Lottery, Pools, Betting Operators In Lagos Must Have ₦20 Million Share Capital
Operators of lottery, pools and betting in Lagos are to pay license fee of N20million when a bill being considered by the state House of Assembly becomes law.
The bill entitled; “Lagos State Lotteries and Gaming Authority Bill Arrangement of Sections” went through public hearing on Friday 14th August, 2020 at the state House of Assembly.
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 a minimum share capital of N20, 000,000 (Twenty Million Naira) or as may be directed by the Authority.”
It 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, Hon. Mudashiru Ajayi Obasa said “the world wide gaming is worth $200 Billion. Several Nigerians are involved in games and sports betting.
“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 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 cyber security and addresses the concerns of many people. I want to urge all stakeholders to take it serious,” he said.
The Chairman of the House Committee on Finance, Hon. Rotimi Olowo, said in an interview 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.”
The lawmaker said that the Bill would help the state to gather enough money that would be used in the health sector, environment and even sports sector.
Olowo stated further that the money is not coming into the consolidated fund of the state, and that it is meant to take care of the welfare of the citizenry.
He explained that the state wanted a law that would consolidate all the laws in the sector.
“The issue of N20 Million would be looked into by the regulators. We would look at the socioeconomic reality and allow sanity into that sector.
One of the stakeholders at the event, Mr. Adebagun Nojeem from Lagos Pool Promoters requested that the stakeholders in the gaming sector should be involved in the State Lottery Board and that the issue of N20 Million share capital should be looked into.
“The issue of N20 Million share capital should be looked into. It would have retroactive effect on the companies that have been registered. Pool is a game of the senior citizens. With the new capital base, we may go under.
“The 10% charges on sales should be reduced to about 2.5%. Penalty of N2.5 Million should be reduced to 1 Million or N500, 000 and the issue of imprisonment should be removed,” he said.
Also speaking, Mr. Tokunbo Akande from the Lagos Internal Revenue Service (LIRS) said that licensing fees or royalties should be used in the bill instead of taxes and that there should be rooms for dispute resolutions in the bill.
On his part, Mr. Niyi Adekunle from Grand Lotto said that the first license fee for lottery was issued in 2008 for N200 Million, which he said, was huge money.