The Nigerian Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC) has faced the criticism of the local House of Representatives, with the latter blaming it for its failure to impose effective regulation of the sector.
According to local lawmakers, it was the Commission that was responsible for the failures in implementing the sector’s regulation efficiently, which on the other hand resulted in Nigeria losing an amount estimated at more than ₦1.493 trillion. The NLRC, on the other hand, has blamed lack of efficient regulation in the industry for the unsatisfactory revenue amount generated by the sector.
As far as the sector’s performance is concerned, Bello Maigari, the acting National Lottery Trust Fund’s Executive Secretary shared that the trend of the sector failing to meet its revenue target has been going on for several years now. According to Mr. Maigari, who spoke before the House Committee on Inter-Governmental Affairs, the revenue target of ₦1.5 trillion could hardly be reached by the sector, which was only able to generate approximately ₦7 billion in 13 years.
Considering the estimated high potential of the local market, the 5-year cumulative returns amounting to a little over ₦7 billion, which was found completely unacceptable for the sector. Mr. Maigari also shared his regret that the Nigerian lottery industry’s revenue growth was hurt by foul practices, conflict of interest, etc.
New Legislation Needed by the Sector
For the time being, there are a total of 21 operators who offer licensed lottery products across the country, after their operating licenses were given the green light by the President Muhammadu Buhari. The Nigerian House of Representatives has already threatened the operators that were found guilty of not paying the amount due to authorities by withdrawing their licenses.
The Executive Secretary of the National Lottery Trust Fund further noted that the lack of proper regulation in the country has been beneficial for the lottery and gaming operators there. Mr. Maigari further reminded that according to some industry experts, the Nigerian lottery sector is actually the most attractive market on the territory of Africa.
According to estimates, the lottery has made a significant contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) not only of Nigeria but also of other countries in Africa. For the time being, approximately 7.5 million Nigerian citizens were betting on lotteries on a daily basis. The number of Nigerians engaged in sports betting operations every day amounted to approximately 22 million.
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Lanre Gbajabiamila, the Director General of the NLRC, also shared his opinion of local lottery legislation, saying that the fact that Nigerian laws on the matter were not up-to-date with the contemporary state of the market, which was also the reason why inadequate legislation has contributed to the slow growth of the sector. Still, Mr. Gbajabiamila explained that the Commission is aimed at helping the sector reach international standard, despite there was a lot of work to be done in terms of renewal of the already existing laws.