Nigeria’s government has said it will introduce a new excise duty on gambling and lotteries that includes online betting within the next few years, but remains vague on the details.
The statement was included by the Federal Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning in its 2024-2026 medium-term expenditure framework and fiscal strategy paper dated September 2023, but was only recently made available to the public.
The plan to introduce a new gambling excise duty lacks any details in the document.
It is one of a large host of planned changes in the document that will be “implemented to improve Customs revenue collections over the period 2024-2026, despite the fact that some of them have been recently suspended”.
In September 2023, the Nigerian government pledged to “tackle” a host of challenges facing the National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC), including introducing a long-awaited central monitoring system (CMS) “as soon as possible” and addressing the “loss of huge sums of money to illegal gaming operators in the country” and corruption.
Speaking recently at the International Association of Gaming Regulators (IAGR) conference in Botswana on October 17, NLRC director general Lanre Gbajabiamila called for the creation of an Africa Gaming Regulators Association (AGRA) and a West Africa Gaming Regulators Association (WAGRA).
“The African gaming industry’s rapid expansion is marred with challenges that need urgent attention. Although it has great potential and has emerged as a crucial driver of economic growth and government revenue,” Gbajabiamila said.
The head of the NLRC believes gambling has the ability “to generate employment opportunities, attract foreign investments, promote tourism, improve income, technological advancements, and an increasing interest in gaming activities”.
However, he also warned that “terrorists can exploit this industry to finance their operations covertly” and of other risks, such as money laundering.
Gbajabiamila wants more robust regulations, information sharing and regional cooperation to tackle these threats, as well as more regulatory standardisation, enhanced financial intelligence units and public awareness campaigns.
“The fight against money laundering, terrorism financing, and syndicate gaming in the African gaming industry requires close coordination among African nations, a strong legal framework, and robust enforcement mechanisms," he said.
"The establishment of AGRA and WAGRA is a significant step toward achieving these objectives.”