Lawmakers Call for Proper Regulation of Lotteries and Sports Betting

May 13, 2024 | Lottery News

Call for the establishment of a central monitoring system for the sports betting industry in Nigeria

ABUJA, Nigeria (May 11, 2024) — Local media outlets report the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Intergovernmental Affairs, Mr. Canice Nwachukwu, says the Committee was not going to call for the shutting down of sport betting but will ensure it follows laid down rules so that it does not become harmful to the society.

He also called for the establishment of a central monitoring system for the sports betting industry in Nigeria.

Broadcasting station ‘Voice of Nigeriareported he said this during a public hearing on the Need to Curtail the Dangerous Effect’s of Sport’s Betting and Direct the National Lottery Regulatory Commission to comply with the Lottery Regulatory Commission Act at the National Assembly Complex in Abuja.

“We are all Nigerians. We would not go against people doing their business. The have rights to exercise their franchise. But what we are saying is we have to play within the rules of the game.

“We have to arm the system to control and enforce all the provisions that would allow gaming and betting to flow smoothly without becoming a social menace.

“I am not going to be here to say we are going to shut gaming and betting and people operating in that sector. What we would do is to make sure there is a level playing ground whereby all the mechanisms that should be out in place to ensure it does not become inimical to the society.

“We have to play within the rules of engagement. That comes to the issue of a central monitoring system. It must be introduced. This is going to a reasonable extent help is solved some of the problems we are having now.

“By the time we have the system in place some of these stories would become history. It is not going to be completely eradicated but to a reasonable extent it will solve some of these issues.” Mr. Nwachukwu said.

Dangers of betting

The Deputy Director of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, Sandra Agbor, appealed that while awaiting the review and passage of the Nigerian Lottery Regulatory Commission Act 2005, the President should enact an Executive Order on the dangers of sports betting in Nigeria.

Speaking on the contribution of sports betting to the economy, she said Nigerians plough about $2 billion a year into sports betting annually.

Agbor also said that the Nigerian sports betting market is rapidly developing, and has a positive effect on the economy.

She said the industry can attract investors, create new jobs, and generate more revenue to the national purse.

She pointed out that the negative effects should be factored into the design of a holistic response that will protect the underage, prevent fraud, and confront addiction in Nigeria.

Similarly, the Director General of the National Lottery Regulatory Commission, Mr Lanre Gbajabiamila, said that lottery and gaming remains a veritable development instrument to make sports entertainment a revenue spinning venture.

Represented by the Director Licensing and Operation, Obi Yeregu, the DG said the Commission has put in a lot of measures to not only mitigate the adverse effects of sports betting,” he said.

The Association of Nigerian bookmakers Olafadeke Akeju, said sports betting industry makes significant contributions to the Nigerian economy through job creation, tax revenue generation, and investment in local communities.

She said by supporting responsible gaming and regulatory compliance, the sports betting industry is contributing to the sustainable growth of the gaming sector.

Ajeku noted that, as responsible members of society, they are committed to promoting responsible gaming practices and ensuring compliance with relevant regulatory frameworks.

She said operators play a crucial role in curbing the side effects of gaming and promoting responsible gambling practices which cannot be undermined in any society.

She said the protection of gaming customers can be achieved through education, awareness campaigns, and responsible gaming tools, aimed at preventing problem gambling and mitigating the harmful effects to individuals and communities.

Head of Legal and Compliance and Stakeholders’ Engagement, KC Gaming Networks Ltd (Bet9ja), Adewale Akande, said sports betting industry is rapidly expanding in Nigeria, and it has been a huge source of revenue to the government at all levels as well as huge employers of labour.

Akande said the industry is still at its infancy and has a lot of potential for more growth.

He urged that young industry be nurtured for the betterment of all Nigerians.

He said making sports betting illegal could have significant negative impacts on both the government and customers.

He said it may push individuals towards unregulated and potentially risky alternatives, leaving them vulnerable to fraud and exploitation. Overall, banning sports betting could deprive both the government and customers of benefits while creating additional challenges.

SOURCE: Voice of Nigeria.

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