Nigeria is home to 201 million people, many of whom enjoy gambling. The local gambling industry is well-established and still growing. But the betting business has been a grey area with few official boundaries. This leaves room for illegal activities.
Nigeria’s size and status mean that financial and legal decisions affect Africa. This has now led to upset. The upset is due to the government tackling offshore and unregulated gambling operators.
A Growing Problem
Nigeria’s gambling industry is one of the fastest-growing in the world. This has presented authorities with the challenge of regulating it. Since 2019, Nigerian players could access offshore online casinos with little official supervision. But this resulted in problems. Tax evasion, capital flight and illicit financial transactions have become common.
Nigeria’s Financial Intelligence Unit has united with the Nigerian Lottery Regulatory Commission. Together, they’ll create a task force. This task force will crackdown on gamblers using illegal platforms.
There was a past partnership between the NLCR and Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). This partnership aimed to regulate to the gambling industry. But it was not successful. This led to the recent harsher approach. NLRC director-general Lanre Gbajabiamila commented on the partnership. He said that the current alliance is addressing the issues with increased urgency.
Lessons From Australia
Australian authorities faced a similar issue with offshore casino operators. They attempted to block sites via internet service providers. When this failed to fix the problem, they had to take a stricter approach.
The Nigerian gambling industry has grown fast over the past decade. Now, it serves many purposes. Entertainment, job creation and revenue generation are all considerations. Despite this, the issues that come with a lack of regulation will persist. More so if different authorities fail to coordinate their plans and efforts.
Fears of Corruption
As with many activities that involve money, gambling can attract those up to no good. In the unregulated offshore casino playground, this is common. There are fears of money laundering, illegal money generation and even terrorism. These are of great concern to authorities. The legal status of gambling in Nigeria is also quite unclear. Laws and regulations differ according to the type of game, as one example.
Government Stepping In
Nigerian authorities are hoping the MoU will bring much-needed clarity. And that it will offer better oversight of the gambling industry. While this partnership sounds promising, Nigerian authorities may battle. They have a history of not seeing eye-eye when it comes to gambling and industry regulation.