Betting in Nigeria is about to get more complicated. The local House of Representatives has put forward a new motion. The motion demands operators collect a bettor’s National Identity Numbers (NIN) before accepting a bet. The reasoning behind the requirement is age verification. It was confirmed that the National Lottery Regulatory Commission will be tasked with ensuring operator compliance.
The motion was originally moved by Isiaka Ibrahim (APC, Ogun.) Ibrahim pointed out that the gaming market is growing rapidly, predicted to reach $565 million by the end of 2022. He insisted that the industry growth should not come at the cost of Nigeria’s youth. He added that NIN requirements should be introduced as a way to ensure accountability.
A Need for Age Verification
Ibrahim continued that all gambling is subject to age verification in Nigeria. He pointed out that casinos and online gaming are not different, and that both must do due diligence. He added that online data security is a top priority, but reiterated that NIN collection is essential. If passed the motion requires operators to collect NINs from bettors. No operator will be allowed to accept money otherwise.
Ibrahim continued that betting cannot be anonymous. He concluded that both money laundering and underage gambling must be tackled simultaneously. It has been noted that online gambling is the potential for criminal activity. Money laundering in particular is a potential problem with rapid online transactions. NIN requirements would do much to stem online laundering possibilities.
Although the motion looks likely to pass it will first be referred to the House Committee on Governmental Affairs. This is not the first time that a gaming motion has gone to the Committee. However, the last motion was slammed by Akin Alabi (APC, Oyo.) It just so happens that Alabi is the founder of Nairabet, one of the more popular online sports betting sites in Nigeria.
The last motion involved the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) looking to tax bettors. The tax would have applied even if a bet didn’t win. Alabi took the opportunity to verbally denounce the motion on Twitter. His argument was that bettors don’t want to be subjected to tax if they are not winning.
Many have criticized that Alabi is in charge of regulating the National Lottery Regulatory Commission, even still he is now tasked with overseeing the new motion regarding NIN. It remains to be seen if he will take to Twitter to express his opinion.