The potential for iGaming in Nigeria uncovered

There is a growing positivity surrounding the Nigerian iGaming industry. As the nation breathes a collective sigh of relief following the announcement of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), it’s hoped that many burgeoning industries such as the world of iGaming can be allowed to flourish and bring much-needed tax revenues to the country.

Many analysts within the iGaming industry believe Nigeria has the potential to become Africa’s iGaming hub. Its domestic market is already forecast to be worth $2 billion, due largely to sports betting and the fascination with Nigerian soccer stars overseas like Odion Ighalo at Manchester United. Meanwhile, the domestic penetration of smartphones is also recognised, with some 83% of the population now owning a mobile device.

Nigeria was also a major focal point during this year’s SBC Digital Summit Africa, which was understandably conducted virtually earlier this month. Ahead of the summit, experts enrolled in the event were asked to vote on which African country offered the best foundations for iGaming operators to thrive. Nigeria outperformed every other nation, with 31% of all votes labelling Nigeria as the country with the highest potential to make a real
success of its domestic iGaming sector.

Even South Africa, which has a well-established domestic iGaming market, ranked second with just 28% of the vote. Prospective Nigerian iGaming operators should certainly take a leaf out of the book of South African iGaming brands, many of which have cultivated a strong customer base through the use of incentives and sign-up bonuses. The vast majority of offers available at platforms like Casinos.co.za, direct gamers to the safest and most reputable
platforms.

One of the main reasons that industry experts believe in Nigeria’s iGaming potential is that it already boasts an engaged target demographic. Many of its young adults are already betting on sports like soccer and boxing, and there is a feeling that introducing them to casino gaming verticals would not be too difficult a stretch. Marry that with a growing number of smartphone users, which is predicted to reach over 140 million people by 2025, and you can
see the potential for iGaming apps and web applications to provide immersive, secure gaming
on the go.

Presently, the country has three separate bodies responsible for licensing online betting activities – the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), the Special Control Unit against Money Laundering (SCUML) and the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP). At the time of writing, online betting at a domestic Nigerian site is strictly prohibited by law. Loopholes regarding offshore operators make it possible for
Nigerians to play elsewhere, but it seems somewhat short-sighted for the Nigerian government to steer clear of creating its own regulated, revenue-making iGaming industry.

In a nation of substantial population, supporters of developing a domestic iGaming industry in Nigeria believe that the most would be a positive step, creating new career opportunities for everyday people. This could be in customer support, game development or any other facet of an iGaming operator. All the while, generating tax revenues for the Nigerian government and helping to breathe new life into the domestic economy.

There is a general feeling that Nigeria’s gaming industries tend to follow the same path as South Africa’s. The SBC Digital Summit Africa revealed that there has been a “seismic shift” from sports betting markets to casino games in the last eight months, including live dealer tables, that’s according to Sean Coleman, CEO of the South Africa Bookmakers Association.

Live dealer games seemingly “appeal to millennials” across South Africa. Dean Finder, CEO of Evolution Services SA believes the fact that live dealer games are “not gender biased” is an opportunity to reach out to female players, which are an often “unserved market” across Africa.

For these trends to follow suit in Nigeria, operators will need to build further trust in their
games and regulatory measures to curry favour with the country’s legislature.

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