The National Lottery Regulatory Commission, the Union of Lottery Agents and Employees and the Bookmakers Association have endorsed moves by the government to regulate lottery and gaming related activities, in order to move the lottery industry in Nigeria to the next level of development and growth.
At a meeting recently held by the three bodies, they addressed and endorsed measures being put in place to enhance the transparency, accountability, credibility and the integrity of the country’s lottery business.
As a first step, the stakeholders agreed that cooperation and collaboration among them is crucial to the strength and success of lottery business and so, they therefore pledged to work together to ensure that lottery business is conducted in a transparent and accountable manner.
They also called on all lottery agents and sub-agents to register and get certified by the National Lottery Regulatory Commission that is currently carrying out the registration and the certification exercise. At the meeting, emphasis was on the need for all agents and sub-agents to comply with the directive, as only those that register with the NLRC will be certified and permitted to operate in the lottery industry beginning from April 2016.
They hailed the new policy measures being put in place, saying it would rid the lottery industry of all unregistered and uncertified agents and sub-agents, as well as, put an end to the activities of illegal operators. The stakeholders felt the time had come to properly operate lottery business in the country, so as to protect the interests of the operators and players.
Lottery stakeholders observed that the lottery industry has been a major avenue for employment generation and a revenue earner in countries that have paid due attention to the issue of regulation and monitoring. According to the three bodies, Nigeria has depended on crude oil sales as its main source of revenue for too long, adding that it was time for the country to find some succour in the lottery business, as discerning nations have discovered.
The stakeholders referred to the National Lottery Trust Fund and expressed optimism that a streamlined lottery operation in Nigeria will provide substantial statutory income for the fund to enable it intervene in the provision of the much-needed infrastructure across the various communities in the country. According to them, over 2,000 primary schools across the nation will benefit from the modern sporting equipment that will be distributed in due course by the Trust Fund.
The Director General, National Lottery Commission, Mr. Ekpe said that the ongoing mapping and registration exercise by the Commission is the first of its kind in Nigeria, as it is being done in accordance with the law as contained in the National Lottery Act of 2005.
He said the Commission was collaborating with MACT Consult Ltd. on the nationwide mapping and registration project aimed at sanitising the Nigerian lottery industry. He said the consultants were fully prepared to ensure a hitch-free registration exercise.
“We have the support of the security agencies and the National Union of Lottery Agents and Employees in the execution of this national assignment,” he said.