Having banned all foreign lotteries at the start of the year Nigeria has awarded two new online sports betting licences – part of a renewed push towards a fully regulated market.
The National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC) gave Betwinner and Bet24Hrs the two permits for online betting and gaming, while escalating efforts against unregulated sites, all designed to boost transparency in the industry.
Bet24Hrs’ managing director Roy Jianf praised the newly formalised application process, thanking the Commission for helping them assure approval, and pledging to support the growth of the regulated sector.
Betwinner managing director Olatunji Idowu made similar overtures to ensuring its credentials as a trusted operator and backed the Commission’s proposals to modernise the industry and ensure private firms do their bit to make the market sustainable.
The open policy comes a month after the regulator announced all foreign lotteries would be prohibited in Nigeria, unless they reapply under strict new criteria that prevents nefarious practices.
Following complaints that some firms had failed to pay out winnings to Nigerian players, the regulator has adopted six counts on which applicant will be denied, including those whose draws are conducted out of the country; whose schedules are varied, inconsistent, and non-transparent; and when they are unviewable by either players of the regulator.
“The fundamental criteria for the business of lottery are the transparency and credibility of the draw process,” the Commission said. “Where they are absent, the games are compromised and provide opportunities for fraud. This breach of trust is detrimental to the playing public and the reputation of the lottery business.”
In February the regulator’s director Lanre Gbajabiamila reminded that anyone taking wagers from Nigerian’s without securing a licence would face the “full wrath of the law.”
He also restated that the regulator would revoke the licences of firms who transgress any of the new rules: who fail to pay their taxes, winnings to players and social contributions .