Nigerian authorites team up to fight gambling corruption
The Nigerian National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC) and the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) have struck a new partnership fight “unscrupulous companies” in the country's gambling industry.
Both organisations have agreed to work closely to vet licence applications from potential lottery operators as well as “plug leakages” in the system.
“This collaboration has been long overdue […],” Lanre Gbajabiamila, Director General of the NLRC, said. Our mandate is to regulate lottery, sports betting and gaming activities in Nigeria. Our Commission can only do so much on its own because of the way the industry has grown and continues to grow.
Abubakar Garba, registrar general and chief executive of the CAC, said the commission had experienced problems in the past regarding registration of lottery operators and hoped that the collaboration would prevent these issues in the future. In January, the NLRC prohibited the operation, promotion and sale of tickets of all unapproved foreign lottery games after multiple instances of operators failing to pay players' winnings.
“We have had issues in the past with the registration of lottery companies,” Garba said. “This made us revisit the earlier requirement that approval in principle must be obtained from the NLRC before such registration.
“But we have been mindful of the need to properly regulate these companies. Generally, as an agency, we have dispensed mostly with the approval in principle because of delay in the process,” he explained. “Instead of asking for approval in principle, we will create database for the NLRC so that from the comfort of your office, you would be able to verify whether a company is registered with us as a lottery company.”
Gbajabiamila said that the two organisations already worked together to scrutinise potential lottery operators, but will step up these efforts.
“Since I assumed office two years ago, we have, together with the CAC, been tackling frivolous business names to confirm whether they are registered with the CAC or not,” Gbajabiamila said.
“The NLRC took it upon itself to first of all vet applications through [the CAC, which] in turn, sent them back to us for confirmation. I believe that is the spirit of working together as Federal agencies to ensure the mandate and preaching of Mr. President [Muhammadu Buhari] on anti-corruption and leakages are taken care of.”