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Reps vote to compel Nairabet, Bet9ja, others to request NIN from customers

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Nairabet, Bet9ja and other sports gambling companies in Nigeria will soon start demanding for National Identity Number (NIN) from customers before allowing them stake a bet, according to a new motion moved in the House of Representatives.

The motion was raised by a lawmaker from Ogun State, Ibrahim Isiaka, on Thursday, during the plenary session, and was unanimously supported by his colleagues through voice vote when presented by the Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila.

Isiaka asked that the National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC) be mandated to include the NIN as part of the requirement to partake in gambling within the country.

He said the NIN would enable authorities identify gamblers and also protect the gaming operation from being used as a money laundering channel, as large amounts are transacted in the business.

Addressing his fellow lawmakers, Isiaka said, “The global gaming market is undoubtedly a huge one estimated to generate between $400 to $500 billion yearly and with the consistency of the current trends, by 2022, it is set to be worth around $565 billion with increasing amounts of revenues coming from online gaming in its many forms.

“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.

Read also: CBN orders banks to provide domiciliary account details of Baba Ijebu, Bet9ja owners, 9 others

“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 in order to secure both the customers and the operators.

“One of the basic purposes of the national identity Number is for identification, as it not only serves to identify the individual holder but also curbs duplication of identities.

“It is 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”, he told the house.

Meanwhile, the founder of Nairabet, Akin Alabi, a lawmaker in the lower chamber, is the chairman of the Committee on Governmental Affairs, which was mandated to ensure compliance with the lawmakers’ decision.

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