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NLTF Calls for Tax Framework for Betting Companies as Nigerians Spend $15 daily on Online Betting

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CEM REPORT, FINANCE | The federal government has been advised to create a framework that can encourage the betting industry to contribute taxes in the country.

The advice by the executive secretary of the National Lottery Trust Fund (NLTF), Bello Maigari, noted that the regulatory framework would ensure that the country benefits from the presence of foreign gaming companies operating in the country whilst safeguarding citizens.

Speaking at the 2nd edition of the biennial national gaming conference held on Tuesday in Lagos, Maigari stressed the importance of taxing the gaming and betting industry as a means to create a level field for local and international operators.

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“Moreover, leveraging the gaming and betting industry as a tax contributor can help create a level playing field for both local and international operators,” he said.

“By establishing clear and equitable tax regulations, we can encourage foreign players to operate within our regulatory framework, ensuring that we benefit from their presence whilst safeguarding our citizens.

“The importance for taxation of this sector cannot be over-emphasized,” Maigari stressed as reported by TheCable.

He continued that the online better industry in Nigeria is experiencing exponential growth as millions of citizens engage in various forms of online gaming and betting.

“Currently, there are over 65 million Nigerians actively engaging in this activity, spending 15 USD on average every day. It is on record, that each day, 14 million bets are taken and payments are made online in our country.

“With a population of over 200 million people and the largest betting market in Africa, our country is making giant strides in the world of online sports betting.”

Maigari stated that revenue from the online betting sector is projected to reach over $256 million this year, noting that the sector is further expected to experience an annual growth rate of nearly 10 per cent to reach more than $366 million by 2027.

Recall a CEM report where the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) in a notice stated that it has commenced the deduction of taxes at transaction points from Online Gaming companies using the Sentinal National Payment Gateway and Electronic Solution.

The agency’s Chairman, Muhammad Nami, directed all operators offering online gaming services in Nigeria to connect to the Sentinal National Payment Gateway, deduct tax from online gaming transactions, and remit the same directly to the relevant government’s treasury adding that all such connections must be concluded before the end of December, last year.

[READ ALSO] Tax Reforms: The 20 Recommendations by Presidential Tax Committee

With the economy biting hard on the average Nigerian, they are obviously in search of several means to make extra income separate from their regular jobs. This can be attributed to the increase in online betting amongst Nigerians.

Unlike before where gaming and online betting were relegated to the younger generation or jobless ones, the digitalization of the industry has opened it up to all and sundry especially those who do not want to be publicly associated with the industry.

Nigerians see online betting as a quick means to raise emergency funds to resolve pressing needs and as a means out of poverty as the government has failed to do so. While many lose their bet many a time, they remain resilient and hopeful for a big win in coming bets, hence the industry continues to thrive.

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