Nigerian authorities have teamed up to crack down on gambling corruption in the county. The CAC and NLRC are stepping up lottery regulations and vetting.

gambling corruption nigeria
Source: Bill Oxford on Unsplash

Authorities in Nigeria have signed a new deal that is intended to fight gambling corruption in the country. The Nigerian Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC) are joining forces to battle companies that they describe as unscrupulous.

Under the terms of the new agreement, the CAC and NLRC will partner up to “plug leakages” that exist within the national lottery system, while also working closely to vet potential operators’ licence applications. Both commissions are pleased with their new arrangement and believe they can really make a difference to the level of betting corruption in Nigeria.

Closer Collaboration

Corporate Affairs Commission Chief Executive Officer and Registrar General, Abubaker Garba, said his commission already worked closely with the NLRC and has been doing so since he assumed office. Now, they will step up their existing efforts to scrutinise all operating licence applicants.

The National Lottery Regulatory Commission has committed to vet all applications through the CAC, which will send them back to the NLRC for confirmation. This system of checks and balances should, said Garba, allow the two Federal agencies to carry out President Muhammadu Buhari’s call for anti-corruption measures.

When Buhari defeated previous President Goodluck Jonathan and was elected in the March of 2015, it was on the strength of a number of key pledges. The presidential hopeful made over 200 promises which included ending Boko Haram’s reign of terror in northeast Nigeria, reclaiming billions of dollars that had been lost due to corruption, and preventing future illicit activities.

Agencies Are Stronger Together

Director General of the NLRC Lanre Gbajabiamila said the collaboration with the CAC was long-overdue. He explained that his organisation’s mandate is to regulate Nigerian sports betting, gaming and lottery activities, and in January 2020 they prohibited unapproved foreign lottery games’ promotion, ticket sales and operation following multiple failures to pay out winning players. However, Gbajabiamila continued, they couldn’t do it alone because of the massive and continued growth in the country’s gambling industry.

Streamlined Operations

Garba explained that the CAC has previously experienced issues with lottery operator registration, which is why he hoped that the closer collaboration with the NLRC would ameliorate these problems in the future.

The more aggressive new anti-corruption plan includes a change in the earlier requirement of approval in principle. Previously, it was stipulated that operators must get approval in principle from the NLRC before applying for a lottery licence.

However, Garba said his agency had become aware of how the approval in principle requirement led to a delay in the process of properly regulating lottery companies. Now approval in principle has largely been dispensed with, and the CAC plans to create a database of registered and approved operators.

Players will be able to check the legitimacy of a lottery site from their desktop and mobile devices, within a matter of moments. By streamlining the regulatory process, the NLRC and CAC are hoping to keep better control of who offers and buys lotto tickets.

Better Protection and More Taxes

As with other areas of gambling, regulated lotteries mean better player protection and more effective collection of taxes. The increased taxes, if properly utilised, should benefit ordinary Nigerian citizens while the stricter regulation should ensure no further failures to pay out player winnings. Lottery participants’ privacy should now also be ensured.

Now that the agencies’ collaboration has been announced, Nigeria and the rest of the gambling world are watching with interest to see if they are success. The illegal activities will, it is hoped, be reduced as much as Boko Haram has been – and another Buhari pledge will be fulfilled.

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