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FG proposes tax scheme in gaming industry

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By Usman Oladimeji

Nigerians can reap huge benefits if fair tax policies are implemented.

According to Bello Maigari, executive secretary of the National Lottery Trust Fund (NLTF), despite the country’s economic downturn, Nigerians still spend billions of dollars annually on betting. This was mentioned by Maigari on Tuesday at the National Lottery Regulatory Commission’s (NLRC) yearly gaming conference in Lagos. Many Nigerians now look to gambling as a viable way to make a six-figure salary and make ends meet. Given the country’s populations penchant for sporting, the emergence of gaming has given Nigerians an opportunity to stake cash on and indulge in their passions.

During his remarks at the event, Maigari stated that the market for online betting has experienced explosive growth. He perceived that it is important to consider certain statistics that highlight the importance of this industry and its role in advancing the Administration’s agenda of Renewed Hope. According to him, as per the latest update in September 2021,the global online betting market was valued at over $50 billion and has continued to experience substantial expansion subsequently.

More than 65 million Nigerians partake in sports betting.

Millions of Nigerians now regularly participate in online gaming and betting, contributing to the industry’s meteoric rise. Our country is making great progress in the space of online sports betting owing to its massive population (over 200 million) and the fact that it is Africa’s largest betting market. More than 65 million Nigerians partake in this practice as now, with daily expenditures averaging $15 USD. Every single day, the country witnesses a staggering 14 million online bets and payments being made, as per record.

By 2027, the Online Sports Betting market is projected to reach a staggering 1.3 billion users. Maigari mentioned that the revenue from the online betting sector is expected to surpass $256 million in the current year. The industry, known for its rapid growth and fuelled by the passion for football, is projected to achieve an impressive annual growth rate of close to 10 percent, to reach over 366 million USD by the year 2027.

Increase internet penetration contribute to the industry growth.

Moreover, he proposed that the government establish regulations designed to increase tax revenue from the gambling sector. To him, exploiting the gaming and betting industry as a tax contributor may help create a fair and balanced environment for domestic and foreign operators. Nigerians can reap the benefits of international players while safeguarding our population if we implement transparent and fair tax policies that incentivize them to play within our framework. It’s impossible to overstate the significance of this industry when it comes to taxation.

Some of the areas where National Lottery Trust Fund profits have been put to good use, as stated by Maigari, includes health, education, water and sanitation, humanitarian aid, and natural disaster mitigation and management. The growth of the gaming industry can be attributed to several factors, including a large young population, increasing rates of internet penetration, and more readily available internet-enabled devices. Taking advantage of Nigerians intense football culture, sports betting has gradually evolved as a lucrative market.

Customer base expansion now includes young middle-class Nigerians

The current economic slump, which has left many young people unemployed and the need to earn extra money has contributed to a rise in the number of people who are involved in gaming, especially sports betting and lottery games. Partly, the expansion of its customer base now includes the young middle-class Nigerians which also gives a significant rise to the growth of the gaming industry. This shift also overrules the perception that gaming is only popular and prevalent among lower-income earners.

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