Lottery operators in Lagos are facing the prospect of a NGN200m licence fee as part of an executive bill currently being considered by the Lagos House of Assembly. As reported by Lagos’ Premium Times the fee is expected to cover a five-year period and is aimed at stopping fraudsters from entering the lottery business.

House Committee Chairman Rotimi Olowo told the journal that the bill has passed a second reading and is now being deliberated by a committee, but is already attracting dissent from operators. 

He was quoted as saying: “They now complain that NGN200m for a five-year licence is rather on the high side. But they don’t know the other implications about that. Number one is that we don’t just want anybody to come in because it borders on even the integrity of the operators. So at the end of the day, the customers will not be swindled.

“Secondly, about the issue of the fees, some operators are currently paying that. Yes, we want competition but it must be healthy. It’s not a competition where every Tom, Dick and Harry will just come, there must be an entry point. And for those that paid for five years, that their payment is still running, what becomes their fate when we reduce that price?”

The Lagos State Lotteries Board is the agency responsible for regulating lotteries, sports betting, scratch card and interactive games, casino, gaming machines operations, pools betting, promotional competitions and other gaming activities within the Nigerian state.

According to Olowo, a new bill will consolidate all the existing gaming laws in the state, such as the Lagos State Lotteries (Amendment) Law 2008; Casino and Gaming Regulatory Authority Law (2007); Casino and Gaming Regulations (2007); Pools Betting Control Law (2003); and Pools Betting Tax Law (2003) among others.

He added that measures could be taken to mitigate the pressure on lottery operators. “After the initial N200 million for five years, subsequent years, we can give them some discount,” he said. “Maybe after the payment and expiration of that N200 million for the first five years, when they want to renew, they can say 80% of the initial payment is what they should renew with.”