mobile gaming

When it was first introduced into Nigeria, online gaming could be played on a desktop PC or laptop only. Players would be required to download the hosting site’s software in order to enjoy their casino in this way.

This was the point at which the popularity of online casinos began to grow for many Nigerian citizens. What was really needed, however, was a technological revolution that would put casinos in the hands of millions of citizens.

Statistics from 2020 show that approximately 20% of Nigerians own home computers, but nearly 40% have mobile phones. The advent of mobile casinos not only doubled the potential market in Nigeria, it also made playing far more convenient.

The ability to play real money games anywhere, anytime, has massively boosted the popularity of online casinos in Nigeria. As mobile ownership continues to grow, and internet connectivity continues to improve, this will only grow.

The next revolution underway in Nigeria is with data, which has previously been slow and expensive. New platforms and infrastructure are planned to improve this, helping to increase the appeal of mobile casinos even further.

Best games

So, now Nigerians are enjoying mobile casinos in increasing numbers, what games are they playing? The choice is huge, but some of the most popular online casino games in Nigeria today include:

  • Slots

These easy-to-play games that blend chance with a little skill are popular with many Nigerian players. A range of themes and strong links with sports and music brands combine with big prizes to create a wide appeal.

Slots are the most popular type of game in many parts of the world, especially on mobiles. They are also shown to appeal to a much wider age range than the standard iGaming demographic.

  • Poker

This most famous of card games attracts a huge section of the Nigerian market and 59% of online gamers overall. From Texas Hold ‘Em to Five-Card Stud, players can choose their preferred style and spend level.

Poker requires more knowledge and skill than other games and can generate great tension and excitement throughout a session. It’s also a social game, with many online providers offering chat functions where players can interact as an additional feature.

  • Classic casino

Roulette is a hugely popular choice for those who enjoy classic games of chance with opportunities to win big. Blackjack, another traditional favourite, is the top online card game for casino fans in Nigeria.

These games are particularly popular with the younger players, with almost twice as many under 35s playing than over 35s. The added involvement and interaction combine well with the relative ease of introduction and quick learning curve.

  • Live Casino

For those looking to combine the atmosphere of a physical casino with the convenience of online, live casino is perfect. Online players can connect with a live croupier and other players via a virtual link for a real-time casino experience.

This adds another dimension to the gameplay and an urgent and immersive element that appeals to many Nigerian players. It also increases the options for embracing a social side to online gaming within a more interactive setting.

These are just a few of the most popular game types in Nigeria’s growing world of online casinos today. As popularity increases, so does the range and diversity of products generating appeal to even wider markets.

Though it has not been the quickest nation to join the online casino revolution, Nigeria is catching up fast. With regulations, technology, and choice now slotting into place, the continued growth of online casinos in Nigeria seems almost unstoppable.

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