The new proposed bill championed by the House of Representatives’ Committee on Governmental matters, is seeking for the enactment of an Act that will repeal the National Lottery Act of 2005 and the National Lottery Act (As amended) 2017.
At the public hearing in Abuja, one of the topics raised was the non-payment of taxes to the government coffers by foreign gaming companies that offer online games to the public.
According to Akin Alabi, the Chairman of the Committee on Governmental Affairs (the house of Rep Committee that deals with the issues affecting the gaming industry) and the founder of Naira Bet, the first Nigerian online sports betting company; international betting companies operating in the Nigerian space, must pay tax to the Nigeria government.
Oloye Alabi stated in his speech, that foreign operators that have customers in Nigeria are not paying to Nigerian authorities. He cited Bet365; which is one of the biggest gaming companies in the world as one of those companies. According to him, anybody can go to Bet365 (online), register, fund their wallet and start playing.
The companies will then make money off Nigerians who play their games online, without paying any kobo to the Federal Inland Revenue Service.
On the issue of the on- going battle for supremacy between the federal and State government on the regulation of the gaming industry, Alabi was of the opinion that both the federal and the State (s) should find ways to co-exist, as one cannot do without the other. He urged all stakeholders to come together on how best to run the industry and that the new proposed legislation is meant to fill all the lacunas in the existing law (s).
The Sports betting operators also made a presentation at the occasion highlighting the challenges posed by multiple regulations in the industry and urged online service/technical providers to engage the regulators, in order to properly license their products/activities.
Peter Akpatason (Deputy Majority Leader), who represented the Speaker of the House; Femi Gbajabiamila, while speaking on the proposed bill, stated that “The bills are crucial legislation deserving of thorough consideration and reasoned debate by the parliament of the people, acting in the people’s best interests.
Another topic that was touched at the hearing was the issue of illegal bet carried out in the African continent in 2021 which was an estimated $1.7 trillion, and the on-going process for the acquisition of a central monitoring system that will oversee the activities of the whole lottery industry in Nigeria.