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The Nigerian Federal Government is proposing to introduce a sports betting industry tax scheme in the country.

The executive secretary of the National Lottery Trust Fund (NLTF), Bello Maigari, on Tuesday said Nigerians spend billions of dollars on betting each year despite the economic hardship in the country.

Maigari said this at the second edition of the ongoing biennial national gaming conference which was organised by the National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC) in Lagos.

The NLTF chief in his address at the conference further said that the online sports betting sector in Nigeria has so far witnessed exponential growth.

“It is not out of place to look at some statistics that underscore the significance of this industry and situate its centrality in promoting the renewed hope agenda of this Administration,” he said.

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“As of my last knowledge update in September 2021, the global online betting market was estimated to be worth over $50 billion, and it has continued to grow significantly since then.

“In Nigeria, the online betting sector has seen exponential growth, with millions of citizens engaging in various forms of online gaming and betting.

“With a population of over 200 million people and the largest betting market in Africa, our country is making giant strides in the world of online sports betting.

“Currently, there are over 65 million Nigerians actively engaging in this activity, spending 15 USD on average every day. It is on record, each day, 14 million bet takes and payments are made online in our country.”

Maigari disclosed that the revenue from the online betting sector alone in Nigeria is projected to reach over $256 million by the end of the year 2023.

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He stated that this is expected to experience an annual growth rate of nearly 10% to reach more than $366 million by the year 2027.

Maigari further called on the Federal Government should create a framework that can encourage the sports betting industry to start paying taxes in Nigeria.

“Moreover, leveraging the gaming and betting industry as a tax contributor can help create a level playing field for both local and international operators,” he said.

“By establishing clear and equitable tax regulations, we can encourage foreign players to operate within our regulatory framework, ensuring that we benefit from their presence whilst safeguarding our citizens.

“The importance for taxation of this sector cannot be over-emphasized.”

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