Nigeria To Evaluate Impact Of Sports Betting, Not Ban It

February 19, 2024
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Nigeria will assess the impact of sports betting after a motion was passed on Thursday calling on the federal gambling regulator to comply with existing regulations. 
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Nigeria will assess the impact of sports betting after a motion was passed on Thursday (February 15) calling on the federal gambling regulator to comply with existing regulations.

An assessment of sports betting will be undertaken by the Ministry of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, according to the motion put forward by National Assembly member Kelechi Nwogu.

Additionally, the motion requires the Federal Ministry of Information and National Orientation to conduct a nationwide campaign to raise public awareness about the negative impact of youth participation in sports betting.

A clear timeline for the next steps is not available at the time of writing. 

Local media quickly reported after the motion was passed that lawmakers wanted to ban sports betting; however, Nwogu took to social media to clarify the motion’s intention.

“Its purpose is to protect players' rights and ensure compliance with existing regulations. I am committed to fostering responsible gambling and creating a fair and transparent industry. Let's rely on accurate information and work together for the betterment of Nigeria. Regulate sports betting,” Kelechi said. 

The motion stated that there is a “need to curtail the dangerous effect of sports betting and direct the National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC) to comply with the Lottery Regulatory Committee Regulatory Establishment Act 2005 to protect the rights of citizens”.

The act provides for the establishment of the NLRC and the National Lottery Trust Fund to ensure the fair operation of business interests and the protection of players, stakeholders and the public.

However, Nwogu said in a speech in the House of Representatives on Thursday that sports betting has led to “depression, anxiety, broken relationships from lying or stealing money from friends and family, financial problems, legal issues, job loss, increased crime rates, and eventually leading to suicide”.

He also said there is a need to better prevent underage participation in sports betting and lottery games.

The NLRC has been invited to brief lawmakers on what action it is taking to protect the rights of sports bettors and comply with existing laws. 

News of the assessment of sports betting comes as Nigeria’s government is trying to resolve long ongoing issues in the gambling industry, including licensing and revenue disputes between the NLRC, the federal gambling regulator and state gambling regulators.

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