HOW TO OBTAIN SPORTS BETTING LICENSE IN NIGERIA
There are various laws in Nigeria regulating gambling & gaming licensing at both federal and state levels of government. Some of the laws governing gaming in Nigeria include the National Lottery Act 2005; National Lottery Regulations 2007 (as amended); Lagos State Lottery Law 2004 and various laws of other states. A sports betting license in Nigeria can be obtained at either the national or state level, depending on the type of business operation an applicant wishes to undertake. An applicant who wishes to operate online throughout Nigeria must obtain a national sports betting license, and if the applicant intends to open betting shops across a certain state, Lagos State for example, apart from the national license is also expected to obtain a gaming license from the Lagos State.
REQUIREMENTS FOR SETTING UP GAMING COMPANY IN NIGERIA
Any company or entity wishing to do business in Nigeria must be incorporated first with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). The National Lottery (Amendment) Regulations 2007 stipulated conditions for the registration of a company wishing to undertake a sports betting business in Nigeria. These conditions include having a minimum of 30 Million authorized share capital and maintaining a minimum of two directors (at least one of them must be local).
Upon the registration of a betting company, the operational license to operate online throughout Nigeria must be obtained from the National Lottery Regulatory Commission. To operate in Lagos State only, the company must also obtain a license from the Lagos State Lottery Board. The same procedure must be followed by a company that intends to operate outlets in any other state in Nigeria. Most states in Nigeria have a Lottery Board that monitors or regulates betting activities in each state. The states that currently do not have lottery boards regulate gaming activities through their state boards of internal revenues.
By and large, the major laws applicable to gaming activities in Nigeria are as follows:
- National Lottery Act 2005
- National Lottery Regulations 2007(as amended)
- Lagos State Lotteries Law 2004 (applicable only in Lagos State) among various lotteries laws in other states.
GOVERNMENT AGENCIES REGULATING GAMING IN NIGERIA
- National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC)
- Lagos State Lotteries Board (LSLB)
- Other State Lotteries Boards
PROCEDURE AND STEPS FOR THE ACQUISITION OF BETTING LICENSE IN NIGERIA
Pursuant to the NLRC Guidelines, the Applicant seeking to obtain a national betting license must submit a proposal to the National Lottery Regulatory Commission (‘The Commission”) with the following information/ documents:
- Completed National Lottery Regulatory Commission application form
- An application letter stating the intention of the applicant
- Non-refundable Application and Processing fee of N2,000,000 (Two Million Naira) payable to the Commission
- General Business Information to wit:
- Incorporation documents: Certificate, MEMART and Application Form 1.1 (or Form CAC2 and CAC7) or Form 1.1
- The applicant company must have a minimum share capital of N30,000,000.00 (Thirty Million Naira)
- Evidence of filing annual returns to date with Corporate Affairs Commission
- Profile of the Company and each of its Directors
- Address of administrative office and locations across Nigeria
- Evidence of Domain name registration with .(ng/.com)
- Proposed Brand: Evidence of registration with Ministry Of Trade and Investment, Trade name, logo and colours
- Evidence of registration with the Special Control Unit on Money Laundering.
- Name and profiles of all Directors and Key Personnel including Company Secretary, Compliance Officer, Accountant, ICT Manager, Operations Manager, Agency Manager(s) and Customer Care Manager
- Qualification and relevant gaming industry experience of Directors or Key Personnel
- Evidence of tax payment by Directors and Key Management Staff for the preceding year
- Copy of Organogram and Proposed Organizational Structure
- Operational Information
- Details of planned game events (live betting, sportsbook, virtual games and so on) and comprehensive modalities for each of the game events
- Proposed distribution channels: retail, web-based, SMS, Mobile app or other channels
- Operations, Marketing and Distribution Strategy showing expansion plans across Nigeria
- Betting modalities, Terms & Conditions of participation and game rules
- A Sports betting industry analysis including SWOT analysis and competitive advantage of the proposed sports betting scheme.
- Financial Information
- The proposed investment in the sports betting scheme
- Source of funding and financing plans: equity, foreign investment, loans and applicable terms of investment
- Evidence of financial capability to fund the operation of a sports betting scheme including Company’s Bank Statement of the last 2 (Two) years
- Five (5) Year financial projection for the betting scheme: profit and loss account showing investment, sales/income, winnings/ prize money, tax obligation, operating expenses, third party suppliers etc
- Details of payment solution provider and proposed integration plan with such providers.
- A service agreement with a provider (where applicable)
- Technical information
- Profile of technical service providers, partners, telecoms providers and suppliers:
- Details of Platform gaming application developer
- Details of Odds providers
- Details of Other integration services providers (if applicable)
- Details of Hosting provider (self-hosting or cloud hosting), database/backup service provider
- Details of contact persons for service providers
- Copies of executed SLA and partnership/ Joint Venture agreements with providers and suppliers, where applicable. (All third party Agreements/Contracts will be subject to NLRC approval )
- Technology documentation detailing the software (Operating systems, Database management systems, core business logic applications), Hardware (servers, routers, switches, firewalls) and other technology implementations (securities, DR etc).
- Architectural illustration of technical operation flow for the proposed sports betting scheme
- Industry based Certification of the platform (from approved and recognized testing labs) and any other evidence of compliance with industry Standardizations.
At the end of the application process, the Applicant will be required to make a presentation to the Commission.
If the application is successful, Applicant shall proceed to make the payment of N100,000,000 (N100,000,000), which can be reduced to N50,000,000 (Fifty Million Naira) to the commission for the license fee. The applicant will also be required to provide a bank guarantee of not less than N25,000,000 (Twenty Five Million). The applicant will also be required to pay for due diligence and many other ancillary costs, which include but are not limited to trademarks among others. All these fees do not include professional fees an applicant may incur in the course of the application process. applicant must also maintain an office, which will be inspected before the issuance of the license. It is recommended for an applicant who wishes to only operate online and obtain a national license to simply have its office in Abuja, FCT.
The license will be issued if the applicant meets all requirements. When issued, the license lasts for five years. The permissible activities include opening betting shops within FCT and operating sports betting & casinos online throughout Nigeria. The applicant will also be entitled to set up payment gateways with either banks or payment solution service providers (PSSP) companies.
The applicable tax is 3% of gross monthly revenue payable to the Fund and commission, and 30% of annual company profits payable to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).
Any operator who desires to betting shops in any state must strive to obtain a betting license in such a state. Most states regulate betting activities just like the federal government does.
The application requirements at the state level are similar to the federal ones above except for the fees. There is no fixed fee applicable to all states, as each state sets its own licensing fee. The applicant or its representative must approach the relevant state government where the license is required to get the license fee.
In conclusion, it is worthy of note to state that the terms and conditions that underpin a game of skill and chance between the players and company are basically contractual, however, they have to conform to the regulations and laws of the country. For instance, a proposed betting or lottery company must obtain an appropriate license from NLRC before it can commence operation. The terms and conditions of any betting company are also subject to the approval of regulators. The NLRC, as well as LSLB, have a minimum age requirement for wagers or stakers. In all instances, the terms and conditions of all betting companies operating in Nigeria must include among other things, the minimum age of persons allowed to place battings. Where an operator wishes to simply operate online, only the national license from the NLRC will suffice.
By Corporate & Commercial Law Team at Resolution Law Firm