Nigeria Data Protection Bureau (NDPB) has said that about 60 million Nigerians are reported to be involved in one gaming activity or the other, bringing the much-expected expansion in the gaming industry.

National Commissioner, Nigeria Data Protection Bureau (NDPB), Dr. Vincent Olatunji, disclosed this to journalists in Lagos on Thursday while featuring as a guest speaker at the Maiden National Gaming Symposium organized by Velex Advisory Limited, in conjunction with National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC) and Nigeria Data Protection Bureau.

According to Olatunji, “The gaming sector is a huge one that the country cannot downplay, especially as it involves the citizens’ data. The gaming industry now relies on data, hence the crucial need for the protection and privacy of data.

“In Nigeria today, we have about 60 million people who are engaged in one game or the other.”

He said that “In February 2022, the Federal Government created the Nigeria Data Protection Bureau (NDPB) with a mandate to oversee the implementation of NDPR.

“The regulation applies to the processing of personal data. As part of Anti-Money Laundering/Combating Financial terrorism, gaming operators are expected to conduct Know Your Customer (KYC) by requesting for personal details of each customer.”

Also at the event, Director General, National Lottery Regulatory Commission, Lanre Gbajabiamila, said the gaming market in Nigeria is experiencing progressive evolution, even as punters can conveniently place their bets on different platforms using various media access available.

He said that Nigerian punters can access a variety of regulated digital games like sports betting, lotteries, slots, table games like poker and blackjack through both domestic and international commercial gaming operators.

Gbajabiamila said that large data collected by gaming companies make them targets for cyber crimes as their popularity grows, as the online nature of gaming transactions means that punters register and play games from remote locations, which makes it difficult to identify and verify the actual identity of punters or the validity of the documents they provide

He confirmed that regulators and gaming service providers are adjusting their operations, processes, and procedures to protect punters and the security of the platforms, adding that the “NLRC is not left out in developing and implementing robust mechanisms for compliance by gaming operators to secure the confidentiality, integrity, availability and resilience of the information they collect, store and process.”

While commending the gaming industry for its contribution to the nation’s GDP, Olatunji said that operators pay taxes to the government’s coffers from different parts of the country, adding that proceeds are lodged in the banks and within the financial system of the country.

“One way or the other, the gaming operators pay taxes and a number of people are employed. So if a sector contributes about $1.7 billion dollars, within a particular period, which is fixed value; about 60 million people are involved in that sector within a given period, that is fixed value. In so many ways, in terms of employment, taxation, revenue generation, individuals and organizations contribute to the government’s purse; the gaming industry is contributing to the nation’s GDP.

“It is a major sector that is contributing to the global economy – nationally and the African continent,” he said, adding that “Digital technology has contributed to this as people from the comfort of their homes have access to technologies that enable them to play and win, and spend the money as they want. Access to technology and access to the internet is one major thing that is spreading too.”

On measures put in place to curb some excesses in the sector, Olatunji said everything happening in the gaming sector is being digitized and people in the sector have identities, including their names, phone numbers, among others.

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