The prevalence of betting centers and the acceptance of lottery by a larger percentage of the Nigerian population has thrown up a peculiar challenge for business owners, human resource management team, and professionals in the country. I did not pay serious attention to this until a colleague informed me of the fact that over 75 percent of his employees are deeply involved in sports betting and public lotteries. He was worried about the implications of this on productivity and the ability of the staff to pay attention to their duties.
Amazingly too, a survey conducted by the News Agency of Nigeria ( NAN) in 2014 shows that about 60 million Nigerians between the age of 18 and 40 years are involved in sports betting and spending about N1.8 billion ($ 11 million) daily and by today estimate that will amount to 4 billion Naira daily.
My concern is on the impact of employee use of official work hours in attending to their personal endeavor be it a legitimate or illegitimate activity and its impact on overall productivity. Having said that, this article will also x-ray the control measures that are available to business owners and HR handlers in addressing such matters as gambling and licensed-pool-betting in the workplace.
IS BETTING (GAMBLING) LEGITIMATE IN NIGERIA?
I have adopted a deliberate use of terminologies to make a distinction between betting and gambling in order to periscope their positions within the context of the Nigerian Laws. It is instructive to say that the term gambling carries a negative connotation within the Nigerian social space, however, does this perception make gambling illegal?
On the other hand, betting seems mild in outlook and somewhat readily acceptable to Nigerians having hundreds of sports betting centers in cities across the country and acceptance of casinos in some major hotels in Lagos and Abuja in particular. This is not to ignore the availability of underground casinos and gambling spots across the metropolis.
IS THERE A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BETTING AND GAMBLING?
It is important to state that there is no difference between betting and gambling. In fact, betting is a form of gambling. However, if it is done outside the law it becomes illegal and a criminal offense.
The Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011, Chapter 18, section 155, subsection (4) states thus
Any person other than the persons mentioned in subsection (1) of this section who is found in a gaming house shall be deemed, unless the contrary is proved, to be there for the purpose of unlawful gaming and shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable to a fine of fifteen thousand Naira for the first offence and for each subsequent offence to a fine of forty five thousand Naira or imprisonment for three months or both.
Continue reading: NIGERIAN LAWS AND GAMBLING
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