The Nigeria government has introduced a new and automated collection process for the lottery and gaming and gambling industry, Casino Buzz has reported.

Its National Regulatory Commission and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) combined to promise transparency in its collection methods in the face of criticism from the gaming industry that suggested VAT and automation would kill off the business.

The criticism was based upon the additional 5% VAT charge that would discourage players. Their representatives had suggested that the only effect would be to drive players into the hands of the unregulated industry.

FIRS Chairman Tunde Fowler also reassured the operators and stakeholders in the lottery and gambling industry in Nigeria that they are working towards introducing new measures to improve the existing infrastructure and that all their concerns will be addressed with higher transparency in the process.

Explaining the new automation process, he said: “This is not a tax on the business, but on a bettor, who hopes to win. You also have to realize that 85% of VAT goes to the state, which is supposed to be closer to us. In this case, we are all winners.”

The event which saw the launch of the new automation collection process was attended by several top government officials including the Director-General of NLRC Lanre Gbajabiamila; the representatives of the Senate Committee Chairman on Sports; the Chairman, House Committee on Governmental Affairs.

Gbajabiamila, in his address at the event, said that often gambling operators collect VAT tax from the customers, but it doesn’t reach the government. He pointed out that the government has been losing a significant amount of tax revenue and emphasized that the new automated collection process will help to increase tax revenues.