The first reason is that Nigerians are into sports, especially soccer. The local soccer league is among the best in Africa, while the national team is ranked 32nd globally. What's more? There are fans of the top-flight leagues, for example, Italian Serie A, German Bundesliga, English Premier League, Spanish La Liga, etc. Many Nigerian sports fans don't just follow the action; they also bet on their favorite teams.
The fantastic sports betting bonuses and other promotions play a vital role in popularizing betting in Nigeria. Many bettors get attracted by the free bets, welcome deposit bonuses, reload bonuses, cashback, and VIP programs, among other goodies.
The Nigerian sports betting industry has come a long way. In this segment, find out the history of betting in the West African country, its current state, and what the future holds.
History of betting in Nigeria
Gambling, including sports betting, has always existed in Nigeria despite being criticized by religion. It was common to find casual gamblers betting on soccer, the country's national sport. By the 90s, betting was in the land casinos only, but it attracted many gamblers.
1n 1990, the government saw the need to regulate the gambling industry. It introduced the 1990 Criminal Code Act, which legalized many forms of gambling, including sports betting. This was a move meant to generate revenue for the government and protect gamblers. The legalization of betting became a vital driver of the industry now that punters could bet without fear of prosecution, and the markets were safer.
A decade after sports betting was legalized, technology changed everything. Bettors could now wager on their favorite teams from the comfort of their sofas, courtesy of iGaming. The gamechanger was the launch of the first sports betting site, NairaBet, in 2009 by Oloye Akin Alabi. While many other offshore bookies accepted Nigerian players, NairaBet became a fan favorite as it was custom-tailored for Nigerians.
With Nigerians having an insatiable appetite for betting, more betting sites started cropping up, and in no time, there were dozens of betting brands operating in the country.