At a recent public hearing in Abuja, head of the House of Representatives Committee on Governmental Affairs Akin Alabi made an announcement. He confirmed the Nigerian government’s decision to place taxes on all betting operations in the country. This very much includes offshore betting sites.
In his address, Alabi pointed out the vast amounts of profit that foreign operators generate in Nigeria. And that, without proper taxation, it will only steadily weaken and drain the economy. Another issue is the general extent of unauthorized, unregulated betting. Through the passing of two new bills, Alabi aims to establish proper regulation. Furthermore, he aims to better exploit the great financial benefits that sports betting in Nigeria provides.
A Hands-On Approach
Alabi has had a lot of experience in the betting industry in the past. Being the owner of Nairabet, and having worked as an operator for many years, he has a deep understanding of both business and legal issues in and around the sector. He is confident that, with the right regulation, and the cooperation of operators and stakeholders, a healthy, stable, and lucrative balance is possible.
Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, reaffirmed Alabi’s sentiments at the public hearing. He stated that the new bills are in the best interest of all Nigerians.
In a report released by the United Nations Office On Drugs and Crime, UNODC, the losses to illegal and offshore betting in Africa were estimated at $1.7 trillion over 2021. The UN body believes the figure will be even higher in 2022.
Calls have been made for immediate intervention to curb the huge economic loss. The most practical solution for Nigeria, and many other parts of the world, is one that suits all sides.
New Bills Lead the Way
Taxation, license fees, basic restrictions, and ongoing educational awareness by the government have proven to be an effective and sustainable way to regulate gambling internationally. So, it could also work for Nigeria. The new bills are a huge step towards making this possible. If Nigeria is successful, it will undoubtedly become a shining example for other countries across the continent.
A positive aspect of the UNODC report is that it highlights the great potential of well-regulated gambling. After all, $1.7 trillion could do a lot of good.