…As govt mulls virtual betting bill to consolidate existing laws
By Ebunoluwa Sessou
Operators of lottery, pools and betting in Lagos State will be required to possess a minimum share capital of N20 million before licensing certificate will be issued for operation if a proposed bill by the State Assembly on Laws on Betting is finally approved by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
According to the Bill, “Before a license is granted to an operator, the Authority shall be satisfied that the applicant is a registered company in Nigeria with have a minimum share capital of N20,000,000 (Twenty Million Naira) or as may be directed by the Authority.”
This was disclosed during a public hearing of the Bill, entitled; “Lagos State Lotteries and Gaming Authority Bill Arrangement Of Sections” at the State House of Assembly.
The bill also specified that the local content shareholder shall abide by the regulations, policies, terms and conditions issued by the Authority.
It was also revealed at the public hearing that the new bill, when it becomes law, will consolidate all the laws in the sector and repeal existing laws such as the Lagos State Lotteries (Amendment) Law 2008, the Lagos State Lotteries Law (2004), and the Casino and Gaming Regulatory Authority Law (2007).
Others are Casino and Gaming Regulations (2007), Pools Betting Control Law (2003) and Pools Betting Tax Law (2003).
The Speaker of the House, Mr Mudashiru Obasa, who was represented by the Deputy Speaker, Mr Wasiu Sanni-Eshinlokun, stressed that the legislative functions and the legislature is the bedrock of democracy.
Obasa stated that a sound legislature must be the aggregate of the common interest of the majority and that it must perceive the interest of the people and aggregate it.
“For us to achieve the essence of democracy, the legislature must be in tune with the people.
“This underscores the essence of public hearing. The worldwide gaming is worth $200 billion. Several Nigerians are involved in games and sports bettings.
“Its addictive nature calls for caution, and it is our view that the 2008 lottery law needs an amendment as the bulk of the game are done on mobile gadgets,” he said.
The Majority Leader of the House, Mr Sanai Agunbiade, who did an overview of the Bill, emphasised that the Bill, which has 109 Sections with three regulations, is meant to establish Lagos State Lottery and Gaming Authority and regulate all gaming activities and other connected purposes.
The state’s Commissioner for Finance, Dr Rabiu Olowo, said in his comments that a lot has changed in the Nigerian gaming sector in the last 10 years and that most of the people involved are youths.
“The future of gaming in Nigeria is bright. The regulations are very robust. The Bill addresses cybersecurity and addresses the concerns of many people. I want to urge all stakeholders to take it seriously,” he said.
The Chairman of the House Committee on Finance, Mr Rotimi Olowo, said in an interview that he was moved by the response of the stakeholders and the operators that attended the event.
Olowo, representing Shomolu Constituency 1, added that the bill was meant to consolidate, gaming and virtual lottery in the state.
“We have different licenses for individual products in the sector. The people have ventilated their opinions and we will work on them.
“The law is not meant for the operators alone, it is also meant for the regulators, we will look into all the areas.
“They are talking about the service charge of 3 per cent, and they say it is small, but the sector is huge. We are not talking about digging into their data, but they should give us correct data,” he said.