Taking a closer look at the challenges facing sports betting operators in Nigeria gambling sector, Maha Otu, Director at Betwinner Nigeria speaks with Jeremiah Maangi, Managing Director Bizin Africa and iGaming Afrika Betting Double Taxation Nigeria
One of the most common problems faced by gaming operators in Nigeria is double taxation by the state and federal government. As a requirement for one to start up a gaming operation in the highly fertile gambling nation, one is required to either have a state or federal license depending with where the company wants to do business.
For operators targeting the entire nation, there will be a need for a federal license. This is mostly common for sportsbooks operating online. On the other hand, if a company is intending to operate only in one state, you would need a state license for the specific state that you would be launching your operations in. This is mostly common for operators that would need a physical presence in specific states.
State vs Federal Gambling Regulation
Gambling in Nigeria is regulated per state unlike in most African countries where regulation is done by one national body/authority. We asked Maha if she could prefer federal or state/divisional regulation for gambling across Africa with key emphasis on Nigeria.
Having federal vs state regulation is what leads to double taxation. As a company operating strictly online you would think that getting the federal license would allow me to operate freely anywhere in the country but that is not the case in Nigeria, we have to get licenses for each state we wish to carry out any activity, which can be draining. As a company that operates online strictly, I would prefer to have a federal license and a unified state regulatory body to report to.Maha stated.
Despite this, it is becoming a worrying trend for most operators who have either state or federal licenses as they are being taxed by both the state revenue authority and the federal tax authority.
Currently, we are still battling the issue of double taxation between the federal government and state regulators. There is no unified taxation structure, and this has been an issue operators have been crying for help for, but no concrete resolution to that yet and we hope we get a good resolution to that this year.said Maha Otu, Betwinner Nigeria Director
State & Federal Regulation Unity Necessary
Maha has studied the relationship between the federal and state gambling regulators and she has come to a conclusion that there is a need for the two bodies to have harmonized organizational structures. This came out clear when we asked her of the biggest challenge that she has encountered while doing business in Nigeria, “The lack of unity between the federal and state regulators, inflation, and foreign exchange,”she insisted.
A Cry from Industry Experts
While speaking in a Webinar hosted by iGaming Afrika, whereby the topic of discussion was basically comparing the taxation policies in Africa with those of European countries, Oyindamola Michaels, an iGaming Professional reiterated on the fact that double taxation is a major challenge in the Nigerian gambling sector.
The Nigerian gambling tax is not that big, the problem we have in Nigeria is just the double taxation if you have dual licenses or if you are trying to run retail shop.he said.
David Ukairo, Sales Manager at Mondo Gaming srl (Africa) who also was part of the conversation was of the idea that different gambling bodies across Africa need to work together in order to realize a properly governed and taxed gambling environment in Africa.
Collaborator effort helps identify the best practice and the successful model and the potential areas for improvement. By so doing, this will help us in Africa to grow and also help investors to come in.stated David
Africa still the Best Continent to Invest in
Maha Otu is however optimistic that Africa is the best continent for investors who are looking for lucrative gambling markets across the world that they can potentially invest in.
Africa is filled with so many untapped opportunities, and various opportunities keep getting unveiled as the continent grows in technology. The betting industry is still an attractive industry for investors as it is becoming more regulated, which gives investors a fair chance. My advice is for investors to make an investment now before it becomes too late.she further added. Betting Double Taxation Nigeria
The future of Nigeria’s Gambling Sector
For the Nigerian gambling market, she strongly believes that there is lots of opportunities for companies that are closely studying the West African market, “It’s a growing market with a lot of opportunities for gaming companies that can be strategic with technological innovations and marketing.”
Maha Otu is a Director for Betwinner, Nigeria. She started her career as a contact center agent with one of the big betting brands in Nigeria. Initially, she wished to work as an industrial chemist, which was her field of study, but as we all know, employment is a major issue for most Nigerian youths, so she had to make the most of every little work opportunity she got. Within the contact center, she worked on various resolution channels, and that exposed her to the various challenges punters encounter, which helped her in a role she held as a Team Lead when she joined Betwinner. Through diligence and honesty, she was appointed as the Director of Betwinner Nigeria Betting Double Taxation Nigeria
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