Despite a huge number of people engaged in betting, Nigerian government generated less than N1 billion from the gaming industry in 2019, Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, George Akume, has said.
Mr Akume spoke Wednesday at the maiden National Gaming Conference themed “Repositioning the Gaming Industry for Better Performance and Enhanced Revenue Generation for Stakeholders in the 21st century.”
“This is not only disappointing, it is unsustainable and unacceptable,” he said.
Mr Akume said the revenue generation begs the questions on why the gaming industry is not doing more, “why it has contributed less than N10 billion to the National Lottery Trust Fund in the last 10 years, and where the revenue generated from gaming transactions in Nigeria are.”
There are roughly 60 million Nigerians aged between 18 and 40 involved in active betting, according to research firm Research and Markets.
According to the data-curating site, Knoema, Nigeria raked in N50 billion in revenue from gaming in 2019.
Mr Akume said the Nigerian government has concluded plans to block revenue leakages in the gaming industry.
According to him, the federal government has considered acquiring a Central Monitoring System (CMS) for the gaming industry for maximum regulation and curbing of leakages.
Central Monitoring System
Mr Akume said the CMS is important to repositioning the gaming industry for better revenue generation and accountability.
“The Central Monitoring System is desperately desirable to enable the government to block leakages being experienced in the industry as well as eliminate discrepancies often observed from the books of some operators. It will undoubtedly entrench transparency and accountability in the industry, thus making things a lot easier for all stakeholders.
“The Federal Government has deliberately set out to disrupt old ways of thinking by identifying the problems and promptly implementing agreed solutions,” Mr Akume said.
The minister added that Nigeria needs significant funds to confront poverty and unemployment and the Nigerian gaming industry has a key role to play in poverty Alleva nation.
Also speaking at the conference, Lanre Gbajabiamila, the Director-General of the National Lottery Regulatory Commission, said the industry is of vital concern to the government, and key to it is revenue enhancement.
“The commission has consistently worked on the actualisation of a Central Monitoring System (CMS) platform to ensure real-time monitoring and promote accountable transparency in the gaming sector.”
Mr Gbajabiamila said all lottery and gaming operators in Nigeria have agreed to the use of CMS and operators that flaunt protocols will have their licenses withdrawn.
He added that the commission and operators will adopt a communique at the end of the summit with action plans clearly stated.
Giving the keynote address at the event, Yahaya Maikori, a legal practitioner and founder of Law Allianz, said it is important for the Nigerian gaming industry to invest in software as it is a major way resources are leaving the shores of the nation.
He said there is a need for compliance with responsible gambling and amendment of the Lottery Act to entrench accountability and responsiveness.
Mr Maikori said d there is a need for the proper regulation of the industry through a robust legal framework.
Nigerian National Game
Mr Gbajabiamila said the commission will launch the Nigerian National Game before the end of 2021.
With the national game, the commission hopes to promote indigenous games and reduce preference for foreign games among the Nigerian population.
“In line with global practice and the vision to promote the principle of ‘for Nigeria, and by Nigeria’ and improve good causes fund for national development, the commission has set in motion plans to launch the ‘Nigerian National Game’ before the end of 2021.
“The launch will further boost the faith of stakeholders and the public in the integrity, transparency and accountability of indigenous games and reduce preference for foreign games,” he said.
He added that the commission will conduct national game draws where the populace can participate in the games.
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: To advertise here . Call Willie +2347088095401...