Reader Comments

So What Are You Going To Do?

by Dusty Pond (2021-10-24)

Are you offended and you feel the sports betting company has cheated or breached their own gaming contract? So what are you going to do?

You may not be a lawyer, pardon me, but you cannot be taken for a ride. O yeah, if you know your right no bookmaker, I mean no sports betting company can mess with you!

Okay, just cool down your temper and read carefully. The purpose of this article isn't to shut down businesses, but to promote mutual respect on implied contract and settlement. Indeed, you need to even understand when you can really sue a bookmaker or their agent...and for what reasons?

Since I am not a lawyer myself, by experience, I will be referencing and giving interpretation to the writings of Olisa Agbakoba, senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN) "Sports Betting and Consumer Protection in Nigeria."

First, you may want to know if Online Sports Betting is legal and how it is regulated in Nigeria. Second, does consumer protection Act in Nigeria cover possible incidents that may occur between bookmakers and bettors?

Sports Betting/ Gambling Regulations in Nigeria

Gambling in Nigeria is regulated by the National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC). The lottery was legalised by the National Lottery Act, 2005, and regulation of gambling and betting activities is provided for in Chapter 22 of the Criminal Code Act enacted in 1990.

The law splits the games into two categories: The legal and illegal games. The legal games are lottery, land-based casino, and sports betting.

Roulette, dice games, and non-skilled card games on the other hand are illegal and regarded as underground gambling♦♣♥♠

It should be noted that online sports betting games are permissible, however, according to section 2(b) the National Lottery Regulations, 2007, adverts must adhere strictly to government policies on social responsibility in designing, advertising, and marketing campaign as relates to an advertisement. It must also conform to the Nigerian Code of Advertising Practice made pursuant to the Advertising Practitioners (Registration etc) Act.

Most responsible betting site. Click here

How can you Seek Redress when you feel a Sports betting company has breached their own gaming contract. Three things you need to do:

1. Seek Protection from a Magistrate Court in Nigeria

2. Seek Protection from the Regulatory Bodies

3. Seek Protection from the Public

1. A bettor who feels his right has been infringed upon or feel deceived and cheated through largely exerggerated sale promotion or advertisement can sue for indemnity in a magistrate court here in Nigeria... Referencing to the consumer protection Act.

The Consumer Protection Council Act (1992 No. 66) Consumer Protection (Sales Promotion) Regulations 2005.

The laws and regulations governing gambling in Nigeria can be a little confusing because there is no cut and dried law or legislation that solely addresses gambling in Nigeria.

Instead, there are two Acts that make reference to gambling in terms of what is illegal or not allowed, and what is legal and allowed.

Apart from the Criminal Code Act, over the years, other laws have been passed to regulate sports betting in Nigeria, they include;

The Gaming Machines (Prohibition) Act of 1977 Criminal Act

National Lottery Act 2005

National Lottery Regulations 2007 (as amended)

Lagos State Lotteries Law 2004 (applicable only in Lagos State) among various lotteries laws in other states.

2. Apart for suing in a regular court, a bettor can file complaint to all or any of the government agencies regulating the gaming industry in Nigeria.

Government Agencies Regulating Gaming in Nigeria

National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC)

Lagos State Lotteries Board (LSLB)

Other State Lotteries Boards.

Consumer Protection in Sports Betting

Consumer protection is important and necessary for the growth of any industry. It assures the Consumers of any service or commodity, that their interests are safeguarded from unfair practices. The interests of the consumers within the sports betting industry are protected by the regulatory agencies as stated above.

Agencies who also have the mandate to protect the rights of consumers are the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) and the Competition and Consumer Protection Tribunal (CCPT)

The FCCPC and the CCPT are agencies of the Government under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment, whose powers are derived from the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act, 2018.

These two agencies are at present, the most powerful consumer redress and monitoring agency in Nigeria.

The FCCPC has wider investigative and enforcement powers whilst the CCPT on the other hand acts as a quasi-judicial body to which appeals from the decisions of the FCCPC and decisions of any sector specific regulatory authority in a regulated industry in respect of consumer protection matters will lie.

Furthermore, the Act stipulates a very steep penalty for contraventions. For instance, where there has been a contravention of any consumer rights, it stipulates a fine of 10% of the turnover of the business in the preceding business year.

Special Note: In Nigeria, the conditions under which bettors place bets leave them without the protection that is available to other consumers in other industries in the economy especially in situations when consumers win huge sums of money.

It is important to distinguish the two alternative and complementary legal routes to consumer protection. The first - the private - makes available a legal remedy to individual consumers who have experienced a breach of the terms of a contract (whether those terms have been imposed by statute or common law). By signing and agreeing to the terms of use of a betting company, a bettor automatically enters into a contract with a betting company.

The enforceability of contracts in Nigeria means that the courts and/or regulatory bodies will approve remedies to bettors who suffer loss in consequence of the conduct of the betting company.

Furthermore, regulatory bodies are given the power to exact, through the courts, financial remedies from bookmakers in favour of identifiable bettors in consequence of the former’s breach of specified standards.

3. Third route to consumer protection is the public. The public imposes on the supplier of a service certain duties with which he or she must comply with. A detected breach may lead to societal backlash and as a result, loss of revenue and patronage.

This approach typically involves leveraging public patronage and sympathy to protect consumers who have been treated unfairly by betting companies.

It is worthy of note to state that the terms and conditions that underpin a game of skill and chance between the players and company are basically contractual, however, they have to conform to regulations and laws of the country. For instance, a proposed betting or lottery company must obtain an appropriate license from NLRC before it can commence operation.

The financial requirements of obtaining a license include; registering a company with a minimum share capital of N30, 000, 000( Thirty Million Naira); An Application fee of N2, 000, 000 (Two Million naira), Permit Fee of N100, 000, 000(One Hundred Million Naira).

However where the company is a member of the Association of Nigerian Bookmakers, a 50% concession is granted; and finally, a Bank Guarantee of at least N25, 000, 000 (Twenty Five Million Naira) must be provided.

The Terms and Conditions of any betting company are also subject to the approval of regulators. The NLRC, as well as other State’ Lotteries Board and other regulatory bodies, have a huge role to play to protect consumers.

Terms & Conditions

One thing bettor should improve on is carefully reading and understanding the terms and conditions before registering and start playing on a particular sport betting platform. Most of this betting companies advertise exerggerated promo but go ahead to hide clauses inside the terms and conditions that exonerate them from any wrong doing. (Infringement).

In Conclusion

Evidently, the sports betting market, particularly, consumers need to be aware of their rights whenever they feel it is being infringed upon or they are being treated unfairly by Sports betting companies.

Many bettors have been treated unfairly and have buried these issues under the carpet. However, with more awareness, many bettors can seek redress and protect their interests through regulatory bodies and regulations targeted at protecting consumers.
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