In a bold move, social media influencer Reno Omokri has called on President Bola Tinubu to enact a ban on sports betting apps in Nigeria, asserting that such a measure could contribute to the improvement of the country’s economic landscape.
The influencer, known for his outspoken views, took to his X profile on Wednesday to express his concerns and proposed solutions.
Citing information from the National Lottery Trust Fund, Omokri highlighted the staggering statistic that $1 billion is spent daily on gambling in Nigeria.
In a series of tweets, he argued that banning sports betting apps could be a key step in addressing this issue and potentially enhancing the value of the Naira.
Omokri went further to suggest a specific course of action, proposing that President Tinubu issue an Executive Order authorizing the Nigerian Communications Commission to ban sports betting apps from the App Store of GSM Internet Service Providers and revoke licenses of physical sports betting operators in the country.
He drew a comparison, stating that such a move would make more sense than the previously controversial #TwitterBan.
The influencer underscored the economic implications, claiming that despite the high levels of gambling activity, a significant portion of the funds is leaving Nigeria for foreign destinations.
He asserted that the average Nigerian spends $15 daily on sports betting and other forms of gambling, contributing to the outflow of funds from the economy.
Checks by Ogunwatch reveal the presence of numerous sports betting firms operating in Nigeria, including well-known names such as Bet9ja, Nairabet, Merry Bet, and SportyBet.
Omokri emphasized the urgency of addressing what he termed a “gambling epidemic” in Nigeria, asserting that it is negatively impacting the nation’s youth. He also condemned illegal means that some Nigerian youths resort to in order to fund their gambling habits.
In response to the broader issues within the gaming sector, Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, Zephaniah Jisalo, assured the public that the Federal Government is committed to finding a lasting solution to the challenges posed by revenue generation in the gaming industry. Jisalo expressed the government’s determination to ensure sustainable growth and development in the sector.
Meanwhile, Bello Maigari, the Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer of the National Lottery Trust Fund, reported that the Fund generated N2.5 billion in 2023. However, he noted that the entire sum had been expended on various projects across the country. This revenue was sourced from statutory remittances from licenses and permit holders.
The comprehensive report reflects the multifaceted nature of the issue, combining Omokri’s advocacy, the gaming industry’s dynamics, and the government’s response to the challenges posed by gambling-related activities in Nigeria.