Nigeria’s federal gambling regulator has sought to clarify the status of a number of operators it licenses, after a notice from a state regulator claiming they were “illegal and unlicensed” caused widespread confusion.
The National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC) put out a public notice on October 4, including a list of operators that have licences to operate in the country, after it was “inundated” with requests on the status of the operators listed in a bulletin from its regional rival, the Lagos State Lotteries and Gambling Authority (LSLGA).
The NLRC notice, written by its director general Lanre Gbajabiamila, said it “deeply regrets any misconceptions the unfortunate publication may have caused national gaming licensees operating within the ambit of the law in Nigeria”.
The LSGLA notice, published on October 3, lists 42 operators that the regulator advised the public “to desist and/or discontinue from staking/betting on the platforms” as they are “deemed illegal and unknown to LSLGA”.
The federal regulator meanwhile claims it licenses many of these operators and they are cleared to operate in Lagos and elsewhere in Nigeria.
The notices are the latest development in a long ongoing legal dispute between federal and state gambling regulators in recent years over who has the right to oversee gambling businesses in the country.
Olabimpe Akingba, the executive secretary of the Association of Nigerian Bookmakers said during a panel at SBC Summit Barcelona on September 21 that: “We are yet to get state governments to collaborate with the federal government. Currently, we have a power tussle between these two arms of government. Despite that challenge, Nigeria is still the country with the lowest entry barrier for operators.”
Nigeria’s government has recently pledged to “tackle” a host of challenges facing the federal gambling regulator, including introducing a long-awaited central monitoring system, cracking down on unlicensed gambling, and increasing tax revenue from the industry “as soon as possible”.