The Director General of the National Lottery Regulatory Commission, Lanre Gbajabiamila, has called for the formation of continental and regional associations to combat incidences of money laundering, terrorism funding and similar concerns in the African gaming industry.
Gbajabiamila said this during his paper presentation at the 2023 International Gaming Regulators Association Conference in Botswana.
In his presentation, Gbajabiamila emphasised the urgency of addressing the issues of money laundering, terrorism financing, and syndicate gaming, which are threatening to undermine the potential of the gaming industry in Africa.
“The African gaming industry’s rapid expansion is marred with challenges that need urgent attention. Although it has great potential and has emerged as a crucial driver of economic growth and government revenue.
“It possesses the capacity to generate employment opportunities, attract foreign investments, promote tourism, improve income, technological advancements, and an increasing interest in gaming activities. In the same vein, terrorists can exploit this industry to finance their operations covertly. However, the gaming industry comes with risks, such as, money laundering which allows criminals to hide their illegally obtained funds by disguising them as legitimate winnings from gambling activities.” Gbajabiamila said.
He highlighted several critical issues, including the lack of synergy among African states and the absence of robust global standards to monitor money laundering which he said can be exploited by criminals.
Gbajabiamila’s concluded his presentation by calling on African countries to work together to combat these threats. He said the establishment of the Africa Gaming Regulators Association and the West Africa Gaming Regulators Association will facilitate regional cooperation and collaboration.
He said, “The fight against money laundering, terrorism financing, and syndicate gaming in the African gaming industry requires close coordination among African nations, a strong legal framework, and robust enforcement mechanisms. The establishment of AGRA and WAGRA is a significant step toward achieving these objectives.”