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Australian Sportsbook Fined for Targeting Problem Gambler




Newly launched Betr, an Australian online casino, and sportsbook has been found to have violated the Northern Territory online gambling code of conduct by targeting a self-excluded problem gambler. Despite being on the Northern Territory self-exclusion register, the player, known as Mr. M, was contacted by Betr via phone and text message, offering him the opportunity to open a new account on their site for the upcoming Melbourne Cup. As a result of this breach, the Northern Territory Racing Commission has fined Betr a sum of AU$ 20,655.

The story was heard nationwide, and countless anti-gambling advocates had their say. The CEO of the Alliance for Gambling Reform, Carol Bennett, urged officials to pull the green light on the national self-exclusion register.

The national self-exclusion register was developed and legislated to prevent these types of problems from happening, and it should have been implemented years ago. Bennett also added that the federal government should prioritize implementation as soon as possible to protect problem gamblers better.

Northern Territory Self-Exclusion Register

The NT self-exclusion register allows every player from Australia to self-exclude themselves from every gambling site that is licensed by the Northern Territory. The exclusion period can last days, weeks, months, years, or indefinitely.

Because Betr is licensed by NT, they also have to follow and stick to every rule and regulation that the NT requires. The NT gambling code of conduct is pretty clear that all players who voluntarily self-excluded shouldn’t be contacted by gambling operators, no matter what type of material they are promoting.

According to the NT Racing Commission, Betr has access to the complete list of players who are part of the self-exclusion register, and records show that they received this list. Initially, Betr did not comment on the case when it first came to light. However, there are reports suggesting that the two representatives from Betr who contacted Mr. M used outdated documents that did not reflect the player’s current status on the self-exclusion register.

The Breach

Reportedly, representatives from Betr contacted Mr. M between October 5th and October 10th. It is worth noting that Betr had only launched shortly before these calls and text messages were sent, which suggests that their representatives may not have had access to the full customer database that includes self-excluded players at the time. The aftermath of this incident saw officials of Betr contact all of its representatives and staff to specifically tell them to do clear checks of the database and verify that the customer isn’t on the self-exclusion register before sending any promotional material.

The Northern Territory Racing Commission released a statement indicating that, while Betr may be a newly established online gambling platform, its senior managers and staff members are not new to the iGaming industry. The CEO of Betr, Andrew Menz, previously served as the CEO of BetEasy and therefore has significant experience in the field and knowledge of the regulations and guidelines set by the commission for obtaining a license.

The Commission also added that the lack of leadership was the main problem, and even though with years of experience in the field, senior management somehow allowed employees to contact players without even considering they might be on the self-exclusion register’s list.

The Nation Self-Exclusion Register

Australian gamblers have been eagerly anticipating the implementation of the National self-exclusion register for nearly four years. The register was a component of the National Consumer Protection Framework for Online Wagering, which was legislated by the federal government in 2019. The responsibility for launching the register falls to the Australian Communications and Media Authority, but they have only made an announcement about BetStop and haven’t made much progress since then.

Final Thoughts

There have been additional instances of online bookmakers and casinos sending promotional material to players who have already self-excluded in the Northern Territory, as reported by the Alliance of Gambling Reform. They argue that the implementation of the national self-exclusion register should be a minimum measure taken by the government to prevent such incidents, similar to the case of Mr. M.

But, Communication Minister Michelle Rowland has emphasized that thorough security evaluations must be carried out before the National Self-Exclusion Register may go live. With over 100 Australian online casinos and sportsbooks sending millions of customer details to the register, adequate cybersecurity and data protection is critical for the safety and security of personal and banking information. It remains to be seen whether the essential steps will be implemented.

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan. Mr Olowookere can be reached via

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Brent Soars on Iraq Supply Concerns, Ease in Banking Crisis



Brent Price

By Adedapo Adesanya

The price of Brent crude futures rose by 1.3 per cent or 99 cents to $79.27 per barrel on Thursday as banking crisis fears further eased and no resolution in sight yet for the cut-off of the flow of Iraqi Kurdistan oil to Turkey.

Also, the US West Texas Intermediate crude rose by 1.9 per cent or $1.40 to $74.37 per barrel as producers shut in or reduced output at several oilfields in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region of northern Iraq following a halt to the northern export pipeline.

About 400,000 barrels per day have been cut off with the pipeline shutdown over an international arbitration ruling in favour of Iraq against Turkey,  and this continues to put upward pressure on oil prices.

Likewise, fears that may linger about the potential broader economic impact in the aftermath of the failure of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and Signature Bank, as well as the share crash and rescue bid for giant Credit Suisse, and pressure on other regional banks in the US appear to be easing.

