What types of land-based gambling are permitted in your jurisdiction, and is gambling regulated at a national or subnational level?
Land casinos, sports betting (bookmakers), slot machine operators, raffles and Lotto shops are the types of land-based gambling permitted in Nigeria. However, it should be noted that the regulatory authorities have the power to create new licences to accommodate the ever-growing gambling industry. Gambling is regulated at both the national and state (subnational) levels, but some states run their own franchised lottery through private operators.
Please describe the licensing criteria to operate land-based gambling of each type or classification. Does your jurisdiction limit the number of available licences?
For casino licensing, an application must be made to the gambling regulatory authority in the jurisdiction or state in which the operator wishes to conduct its operations. The application shall consist of an application letter, non-refundable application fee (prescribed by the authority), documentary evidence of business incorporation, a detailed business plan or proposal of the proposed casino, its financial capability and its technical structure. Upon the submission of the application, the regulatory authority makes its decision on whether or not to grant a licence to the operator.
All other forms of land-based gambling licensed in the country follow the same application process subject to further conditions being stipulated by the regulatory gambling authority.
There are no limits on the number of available licences in the country. However, the regulatory authorities may place a temporary restriction on the number of licences issued subject to certain conditions prevailing at such times.
Director, officer and owner licensing
Must individual directors, officers or owners of licensees also be licensed or reviewed for suitability?
Based on the law currently applicable, individual directors, officers or owners of licensees are not required to be licensed but are reviewed for suitability. However, there are proposals and statutory amendments at both national and state levels to reflect current trends in this regard.
May a gambling location be part of a resort, restaurant or other multi-purpose location? What limitations apply?
Gambling may be permitted to be a part of a resort, restaurant, hotel or other multipurpose location. A popular example of gambling in a hotel is the Federal Palace Hotel casino situated in Lagos state. Lagos state provides two categories of casino licence: a stand-alone casino and a hotel casino. Licence limitations apply; for instance, the gambling resort or hotel must not be situated close to a school or in a residential area.
Are there provisions for passive or institutional ownership that allow for exemption or modification of licensing requirements?
There is no such provision for passive or institutional ownership that permits the exemption or modification of licensing requirements.
What responsible gambling obligations apply to licensees?
Currently, there are no responsible gambling obligations applicable to licensees in the country. There is also no centrally maintained exclusion list of persons who are not permitted to gamble. However, with the recent changes and developments in the gambling industry in Nigeria, regulations on responsible gambling are currently pending for passage both at the national level and in some of the states.
What type of tax and what tax rate applies to each form of lawful land-based gambling activity?
The tax rate differs across states in the country. Gambling operators are licensed at the national level and in the state where they choose to operate. Therefore, they pay tax to both the national government and state government. This has brought up the issue of double taxation on licensees within the country.
This article was co-authored by Nnedi Mgbemena.