In a single bold stroke Nigerian lawmakers are planning to solve the “Gordian Knot” of gambling legislation in the nation by consolidating all existing gaming rules and regulations in a single bill.
Hitherto all gaming in the West African economic powerhouse has been bedevilled by a clutch of complicated and often contradictory controls, such as: the Pools Betting Control Law and Pools Betting Tax Law, both 2003; Lagos State Lotteries Law, 2004; Casino and Gaming Regulatory Authority Law and Casino and Gaming Regulations, of 2007; and, most recently, the Lagos State Lotteries (Amendment) Law, 2008.
Now, Lagos State’s Assembly is planning to supersede all existing gambling legislation and weld it, united, under a proposed new Lagos State Lotteries and Gaming Authority Bill, 2020.
It is also planned to coordinate all gaming activities in Lagos State through a unitary controlling body.
This authority would have the power to grant licenses for lottery, pool and similar betting operations.
Operators must be registered in Nigeria and have a minimum NGN20m (£40k/$52k) of share capital. Precedence would be given to Nigerian nationals over foreigners. And special investigative care would be taken to exclude potential money launderers.
Deputy Speaker of the Assembly Wasiu Sanni-Eshinlokun has estimated that around 60 million Nigerians are expected to have a flutter this year alone.
Gambling legislation needs to be updated to reflect modern trends, and especially the increasing popularity of online gaming, said the speaker.
The new Lagos State Lottery and Gaming Authority would regulate all gaming and connected activities, said Majority Leader of the House, S.O.B Agunbiade.
Dr. Rabiu Olowo, state Commissioner for Finance, said: “A lot has changed in the Nigerian gaming sector in the last 10 years. The industry has continued to expand and the future of gaming in Nigeria is bright and I believe Lagos will benefit a lot from it.”
Any income generated through the gaming industry would be earmarked for the health sector, the environment, sports promotion and welfare of the people, legislators agreed.