Nigerian lawmakers want to collect NIN customers before betting

The House of Representatives has asked all gaming platforms in the country to commence the collection of National Identity Numbers (NIN) of customers.

The House urged the National Lottery Regulatory Commission to ensure that all gaming operators in Nigeria integrate NIN in their data collection. The resolution was a sequel to a motion moved by Isiaka Ibrahim (APC, Ogun) on Thursday during the plenary session.

Moving the motion, Mr Isiaka claimed that the gaming market is over $400 billion and that it is projected to be above $565 billion by the end of 2022. He argued that gaming has age restrictions, hence, NIN is critical in ensuring that those below the age limit are not allowed to participate.

“Mindful that with age-restricted businesses like casinos and online gaming platforms, the critical barrier to entry for customers is age and identity verification, therefore there is an increased need for such verifications in virtual situations to secure both the customers and the operators. Imperative for regulators to place a premium on data security of gamers and gaming operators and one readily available way to achieve this is to integrate the National identity Numbers (NIN) into the data collection of both new and existing customers,”

– the lawmaker said while presenting the motion.

Mr Isiaka further stated that anonymous transactions make it easy for money launderers to operate undetected.

“When such large amounts of money are exchanged and transacted quickly through relatively anonymous interactions, there is a significant risk that criminals will be tempted to use the situation for money laundering.”

Motion referred to committee

The motion was referred to the House Committee on Governmental Affairs. Interestingly, the Committee is chaired by Akin Alabi (APC, Oyo). Mr Alabi is the founder of Nairabet, a major online sports betting company in Nigeria. In 2020, when the Federal Island Revenue Service mulled VAT on punter won by games, Mr Alabi took to Twitter to slam the decision, noting that it belongs to the “bin”.

“Basically, FIRS wants to tax punters. Expectedly, no punter wants to be charged even when they are not sure they will win. This belongs to the bin,” – he had tweeted.

Despite Mr Alabi’s stake in the sector, his committee oversights the Nigeria Lottery Regulatory Commission, a body regulating the gaming sector.


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