Lottery as a vehicle for scaling down unemployment and powering IGR

The idea is for Nigeria to be part of the league of countries where the gaming industry is regulated to harness its potential in increasing revenue generation for the nation.


By Okon Okon

Experts say that Nigeria is in dire need of steady investment in the lottery business to boost its quota of the nation’s internally generated revenue and enhance its contribution to job creation as obtained in many parts of the world.

In the U.S. for instance it is projected that in 2023, the online gambling industry is expected to hit $93 billion. This represents a 40 percent increase from its current value.

According to reports the growth is led by sports betting.

To replicate a similar feat in Nigeria the Federal Government in collaboration with the private sectors such as ELRAE Technologies Limited, National Lottery Nigeria, via National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC) to introduce the `Nigeria`s National Game`.

The idea is for Nigeria to be part of the league of countries where the gaming industry is regulated to harness its potential in increasing revenue generation for the nation.

Unveiling the game in Abuja, Sen. George Akume, Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, explained that the initiative had been planned since the enactment of the National Lottery Act in 2005 and the establishment of the NLRC.

“The most important benefit of the national game is that it translates to significant employment opportunities in line with President Muhammadu Buhari`s directives to all MDAs to initiate programmes that generate employment for our teeming youths.

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“Most concerning is the proliferation of unregulated foreign games in Nigeria and export of revenues due to heavy patronage by Nigerians.

“It is apparent that Nigeria needs its own national lottery brand, “ he said.

The Director-General, NLRC, Mr Lanre Gbajabiamila said the game was an avenue for the Nigerian gaming community to have indigenous draws and transparent gaming platform.

Gbajabiamila assured Nigerians of immense benefits from the game, adding that a standard has been set for the operations of the gaming.

“These are the kinds of the setup that we see when we go on a visit abroad and I just hope they are going to maintain them because the facilities are very impressive and I am glad with what I have seen so far“, Gbajabiamila said.

Mr Layi Onafowokan, Managing Director, National Lottery Nigeria, said the economic benefits of lottery games were numerous, adding that it would provide sources of revenue for the economy government and encourage entrepreneurship.

“A percentage of the proceeds from ticket sales will also be allocated to various charitable causes“, Onafowokan.

According to him, the games which include instant games, mega-naija-jackpot and others will be played not only at the regional but also at national levels.

“This shows our commitment to deliver on these national games to Nigerians and everything is ready’’, he said.

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The Director-General, Ghana National Lottery Authority, Mr Samuel Awuku, who attended the event, said Nigerians have been patroising Ghana games for the past 25 years. He said Nigeria’s introduction of its own games was a laudable project.

He applauded the NLRC for the achievement, saying it is a shared achievement for the West African Sub-region and Africa, particularly the Anglophone lottery bodies.

Also, the Director-General, National Lottery of Cote D’Ivoire, Mr Dramane Coulibaly, encouraged the NLRC to remain steadfast n innovation which he described as the key to unlocking the gains of games.

Contributing, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, congratulated the Director-General NLRC for introducing the game in Nigeria.

Gbajabiamila said it was a credit to the commission and an iconic moment that all stakeholders should be proud of.

The Speaker said there was the need for a robust, practical and responsive regulatory framework which he said, was the reason behind the National Gaming Bill 2020 being was considered by the National Assembly.

“This legislation will accommodate all stakeholders’ interests; define payable tax fees, and identify problems concerning lottery operations and general regulations of the gaming industry in Nigeria.

“The Bill will also place the National Game on a strong footing and create the necessary conditions for the gaming industry to operate responsibly and profitably “, he said.

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News Agency of Nigeria