Nigerian State Clarifies Gambling Ban

October 25, 2022
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​​​​​​​Nigeria’s Anambra state government has been forced to clarify that a reported state-wide ban on gambling activities only pertains to casino games in hotels, restaurants and bars, after misleading local media reports.

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Nigeria’s Anambra state government has been forced to clarify that a reported state-wide ban on gambling activities only pertains to casino games in hotels, restaurants and bars, after misleading local media reports.

Clarification was provided by the Anambra Broadcasting Service (ABS), which is owned by the state government, after what it referred to as “misinterpretations” of its directive to hotels and restaurants earlier this month.

Anambra is one of Nigeria’s smallest, but most densely populated, states, home to an estimated 11.4m people.

In an update on October 23, ABS wrote that a directive issued last week ordered “all operators of casino games within hotels, restaurants and bars to suspend all operations with immediate effect pending the conclusion of investigations”.

However, the ABS claimed that “mischief makers added different lottery and betting activities and organisations to the ban”.

Suggestions that the state had banned all gambling activities, including online, have been circulating on various local and national media sites over the past few days, causing some confusion among gambling licensees.

A statement reportedly seen by ABS was signed by the state’s commissioner for culture and tourism, Don Onyenji, confirming the suspension excluded all betting centres outside the hospitality industry.

Onyenji said the government began conducting investigations into gambling machines in the hospitality industry after it received numerous complaints alerting it to suspected fraudulent practices and non-payment of gambling winnings to players.

Once the investigation into the gaming machines has concluded, gambling operations in the venues will be allowed to resume, according to the state broadcaster.

Part of the directive included an invitation for all hotel and bar owners in the state to discuss security and other service and policy issues, as well as address questions surrounding the suspension. The meeting was held on October 21 and video from the event is available online.

At the time of writing, the Anambra state government had not responded to a request for comment.

Additionally, there has been no official update on the Anambra State Ministry of Culture, Entertainment and Tourism’s social media pages.

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