Nigeria’s Federal Government will aid bookmakers’ COVID-19 pandemic recovery. Since the industry generates so much tax, this is in everyone’s interest.

nigeria online gambling
Source: Adeolu Eletu on Unsplash

Nigeria’s Federal Government has promised to support the local sports betting industry over the crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic. Director General of the country’s National Lottery Regulation Commission (NLRC), Lanre Gbajabiamila made the announcement in May 2020. He was addressing Nigeria’s Sports Betting Permit holders when he made the assurances.

Ensuring Sustained Viability

Gbajabiamila explained that the Federal Government does not want to see bookmakers suffering any undue setbacks during the novel coronavirus pandemic, and that it will do whatever possible to ensure that this does not happen. In addition, the Director General continued, the government will give necessary approval for all forms of palliative measures that will be taken to ensure that the sportsbooks’ businesses remain viable.

Looking After Investment

Nigeria has been looking to expand and regulate its gambling industry for some time, in order to generate much-needed tax revenue, to promote responsible gambling and to prevent underage gambling. With that in mind, Gbajabiamila added that the Government could simply sit back and watch an industry into which it has invested so much, and which has so much potential, simply “go down the drain” because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Supporting Operational Challenges

The meeting with permit holders became necessary, Gbajabiamila said, to ensure close contact with operators over this time and to evaluate the challenges they might be facing. He expressed the authorities’ desire to work with bookmakers and overcome the difficulties that the pandemic and subsequent lockdown have imposed.

The Director General concluded by saying that he was confident that the Federal Government would play its part in identifying challenges peculiar to the sports betting industry and the coronavirus context, and in approving any and all reasonable suggested relief measures. Such challenges and measures are yet to be fully articulated, as the health, social and economic devastation of the pandemic continues to unfold.

For their part, Gbajabiamila finished, permit holders needed to ensure that they obey any forthcoming directives, or in his words that they “all play by the rules”. Now gamblers, operators and governmental authorities alike are waiting to see what comes next, in a situation where decisive action is needed but where no one is sure what the outcome will ne or what the future will bring. This is a difficult time to operate a sports betting facility, and possible an even more difficult time to support those operation attempts.

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