Also supporting prices was a Wednesday report from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) that crude oil stockpiles in the world’s largest producer fell unexpectedly in the week of March 24 to a two-year low.

Crude inventories dropped by 7.5 million barrels, compared with expectations for a rise of 100,000 barrels.

These factors offset bearish sentiment after a lower-than-expected cut to Russian crude oil production in the first three weeks of March, as numbers showed that there was a 300,000 barrels per day production decline compared with targeted cuts of 500,000 barrels per day, or about 5 per cent of Russian output.

Markets are now waiting for the US spending and inflation data due on Friday and the resulting impact on the value of the US Dollar, which impacts oil prices.

Also driving oil prices Thursday have been statements ahead of a planned meeting of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies (OPEC+) on Monday, where delegates have indicated that the 23-man cartel will likely stick to its current production cut plan.

Despite the low prices prompted in part by the banking crisis fears, analysts noted that OPEC+ would stay the course and not react by reducing output further.

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Nigerian Exchange Witnesses N318.52bn Listings in Q1 2023



Kemi Adetiba Nigerian Exchange

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited witnessed the listing of N318.52 billion worth of securities in the first quarter of 2023, data from the X-Compliance report of the bourse has revealed.

This cut across equities, fixed income, mutual funds and derivatives categories.

The X-Compliance report is a transparency initiative of NGX designed to maintain market integrity and protect investors by providing compliance-related information on all listed companies.

Through the report, NGX ensures that it provides timely information to investors to aid their capital allocation decisions and enable a properly functioning capital market.

According to the report, NGX saw N11.23 billion in Federal Government of Nigeria bond listings which constituted FGN Savings Bonds with maturities ranging between 2024 and 2026.

Lagos State Government issued the only bond by a sub-sovereign entity with its N137.33 billion series 1V, 10-year 13%, Fixed Rate Bonds due 2031 under its N500 billion debt issuance program.

The corporate bond segment recorded N112.42 billion senior unsecured bond listing from Dangote Industries Funding Plc and N31.36 billion in Sukuk Issuances from Taj Bank and Family Homes under their respective Sukuk Issuance programmes.

FTN Cocoa Processors Plc and Neimeth International Pharmaceuticals Plc both did supplementary listings of N850 million and N3.68 billion of shares, respectively.

Africa Plus Partners Nigeria Limited also listed its mutual fund, Africa Infra Plus 1, the first Carbon Plus naira-denominated fund to be listed on the Exchange, at a market value of N21.65 billion.

NGX also continued to drive participation in its derivatives market with the listing of the NGX Pension index Futures Contract and NGX30 Index Futures Contract.

Recall that the Chief Executive Officer of NGX, Mr Temi Popoola, had noted that the Exchange had a renewed focus on listings for the year 2023.

“We will be using listings as a vehicle for meeting strategic aspirations as the new dispensation comes in through increased advocacy and engagements,” he had said.

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Nigeria’s Debt Profile Jumps 17% to N46.25trn in 2022



debt profile

By Adedapo Adesanya

Nigeria’s total public debt stock increased by 17 per cent to N46.25 trillion or $103.11 billion as of December 2022 from N39.56 trillion or $95.77 billion in 2021.

This information was revealed by the Debt Management Office (DMO) on Thursday.

This means that the country’s debt profile precisely increased by 16.9 per cent or N6.69 trillion or $7.34 billion within one year, as the government borrow funds from various quarters for its budget deficits.

The agency said the new figures comprise the domestic and external total debt stocks of the federal government and the sub-national governments (36 state governments and the Federal Capital Territory).

The DMO statement partly read, “As of December 31, 2022, the total public debt stock was N46.25 trillion or $103.11 billion.

“In terms of composition, total domestic debt stock was N27.55 trillion ($61.42 billion) while total external debt stock was N18.70 trillion ($41.69 billion).

“Amongst the reasons for the increase in the total public debt stock were new borrowings by the FGN and sub-national governments, primarily to fund budget deficits and execute projects. The issuance of promissory notes by the FGN to settle some liabilities also contributed to the growth in the debt stock.

“On-going efforts by the government to increase revenues from oil and non-oil sources through initiatives such as the Finance Acts and the Strategic Revenue Mobilization initiative are expected to support debt sustainability.”

“The total public debt to gross domestic product (GDP) ratio for December 31, 2022, was 23.20 per cent and indicates a slight increase from the figure for December 31, 2022, at 22.47 per cent.

“The ratio of 23.20 per cent is within the 40 per cent limit self-imposed by Nigeria, the 55 per cent limit recommended by the World Bank/International Monetary Fund, and the 70 per cent limit recommended by the Economic Community of West African States,” the debt office said.

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