Nigeria introduces new permit for offshore-licensed operators
Businesses will be eligible for a remote operator permit if they already hold a licence in another jurisdiction and wish to offer their services to Nigerian players.
It will allow operators to offer casino games, bingo, slots, sports betting and poker.
The permit will be valid for five years. Operators will pay an initial $100,000 to receive the permit, followed by fees of $50,000 in each of the next four years.
The Nigerian National Lottery Regulatory Commission will issue terms and conditions which permit-holders must adhere to.
Holders of the new permit will be allowed to offer their services in Nigeria and to advertise within the country in print media or via affiliate programmes.
Key to the new regime will be an updated tax collection system, powered by UK-based fintech company E-Technologies Global Limited’s Sentinal product. This will allow payment providers to deduct taxes at the point of transaction and remit funds immediately to the Treasury.
Mohammad Nami, executive chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service of Nigeria, said the new system was an important way to boost tax revenues at a time when this was a major priority for governments everywhere.
“The world is entering a challenging time where there is a strong obligation on governments to increase tax revenue as a percentage of GDP so as to provide much needed funding for local infrastructure and public services.
“Nigeria needs to innovate and harness technology to ensure that online transactions are taxed and accounted for.
“We have been very impressed with the Sentinal system which allows us to not only collect tax revenues at source, but also provides us with tax reporting and monitoring tools in real-time. The system will integrate with our own TaxPro Max portal.”
Lanre Gbajabiamila, director general of the National Lottery Regulatory Commission of Nigeria, said that the country would welcome any offshore operators that pass its screening process.
“Online gaming continues to grow rapidly in Nigeria, particularly on mobile, and the adoption of E-Technologies’ Sentinal National Payment Gateway is a huge step to allow us to capture gaming duty at source,” he said.
“We are welcoming all responsible offshore gaming operators to apply for a remote operator permit as long as they pass all the relevant criteria including full AML screening and responsible gaming practices.
“We are proud to be the first country to adopt the Sentinal system and we believe it will bring a real national benefit to Nigeria.”
E-Technologies’ CEO, David Kicks, said the deal was a major step in the increased expansion of the regulated sector at the expense of grey markets.
“This landmark deal will herald a new era in rapidly opening new regulated markets for responsible gaming operators, as grey market operating becomes increasingly problematic,” he said.