Sports betting in Africa is quite different from what people are used to in other parts of the world. Unlike in America and Europe, the practice is largely unregulated in Africa, with little or no restrictions placed on sports betting in most parts of the continent. The lack of restriction has created lucrative betting markets all across the continent, with Nigeria, in particular, being a prime example.

The PASPA ban and similar acts have long made sports betting a controversial subject in some parts of Europe and the Americas and even Asia, but with no such bans placed on the practice in Nigeria, it is legal in all 36 states in the country and sports betting generated an estimated $180 million in revenue between January and October of 2018, second only to Egypt in Africa who generated an impressive $286 million during the same period.

Those numbers place both Egypt and Nigeria among the top 50 countries globally in terms of revenue generation from online gambling within that 10 month period, with Egypt placed 37th and Nigeria placed 45th worldwide. Sports betting in Nigeria and most parts of Africa dates back to British influence during the colonial era and some of the best casinos like the Eko Casino in Lagos were built under British influence.

The recent boom of the Nigerian online betting industry has been attributed to an increase in mobile phone usage all across the country, as statistics show about 76% of citizens between the ages of 17 to 50 to have access to the Internet through mobile devices. It has provided easy access to online betting platforms, as well as, easy and secure online payment methods. In 2016, there were 14 million web payments worth a total of 132 billion naira ($420 million). Transactions leaped to 29 million worth 185 billion Naira in 2017 and in the first quarter of 2018 there were nearly 10 million worth 61 billion Naira, all paid to online gambling sites.

The sheer number of sports bettors across the country daily is staggering, with a study in 2016 showing about 23% of the country’s population to place bets on weekdays, with that number rising to 32% on weekends. That number is sure to have increased since then, and with online gambling revenue set to reach the $230 million mark in 2019, the online betting market in Nigeria and Africa, in general, is as lucrative as ever.

Post by Onur Unlu, Head of Marketing & Content at