Lottery Commission beams searchlight on terrorism financiers in Nigeria’s $1bn-per-day bet industry



The National lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC) has said it is reviewing measures to ensure that Nigeria is not used as a conduit for international crimes, such as money laundering and terrorism financing.

The commission said it was aiming to prevent the risk of money laundering and terrorism financing which were threatening the economy and the country’s international standing.

Speaking on the sidelines of the International Gaming Conference in Lagos, recently, the Director-General of NLRC, Mr. Lanre Gbajabiamila, said the commission had introduced stringent measures to deter money laundering, financing of terrorism and other crimes in the lottery industry to serve Nigeria and the industry better.

He said the rise of betting platforms had made it more appealing for criminals to use micro transactions to launder money, adding that while online games had become a popular pastime for everyone, the evolution of the gaming industry, particularly its exposure to financial crimes, was rapidly increasing.

He said the anonymity of the system made it an attractive option for money launderers to transfer money with relative ease, adding that the commission was modernising the rules to make sure that all online and offline gambling were not used by people with illicit funds to push out money through the system.

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He said the commission was taking strong and decisive steps to increase public confidence in the lottery system by ensuring the reputation of operators and retailers through rules of conduct for inspectors who test the integrity of the system, maintaining that this was in addition to working with the industry to adjudicate complaints and order redress when things went wrong.

He explained that there was a process to deal with disputed consumer claims between individuals and operators, adding that the commission regulated lottery and adjudicate hearings on it.

Gbajabiamila said the gambling landscape had changed significantly with online gambling operators providing services which customers could engage with from almost anywhere and at any time.

“These technologies increase risks to players and facilitate innovative protections,” he said.

Principal Investigator, Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC-SEIGMA), Professor Rachel Volberg, while also speaking, urged the commission to work with the industry to make online gambling safer and remove the features known to exacerbate risks and put new obligations on operators to prevent unchecked and unaffordable spending.

She said there was a need to raise awareness of the risks of gambling harm, while helping to remove the fear of stigma that stopped people coming forward for help.

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