Nigeria can earn N200bn from gaming industry

The director-general of the National Lottery Regulation Commission (NLRC), Adolphus Ekpe, has disclosed that the gaming industry has the potential of bringing about N200 billion to the federal government’s coffers annually if properly harmonised.

He noted that the ongoing rivalry between the two major stakeholders in the industry has seen it yield less than N7 billionnnnnnn as at 2016.

Ekpe called for collaboration between the state and federal governments for Nigeria to harness the full revenue potential of the gaming industry.

The director general stated this in Lagos over the weekend at a media chat organised by NaijaBillionaire Limited to flag off its unprecedented 1Billionaire jackpot.

According to the NLRC boss, the enforcement tussle between the two major tiers of government has led to multiple taxation and licensing of operators which also results in excessive operation cost for the operators.

Ekpe said the gaming industry has the potential of bringing about N300 billion to the federal government coffers annually, but the ongoing rivalry between the two major stakeholders in the industry has seen it yield less than N7 billion as of 2016.

He stated that the federal government can earn annual revenue up to N50 billion from Naijabillionaire Limited while projecting that states can also share about same. To this end, Ekpe disclosed that the commission is out to recalibrate the Nigerian gaming industry to equitable benefit of all stakeholders across the country, with a determination to end the era of conflicts and dispute on licensing and permits.

To achieve this, he said NLRC has set out to guarantee “smooth operation of federal licensees in every state of the federation to check multiple licensing and taxation. We are out to ensure all states benefit equitably from proceeds of national lottery operations by national licensees; to ensure that due process and rule of law is followed in conflict resolution; and create channels of communication and cooperation between state agencies and the federal government agency.”

On further steps being taken to harmonise both parties, Ekpe explained that “the NLRC is establishing an understanding with federal licensees to pay all local taxes or face federal sanctions. We are establishing an understanding with licensees to pay 5 percent withholding tax on every play to each state government based on activities in their states. We are also working on a National Lottery Operation Harmonisation Stakeholders Forum in partnership with the Nigerian Governors Forum to align all state interests.”

Chairman, NaijaBillionaire Limited, Adedotun Sulaiman said the company comes with a national colour and global standard, and is designed by Nigerians for Nigerians.

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