The House Of Representatives in Nigeria is pushing to have National Identity Number (NIN) as a requirement for bettors. The motion was brought by Isiaka Ibrahim (APC, Ogun.) If the motion passes, it will be the duty of the National Lottery Regulatory Commission to enforce the restriction.
In the future, online operators in Nigeria may be required to systematically collect the bettor’s NIN. The number will be required before any bets or money are accepted. According to Ibrahim, the idea is to age-verify otherwise anonymous online bettors.
Critical Age Verification
Ibrahim spoke at length on the matter. He first pointed out that the Nigerian betting market is growing dramatically. He mentioned that the market is currently over $400 million, and will likely hit $565 million by the end of 2022. He continued that as the market grows age verification must be a priority. At present online betting is largely anonymous, potentially allowing underage bettors to participate.
Ibrahim elaborated that land-based and online casinos are age-restricted. Land-based venues don’t allow children entrance, he explained, stressing that the same should be true online. He pointed at NIN verification as being the answer to the problem. He did clarify that digital data safety is important but emphasized that the NIN restriction is essential.
The Money Laundering Dilemma
It isn’t just age verification that is worrying. Online money laundering is also falling into the spotlight. Ibrahim spoke about how online gambling is being used for illegal money laundering. He again pointed to anonymous transactions as being the core issue. Ibrahim declared that large money transactions cannot be anonymous. He stressed that online casinos can potentially be a haven for criminals.
The NIN motion has not yet been adopted. It will first get referred to the House Committee on Governmental Affairs. Amongst the Committee members is Akin Alabi (APC, Oyo.) Controversially Alabi is also the founder of Nairabet.
It wasn’t long ago that Alabi took to Twitter to vent about a previous motion. The Federal Inland Revenue Service previously considered taxing bets. The idea resulted in Alabi posting angry tweets. He criticized the idea that bets would be taxed even if not winning.
The House Committee on Governmental Affairs will express their thoughts on the NIN motion soon. Some are already saying the motion will pass, but that remains to be seen.