Regulatory bodies are important when it comes to the licensing framework for certain specialized industries in an economy. In the lottery sector in Nigeria, the giant bodies are the Nigerian Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC) and the Lagos State Lottery Board (LSLB). Players in this sector have been caught in the middle of a rift as to the appropriate entity from which to obtain a license to legally operate their activities. The battle of the Regulators for a slice of the Pie.
Before commencing a lottery business in Nigeria, it is important to be aware of all the major regulators a business must be registered with and also obtain the relevant permits to operate;
- CORPORATE AFFAIRS COMMISSION (CAC):
The corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) is the first agency all businesses interface with in Nigeria. Irrespective of the state the lottery business intends to operate from, it is required to be registered with the CAC.
The CAC is established by the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) to manage and regulate the formation and management of all types of companies in Nigeria. This includes lottery companies. The functions of the CAC includes the following:
- To administer the Act, including the regulation and supervision of the formation, incorporation, management and winding up of companies;
- To establish and maintain companies registry and offices in all the states of the Federation suitably and adequately equipped to discharge its functions under the Act or any law in respect of which it is charged with responsibility;
- Arrange and conduct an investigation into the affairs of any company where the interests of the shareholders and the public so demand; and
- To register Business Names, and Incorporated Trustees as well as provide a wide range of ancillary services.
- FEDERAL INLAND REVENUE SERVICE (FIRS):
All companies and individuals are regulated by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS). This body is the in charge of obtaining taxes from companies; which includes lottery companies operating in Nigeria.
The FIRS was established to guide the effective administration of taxation in Nigeria. By virtue of its mandate, the FIRS is charged with the primary responsibility of assessing, collecting and accounting to the Government for various Federal taxes.
- NIGERIA LOTTERY REGULATORY COMMISSION (NLRC):
The National Lottery Regulatory Commission was established through the National Lottery Act, 2005. The Commission was primarily born out of the need to regulate the operations of lottery business in Nigeria, promote transparency and accountability in lottery industry while protecting the interests of players, stakeholders and the general public. Its functions include:
- To regulate the operation and business of the national lottery in Nigeria;
- To set standards, guidelines and rules for the operation of national lottery in Nigeria;
- To promote transparency, propriety and integrity in the operation of national lottery in Nigeria;
- To ensure the protection of the interests of players, stakeholders and the public in the national lottery; and
- To carry out a periodic assessment of the operation of national lottery in Nigeria and submit a report to the President and the National Assembly.
- STATE REGULATORY BODIES:
State regulatory lottery bodies also regulate lottery business in Nigeria. The most prominent and active state regulatory board in Nigeria is the Lagos State Lottery Board.
THE LAGOS STATE LOTTERIES BOARD (LSLB)
LSLB is the pioneer gaming regulatory body in the Country. LSLB was established by the Lagos State Lotteries Laws Cap L89 2004 Laws of Lagos State (Now Lagos State Lotteries (Amendment) Law 2008). It is responsible for regulating lotteries, sports betting, scratch card & interactive games, casino, gaming machines operations, pools betting, promotional competitions and other gaming activities within Lagos State.
CROWNED REGULATORY: NLRC or LSLB
The Lottery industry in Nigeria is highly regulated and monitored by the Law. The Nigerian Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC) is the apex body that regulates lottery businesses in the country on a federal level. There are, however, state laws set up by various states in the country to regulate the business on the state level. For instance, the Lagos State Lotteries (Amendment) Law 2008 which created the Lagos State Lottery Board (LSLB) regulates lottery businesses in Lagos State.
OBTAINING A LICENSE, NIGERIA LOTTERY REGULATORY COMMISSION (NLRC) VS LAGOS STATE LOTTERY BOARD
The tussle between the Nigeria Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC) and the Lagos State Lottery Board (LSLB) is an ongoing battle. Lagos state is the economic capital of the country and most lottery license operators carry on business in the state. The Lagos State Lottery Board (LSLB) believes that the regulation of businesses operating in its state sh0uld be regulated by the state and hence they have the authority to issue lottery licenses to businesses. The LSLB’s position is based on its derivative powers conferred on it by the Constitution and the Taxes and Levies (Approved List for Collection) Act which empowers the State Government to collect tax in lotteries, pool, gaming and other related matters.
The Nigeria Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC) on the other hand, relies on the powers given to it by the National Lottery Act, 2005 in asserting that lottery services goes beyond the state level and should be regulated on a federal level.
There is no conclusive answer to this question but one thing is certain, we have therefore advised clients who would like to operate on a national level to obtain licenses from both authorities to avoid being the grass caught between a fight between two elephants until appropriate decision is handed down by a court of competent authority. Licensees can then recover funds from the authority that had inappropriately issued a license.
COST OF OBTAINING A LOTTERY LICENSE IN NIGERIA
There is no standard cost of obtaining a Lottery License in Nigeria. The cost depends on whether it is a federal or state license and the specific type of lottery license being applied for. A Lottery License from the LSLB first requires the payment of a non-refundable application fee of
N500,000 (Five Hundred Thousand Naira only) and subsequently, a license fee. For example, the License Fees for online sports betting lottery is N50,000,000 (Fifty Million Naira only) for the first year and subsequently, N10,000,000 (Ten Million Naira only) annual renewal fee. Other types of lotteries attract different License Fees.
The NLRC on the other hand, requires the payment of a non-refundable application/processing fee of
N2,000,000 (Two Million Naira Only) while the License fees depend on the type of License the applicant is seeking for.
LIST OF REGISTERED LOTTERY COMPANIES IN NIGERIA
Some licensed lottery operators in Nigeria include Nairabet, Supabets, 1960bet, Winners Golden Bet, Merrybet, Surebet247, Sportybet, Premier bet, 1XBET, Betway, ACTIONBET, Lions bet, BetBonanza, Betking, Baba Ijebu, Winlot, Golden Chance Lotto, Green Lotto, Ultimate Loto, Gbam, e.t.c.