I just won #6000 ($15.74) from a popular Nigerian online betting company exactly three days to 2021. I was given a free bonus of #2500 which I bet on a basketball game and voila! The win is crucially important because it comes after a series of losses throughout the year while playing recreationally. This particular betting company is among the six companies in Nigeria that got their feathers ruffled during 2020. Find out why.
The COVID19 lockdown was the beginning of hard knocks on major economic activities in the world and gambling businesses were not left out. During the peak of the lockdown, online betting had a dramatic surge on online gaming including virtual sports since worldwide sporting activities were under lockdown.
Currently, football leagues, such as the Premier league, have resumed. But some Nigerian gambling businesses are just not smiling.
Nigeria is currently facing the biggest dollar crunch in recent times. The value of naira once plummeted to N465 against the US dollar, forcing the government to x-ray some gambling houses. Investigators reveal that most of the money made from these gambling houses goes into illegal financial transactions. It was reported that gaming companies moved $420 million abroad under the excuse of purchasing software only for the cash to be traced to the foreign accounts of some of the directors of the gaming companies.
Through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the government ordered banks to freeze the accounts of 6 top gaming companies and 32 other companies for money laundering and illegal transfer of forex out of the country.
The gaming companies are:
1 Premier Lotto Limited (Baba Ijebu)
2 SV Gaming Limited (BetKing Nigeria)
3 R and S Lotto Limited
4 Over The Top Entertainment Limited (Nairabet)
5 BeaufortBet Nigeria Limited (Betabet)
6 TM Gaming Networks (Accessbet)
The CBN issued what is known as a ‘Post no debit’, which means that all debit transactions, including ATMs, cheques, on such accounts, have been blocked, but money can still be deposited into the accounts.
Part of the letter signed by the CBN governor stated,”You are to open a subsidiary account from where payment of winnings, salaries and other restricted operational expenses such as the purchase of diesel (other overhead expenses) will be passed into weekly. The debit on the subsidiary account will be vetted by the Central Bank of Nigeria and swept into the main account after approval from the CBN.”
Gambling is truly addictive and has made the gambling business a highly profitable one. With 60 million Nigerians between the ages of 18 and 40 spending as much as N2.8 billion daily on sport betting. Popular gambling businesses such as Bet9ja, BabaIjebu and Nairabet are cashing in with a monthly turnover of over $10million, making gambling the new oil!
In Nigeria, gambling and sports betting are generally recognized as Lottery and is regulated by the National Lottery Regulatory Commission. Lottery was legalized with the National Lottery Act, 2005 and gambling is defined by Chapter 22 of the Criminal Code Act enacted in 1990. But if you are below 18, gambling is not for you
Earlier on, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had detained one of Kessington Adebutu (Baba Ijebu)’s children and other management officials of Premier Lotto during an investigation into the activities of Adebutu for alleged tax fraud and economic sabotage.
The EFCC identified an amount of N5bn that was due to the Federal Government but was allegedly kept aside by the company. Further probe, according to the EFCC, might be expanded to other betting companies.