Nigeria’s House of Representatives Committee on Governmental Affairs has confirmed that international betting companies will have to start paying taxes to local government. 

The announcement was made in Abuja at a public hearing organized to discuss two new pieces of legislation. One is a bill to be passed for an Act to repeal the National Lottery Act No. 7 of 2005, and the Amended National Lottery Act No. 6 of 2017. The other is to bring into force an Act for the Establishment of the Service Compact Management Agency for the Effective Management, Execution and Enforcement of Service Compact with Citizens. 

Foreigners Winning all the Way

According to local lawmaker Akin Alabi the recent discussions in parliament focused on how foreign online operators were reaping all the benefits of the local market. However, without the responsibility of paying any “kobo” to Nigeria’s Federal Inland Revenue Service. Akin Alabi is also the owner of the online betting company Nairabet. This means he is well aware of local tax laws. 

As well as urging all stakeholders to make a new model of business work, Alabi said there should be no argument over whether the gaming industry should be controlled by the state or federal government. 

He said instead of fighting over who gets to have control of the industry, the conversation should be about how to co-exist. Everyone needs to work together for the greater good of the country’s economy and local industry. 

Alabi added that he himself had worked as an operator. As such, he knows the ins and outs and finer details of how the industry works. He said local states cannot operate without the federal government, and vice versa.  

New Law to Close Gaps

As far as the new National Gaming Bill goes, Alabi said the legislation focuses on bringing about renewal and an overhaul of the previous laws. The Act will furthermore seek to explore the gaming industry to its maximum potential, he added. 

Offering insight too had been the Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, who was represented at the meeting by Deputy Majority Leader Peter Akpatason. 

The latter referred to the fact that both bills are vital legislation to the functioning of the gaming industry. As such, they were fully deserving of debate and consideration by parliament. He said that ultimately, what matters most is the government acting in the best interests of the people of Nigeria. 

With an estimated 1.7 trillion US Dollars spent in illegal bets in Africa in 2021 alone, the time to act decisively has clearly come. 

According to a report mandated by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, nothing less than an international response will be good enough. Doing so would help stop fraud across the gaming sector globally. 

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