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Nigerian House of Representatives Moves to Ban Sports Betting Nationwide

In a bid to address the escalating concerns surrounding sports betting, the House of Representatives has taken a decisive step towards its prohibition across Nigeria. Spearheaded by Rep. Kelechi Nwogu (PDP-Rivers), the resolution calls upon the National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC) to enforce the provisions outlined in the Lottery Regulatory Commission Act of 2005.

Nwogu highlighted the detrimental impact of lax regulations on sports betting, citing a surge in mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and addiction. Moreover, he underscored the strain on interpersonal relationships, financial instability, legal entanglements, and the alarming rise in criminal activities and suicides attributed to excessive gambling.

Recognizing the urgency to mitigate these adverse effects, the House endorsed comprehensive nationwide campaigns led by the Federal Ministry of Information and National Orientation. These initiatives aim to raise public awareness about the perils of youth involvement in sports betting and discourage underage participation.

Furthermore, the Committee on Inter-Governmental Affairs has been tasked with conducting a thorough public hearing to investigate the hazardous repercussions of sports betting in Nigeria. The committee is expected to furnish its findings within four weeks, paving the way for further legislative action.

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Data from the National Lottery Trust Fund (NLTF) paints a stark picture of the widespread engagement in sports betting, with over 65 million Nigerians actively participating and spending an average of $15 daily. Shockingly, online sports betting alone accounts for a staggering $975 million in daily expenditure, totaling approximately $356 billion annually.

Amidst economic hardships, sports betting has emerged as a coping mechanism for many young Nigerians, exacerbating the need for stringent regulatory measures. With an estimated 60 million individuals between the ages of 18 and 40 engrossed in this pastime, the imperative to curb its adverse effects has never been more pressing.

The NLTF lists 58 approved betting companies operating in Nigeria, highlighting the pervasive nature of the industry. As stakeholders grapple with the ramifications of unchecked gambling, the House of Representatives’ move signals a concerted effort to safeguard the well-being of Nigerian citizens and foster a more sustainable and responsible approach to leisure activities.

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