Nigeria’s House Representative Akin Alabi has announced that all betting companies operating in the country are to pay tax to the government. This includes all offshore betting companies such as his own online betting company, Nairabet. He made the announcement at a public hearing in Abuja, stating that it will pass in two new bills.
Increased Betting Regulations
The first legislation is titled “A Bill for an Act to Repeal the National Lottery Act, No.7, 2005 and the National Lottery (Amendment) Act, No.6, 2017 And Enact the National Gaming Bill”. The other is titled “A Bill for an Act to Provide for the Establishment of the Service Compact Management Agency for the Effective Management, Execution and Enforcement of Service Compact with Citizens.”
Their general purpose is to establish greater and more effective management and regulation of betting in Nigeria.
Alabi stated in his address that many foreign operators in the country have not been paying taxes to the government. Thus, they are not contributing to the country’s economy. He stated further that there should be no argument between stakeholders and the government. He believes government-controlled betting operations in the country to be a necessity. He urged all stakeholders to work in unity for it to be a success.
An Inside Understanding
Having worked as an operator, he expressed his understanding of the factors and difficulties involved. He also stated his optimism towards a healthy relationship between the government and operators. His belief is that this can happen through proper legislation.
The new bills seek to overhaul and change existing laws while creating new ones. Apart from better regulation, they also aim to better explore and exploit the full potential of the gaming industry.
The Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, a representative of the Deputy Majority Leader, Peter Akpatason, also spoke. He stated that the bills are crucial legislation and are for the people’s best interests. He reported estimates that the illegal betting revenue accumulated in Africa over 2021 amounted to around 1.7 trillion USD.
Illegal betting in Africa is estimated to reach an all-time high in 2022. This is according to the UNODC, United Nations Office On Drugs and Crime, and their publication, the Global Report on Corruption in Sport. Following the report, there have been calls for a swift and unified response to corruption, fraud, and malpractice in the gambling sector across the continent.