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‘Poor regulation undermining gaming industry’s performance’

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With the capacity to generate N5 billion yearly, stakeholders have blamed the issue of the poor regulatory framework as a factor hindering the gaming industry from optimal performance.

Akume


For instance, there are reports that the gaming industry in Nigeria, including international stakeholders in 2019, generated about N25 billion, yet revenue to the government did not exceed N1 billion in the same year.

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They argued that the industry does not look properly organised. They said the amendment of existing lottery laws to provide a legislative and regulatory framework would serve the industry to perform optimally.

Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, Dr. George Akume, in his address at the maiden National Gaming Conference, hosted by the National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC), yesterday in Lagos, said to achieve responsible gaming in Nigeria, there was the need for everyone to keep to the ethics of the industry.

He disclosed that the government had considered acquiring a Central Monitoring System (CMS), which would enable the National Lottery Trust Fund to perform maximally in its regulatory functions.

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The CMS, he said, would enable the government to block leakages as well as eliminate discrepancies from some operators.

This, he said would undoubtedly entrench transparency and accountability in the industry, thereby, making things easier for stakeholders.

Noting that the problems were both real and complex, he added that the solutions would require a shared effort, commitment, and action from operators and the government, even as he assured stakeholders that the government was determined to use all tools at its disposal to enhance revenues.

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In his keynote address, Founder, Law Allianz, Yahaya Maikori, who spoke on ‘Repositioning the Gaming Industry for Better Performance and Revenue Enhancement for Stakeholders in the 21st Century, said the industry was full of high turnover but low margin rate due to too many leakages.

While calling for a harmonised framework to achieve a thriving industry, he said multiple taxes, licensing, and software certification were some of the challenges operators encounter.

To reposition the industry for better performance, he added that there was the need for indigenous software, responsible gambling as well as training and education on responsible gambling and money laundering.

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Director-General, NLRC, Lanre Gbajabiamila, expressed optimism that the National Gaming Bill 2021 would be passed into law before year-end.

In line with the global vision and the vision to promote the principle of ‘for Nigeria, by Nigeria’ and to improve good causes fund for national development, he added that the commission has commenced plans to launch the ‘Nigeria National Game’ before year-end to reduce preference for foreign lotteries.

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