Nigeria remains the envy and target of all operators

4/9/2021 6:21:19 AM

    Youssef Kaadou is the CEO of Lottomania Nigeria Limited, a company that operates lottery tickets in Nigeria. Youssef has worked for 20 years with different lottery companies in Nigeria, Ghana and Lebanon and has an enviable record and knowledge of the lottery business in Africa

    In this interview with founder John Bamidele, he reveals why Nigeria remains a target for foreign investors when they consider investing abroad.

    Earlier this year, the National Lottery Regulatory Commission announced that state licence holders do not need to obtain any other licence to operate anywhere in Nigeria. What caused it? What was the result?

    The federal licence is issued by the Presidential Office and signed on behalf of the President of Nigeria. Harassment by state lotteries of various federal license operators in order to obtain a state license that allows them to work within the state. We usually register with them as lottery operators and pay a registration fee, but we don't apply for a licence. Our offices in many states have been closed and discontinued, as have our terminals. Some people choose to fight them in court, as was the case with the "compromise" in Oyo, which we did not do because it is not good to fight a single battle, and the operators will not come together to fight this situation, let alone some state lottery commissions to protect certain operators. We are still fighting with the state lottery commission to reach a separate agreement with them and make it a significant additional cost to the operators.

    As a follow-up to this issue, Nigeria's constitution does not specify who should issue licences. I think it's time for regulatory reform and to finalize it.

    How can the Governor/State Lottery Commission deny a license issued by the President and have the Secretary sign it on behalf of the President? The NLRC was set up to regulate the lottery industry. The presidential palace by the national parliament enacted a law (national lottery act (2005)). After the establishment of NLRC held many meetings with state lotteries, but as far as I know, it's already in sharing percentage and the question of how to share, NLRC didn't come to the conclusion that because they with LSLB court, and the state lost the lawsuit. Now that they're in court again, I think the state is going to win this case. And I agree that regulatory reform is orderly.

    As a carrier, which license is wise to obtain: a federal or a state license, and why?

    As a carrier, we want to operate nationally because it doesn't make sense to be in one state. We want to expand our business, especially as a young operator, we need to open up new markets that other operators have not yet entered or have not fully mastered.

    During one of our discussions, you complained bitterly about Nigeria's tax system. Would you like me to say a little more?

    The Tax Game Law stipulates the tax that is paid into the government Treasury. In the Constitution, the following taxes are paid to the federal Treasury:

    I.24-1. A licensee shall establish an operational fund, to be called and applied as a "prize fund ", in which a minimum return of 50% of the proceeds of the National Lottery shall be paid.

    II.24-3. A licensee shall, within a period of not more than 90 days after the determination of the result of each lottery, pay to a trust fund established under section 35 of the Act an amount equal to 20% of the lottery proceeds for the first five years of the licence, 25% for the subsequent five years and 27.5 per cent thereafter.

    III.35-1. A fund named the "National Lottery Establishment Trust Fund "(referred to in this Act as the National Lottery" Trust Fund ") has been established and, in accordance with the provisions of Article 24 of this Act, a percentage of the National Lottery's net proceeds shall be credited to the Trust Fund.

    I think the numbers speak for themselves. In addition, carriers pay a 30% corporate tax.

    Of course, this does not bode well for foreign direct investment, but according to a new report by IGB African iGaming called "The rise of iGaming", Nigeria's online sector remains very attractive.

    IGaming is on the rise in parts of Africa. Sports betting is growing faster across Africa, but big companies still face obstacles to operating in more than one region. Physical stores are still the source of revenue for sports betting companies, not online platforms.

    On the issue of regulatory reform, one operator is now a member of the national parliament. Should we expect reforms soon?

    Nigerian law does not allow this. Let me quote the relevant part of the Nigerian Constitution that prohibits it. Section 22 of the Lottery Act does not permit this.

    According to the Federal Restrictions Constitution of the Republic of Nigeria, persons who hold political or public office in certain federations are not allowed to have any financial interest in the holder or licence of the National Lottery.

    Existing laws, especially at the state level, are designed to protect existing operators.

    Western Lotto claims it has the sole rights to Ghanaian games in Nigeria. We know how profitable Ghanaian games are in the country. The Bundesrat, which is the lower house of the National Assembly, intervened in the matter, and we heard nothing more about it.

    By law, Nigeria does not allow foreign lotteries. That's according to the NLRC's press release, "Foreign Lottery Games Ban." He claims to have a direct agreement with the NLA, and his account changes every week (excerpts from newspaper articles are attached). I cannot speak for the House of Commons. Nor can I predict the outcome of court cases.

    Ghanaian games are the most popular games in Nigeria, why don't we have popular national games?

    Because there are no national game products. There is still a private operator's own 5/90 parlor game, which is similar to the Ghanaian game, but under a different brand. Most operators offer more options to attract lottery buyers. Premier parlour games generate more revenue than their Ghanaian counterparts because lottery buyers trust them and the relationship has been built over many years.

    We used to have a national lottery, but it doesn't exist anymore. In some jurisdictions where gaming is legal, the national lottery coexists with other private lotteries. What are the reasons for this, and what else can be done?

    The experience of the Nigerian National Lottery was a failure because of choosing the wrong game and choosing to work with a service provider who did not understand the position and needs of West Africa.

    In addition to Nigeria, I hope you can assess the lottery business in West Africa. What are the similarities and differences?

    No country is like another because the laws and restrictions are different, especially when it comes to foreign investors.

    Which jurisdiction is the most profitable in West Africa, and why?

    If done well, all businesses are profitable. Nigeria remains the envy of all operators.

    Tell us more about Lottomania, what area you operate in and what kind of products you offer.

    Lottery-1Lottomania Nigeria Limited was established in 2013 to develop the business of lotteries and related games with the aim of building the largest Lottery company in Nigeria. The team of Lottomania's founders has over 30 years of extensive operating experience in Nigeria, specializing in lotteries, mobile marketing and regulation in Nigeria. We are a private company holding a licence to conduct national lotteries and value-added services (content services using short code numbers) in Nigeria. The company's game launched in the first quarter of 2018. We plan to cover the entire Nigerian market. We only offer fixed odds for games.

    A. 5/90 has additional options for stackers to use. Players can bet up to five numbers, arranged in combinations. The first five of the 90 balls are called the original numbers, and the last five are called the machine numbers. You match the number you play with the original number or machine number to get full compensation; If they match this set of numbers, they will receive half of the payment.

    B. 6/12/80. Players can bet on combinations of up to 6 numbers, 12 numbers will be drawn and you can match your number with 12 numbers.

    C. You can play through the website, SMS service and the new USSD(MTN) terminal. A mobile app is coming soon.

    What's the idea behind your products?

    A. You need to have A fixed odds game

    B. The game should be playable on all platforms (SMS, USSD, mobile apps, web and terminals).

    C. By choosing 5/90, we offer Stackers additional options that enable us to enter the market (Attachment 1).

    D. We offer a 680 game with better odds for the stacker.

    1. You can win 5 million naira for a fixed price of 100,000.

    2. Two tickets that match 6 numbers each win 5 million yuan, and the prize money is not shared.

    3. Easy to deliver on mobile phone (SMS and USSD).

    4. Our goal is to have at least one grand prize winner per week. If we have enough, we can have one winner every day.

    Finally, what impact has COVID-19 had on your company and what new innovations do you have?

    COVID-19 affects us just like any other business. We have had to cut back on market expansion and are maintaining what we have. Our technology has been designed to allow people to work remotely, not much of that. We have had to adjust our weekly and monthly meetings with our regional offices and now only hold online meetings.