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Sports betting accounts for larger share of Nigeria’s N8trillion gaming industry – SBWA+

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SBWA+ 2019

 

  • SBWA+ 2019 kicks off with Nigeria Sports Betting Summit

The Nigeria Sports Betting Summit (NSBS) held on Tuesday. It was organised by the Association of Nigerian Bookmakers (ANB) as activities for day 1 of the three-day Sports Betting West Africa (SBWA+) summit.

This year’s summit was themed “Rethinking the Future of Sports Betting in Nigeria”, and it focused on issues and solutions.

Cross section of attendees

Keynotes

The Director-General (DG), National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC), Mr Lanre Gbajabiamila, delivered the keynote speech.

He began by revealing that sports betting is the fastest growing sector in the gaming industry and is a source of income for many households, having experienced swift growth in the last decade.

Mr. Lanre Gbajabiamila delivering the keynote

He continued, however, by reiterating before the regulators and operators that with great success comes with great responsibilities.

Listing global threats like underage gaming, addictive behaviours, and money laundering, associated with sports betting, he bemoaned that these harmful practices were slowly creeping into the Nigerian gaming industry, and called upon regulators and operators to deliberate on solutions to curb these abuses which, if left unchecked, would tarnish the already suspicious image of the industry.

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He also encouraged that the key players practice responsible codes of practices like good customer service, fairness and contribution to good causes which would deflect the negative perception of the industry.

Relating that more would be achieved as stakeholders work together, he advised that clear terms and conditions should be set and the Know Your Customer (KYC) policies should be followed with due diligence.

Ease of doing business

The first plenary session looked into the ease of doing the sports betting business in Nigeria and took a look at the barrier and the opportunities in the industry.

First Plenary Session: L-r: Seun Akinyemi, Albert Folorunsho, Foye Johnson, Femi Kukoyi and Ms. Olafadeke Ajeju

The panellists were Senior Partner, WYC Solicitors, Ms Olafadeke Akeju; Gaming Consultant, Mr Femi Kukoyi; Managing Consultant, Western Sports Bet Nigeria Limited, Mr Foye Johnson; Managing Consultant, Pedabo Professional Services, Mr Albert Folorunsho, and the Chief Finance Officer (CFO), SureBet 247, Mr Seun Akinyemi.

Networking session

It was a unanimous agreement, among the panellists, that the industry has great opportunities, considering that it has a target to generate about N8 trillion naira in revenue, but Ms Akeju relayed that while factors like the large population and the mobile phones make Nigeria a great market for any sports betting, gaming in Nigeria, as with any business, possess some necessities like setting up the business, covering the legal regulatory necessities and a good understanding of the business.

SBWA+ 2019 5

Special section

According to her, these points make it necessary for the would-be operator to take a good look and tread carefully in setting up and so he or she might not find the journey rosy.

Mr Johnson opined that the option lies in the hands of the customers when it came to setting up as a retail or online operator, as they usually have a preference.

However, he concluded that having a visible structure and address improves trust and credibility as it sends across a message of stability and long-term plans.

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Mr Akinyemi reiterated the need for legal regulation by operators from the onset of the business and argued that a good survey and knowledge determine the success of the business.

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Talking about the pop-up which shows when trying to register a gaming business online, the panel concluded that these checks help make sure that would-be operators did their set up correctly and standardly.

Responsible gaming and other regulations

The second plenary session had Mr Lanre Gbajabiamila and the CEO, Lagos State Lotteries Board (LSLB), Mr Seun Anibaba, and others as panellists.

On the issue of regulating the operators, Mr Anibaba related that communication is key.

He shared that there, occasionally, arises inevitable confusion, and the regulatory bodies educate the operators and let them know what it means and what it takes to stay within the law and promote right gaming.

Other panelists agreed that, with the rise in underage gaming, policies are needed to curb illegalities and there is a need for gatekeepers and levels of responsibility on the regulators who are to ensure that operators know what their responsibilities are, by asking them necessary, key questions and not focusing on just the financial gains in the business.

Second Plenary session

Mr Gbajabiamila shared his views on the responsibilities of both the regulators and operators and summed up his view on the session with a question to individual shareholders, “Responsible gaming is on the mind, but what are we doing about it?”

Taxations

This plenary session which saw a Tax Consultant, Mrs Gbemisola Oduwole, as one of the panellists, looked at the tax issues surrounding sports betting in Nigeria.

The operators complained of multiple taxations and multiple licensing and related their fears that the heavy taxation could kill the gaming industry which is relatively young in Nigeria.

Mrs Oduwole, however, shared that multiple taxations is not peculiar to the gaming industry, but affects most other industries, as some level of governments keeps discovering ways to demand taxes on ludicrous bases.

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Third Plenary Session

She also opined that considering the good amount of taxes paid by the operators, there should be evident contributions to good causes to help take off the stigmatization associated with the industry.

Another panellist argued that if the taxes paid by the industry are made public, the general public would come to appreciate the part of the industry in nation-building and look at it with a less judgmental glance.

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Nigeria Sports Betting Summit 2019 gave the operators and the regulators an opportunity to deliberate on the ways to move that sector of the Nigerian gaming industry forward and to inculcate global standardization so that the nation’s gaming industry would be at par with that of other advanced countries.

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*TechEconomy.ng is official media partners to SBWA+ 2019

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