Court: FG Lacks Power to Regulate Lotteries/Gaming Within Federating States

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Justice Atinuke Ipaye of the High Court of Lagos State, Ikeja Division, has ruled that the federal government lacks the authority to issue licence and regulate lotteries and gaming within the federating states.

Delivering judgment in a suit marked LD/49089GCM/2021filed by the Lagos State Lotteries and Gaming Authority against Shade International Gaming Ltd (trading under the name and style of Betika) and Neomobile Entertainment Limited, Justice Ipaye held that the federal overnment cannot through the National Assembly legislate on any issue not contained on either the Exclusive and Concurrent Legislative List.

The judgement was delivered on November 8, 2022.Specifically, the court held that the National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC) lacked the powers to license and regulate lotteries and gaming Companies operating in any State across the country.

This decision was sequence to the suit initiated by the Lagos State Lotteries and Gaming Authority (Applicant) against two Operators,  (Shade International Gaming Ltd, and Neomobile Entertainment Limited), over their refusal to obtain license from the Applicant before Commencing Operations within Lagos State.The refusal of the Respondents was hinged on the fact that they have been licenced by the NLRC, and need not regularise their gaming Operation within Lagos State.

The Applicant’s Originating Summons was brought pursuant to Order 5 Rule 4 (2) and Order 5 Rule 5 of the 2019, High Court of Lagos State Civil Procedure Rules 2019 and Sections 19, 35, 86 and 96 of the Lagos State Lotteries and Gaming Authority Law 2021, the agency raised two questions for the Court’s determination.The applicant had asked the court to determine, “Whether the failure of the firms to obtain lotteries and related gaming activities license from the agency as required by the Lagos State Lotteries and Gaming Authority Law 2021, while carrying on the business of lotteries and related gaming activities in Lagos State is not unlawful.

“Whether the agency can compel the firms to pay appropriate registration fees for obtaining license and other statutory remittances for carrying on the business of lotteries and related gaming activities in Lagos State as stipulated by the Lagos State Lotteries and Gaming Authority Law 2021.”In compliance with the Rules of the High Court, the originating processes were served on the respondents.Despite the hearing notice issued by the court, the respondents failed and or refused to file a response to the originating processes, thus, the applicant was granted leave to move its summons.

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