Regulation

Nigeria’s NLRC partners NFIU for illegal operator crackdown

2 minutes read
The Nigerian Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC) is seeking to work with the country’s Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) to stop gamblers in the country playing via unregulated sites.

NLRC director general Lanre Gbajabiamila said “financial leakages” to the unlicensed sector was an ongoing issue that the regulator was looking to stamp out.

It has been in discussions over a number of potential collaborations to strengthen these efforts, Gbajabiamila explained, and believed the NFIU agreement was an “important milestone” in this ongoing enforcement.

“We know that working with partners helps bring together available resources for the purpose of achieving more impact, greater sustainability and increased value to all stakeholders,” he explained. “Today the National Lottery Regulatory Commission is proud to call NFIU our partner.

“Recently, we signed a Memorandum of Understanding with NFIU that aims to combat money laundering and terrorism financing in the Nigerian gaming sector,” Gbajabiamila continued.

“Our alliance and mutual cooperation are now more imperative, and as responsible agencies, it is our duty to keep pace with the dynamic and growing complexity of the modern lottery industry which features multi-channel availability, the electronic delivery of play, and complex financial transactions.”

Through the new agreement certain elements of the NLRC’s activities will be integrated into the NFIU’s processes, with a particular focus on issues such as capital flight, tax evasion, the non-disclosure of financial transactions and movements of illicit funds.

NFIU chief executive Modibbo Tukur has advised the gambling regulator to flag specific areas that need to be fully incorporated into the watchdog’s systems.

Earlier this year the NLRC also struck a deal to work with the country’s Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) to crack down on unscrupulous behaviour by gambling businesses.

However, the legal status of operators in Nigeria is far from clear, with some state regulators refusing to recognise the federal licences issued by the NLRC.

The Lagos State Lottery board, which is responsible for gambling in Nigeria’s largest urban population centre, in May blacklisted ten operators for conducting business in its jurisdiction without a local licence.

This prompted the NLRC to warn that federal licences issued to the ten gave them the right to operate in Lagos State, something that the local regulator disputes.

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