Lotto Operators Association agrees with NLA

By
Amadu Kamil Sanah, GNA

Accra, Jan. 15, GNA
– The National Lottery Authority (NLA) has agreed to restore the Private Sector
Lotto Operators (PSOs) who previously held licenses issued by Veterans
Association of Ghana (VAC) under new terms and conditions with immediate
effect.

Under the terms of
this contract, licensed PSOs will migrate from paper-writing to an Information
Technology (IT) platform for effective monitoring, regulation, and more revenue
mobilization to the State.

The agreement
followed exhaustive deliberations by a joint Technical Committee made up of
four representatives each from NLA and the PS Act PSOs to solve their impasse.

The NLA, in place of
its advertised Banker-to-Banker Lotto operation under Act 722, for which fees
were paid, has also offered qualified PSO, the opportunity to participate in
the 5/90 Fixed Odds Game under the regulation and supervision of the NLA, in
accordance with Section 2(4), to ensure increased private sector lotto revenue
to the State.

The parties shall
execute two separate contracts covering the qualified PSOs  operation of the Veterans Administration of
Ghana (VAG) Lotto under Act 844, and qualified participation in NLA 5/90 Fixed
Odds Game in accordance with Section 2(4) of (Act 722).

The NLA Act, 2006
(Act 722) was enacted for the NLA to operate and to regulate all Lottery in
Ghana.

Section 2(4) of Act
722 gives NLA the mandate to collaborate with other parties to Operate Lotto or
lottery in Ghana.

The VAG Act 2012
(Act 844) vests in the VAG the mandate to hold lottery, lotto and other games
of chance in accordance with The National Lotto Act, 2006 (Act 722), to cater
for the welfare of retired personnel of the Ghana Armed Forces.

Pursuant to Section
22 of Act 844, (VACG) licensed the five PSOs to Operate the VAG Lotto upon
agreed terms and conditions, which committed the five PSOs to make huge
financial commitments towards the operation of the VAG Letto.

In 2013, NLA went to
court to seek an interpretation of Section 22 of Act 844.

By the ruling of His
Lordship Francis Obiri J, the Court upheld the right of VAG to operate its
Lotto, but “in accordance with” the National Lotto Act, 2006 (Act 722),
thereby recognizing the regulatory function of NLA over lotteries in Ghana.

The Court process
delayed VAG Lotto operations and rendered the five companies unable to operate
the VAG Lotto.

In July 2018, VAG
entered into a Collaboration Agreement with the NLA to operate VAG Lotto.

The PSOs were of the
view that execution of the Collaboration Agreement constituted an infringement
of their agreement with VAG.

In February 2018,
the Board of NLA caused an advert to be placed in some Newspapers including;
two National Daily Newspapers inviting private Lotto operators to an NLA
approved Banker-to-Banker Lotto under Act 722.

Several PSOs
responded to the advert, paid the prescribed license fee and some submitted the
required Security Guarantees.

After a year of not
receiving the licensing certificate from the NLA, this state of affairs
incensed PSOs to organise a News conference in Accra, which was seen as
national security threat according to the state security apparatus.

After an invitation
to the Bureau of National Investigations to give their statement, the PSOs and
NLA were subsequently invited to mediate at the Police Criminal investigations
Department, Headquarters in Accra in October 2019 to resolve the impasse.

Following the
peaceful agreement, the two parties planned a nationwide sensitisation campaign
this month to educate the Lotto public and all citizens on the Lotto laws of
Ghana, duties and responsibilities in modern Lotto operations and targeted
training for sales agents and writers.

This sensitisation
is expected to help explain NPP Government efforts in resolving this 30 year
impasse on Private Sector Participation in Lotto, which created upheavals for
all governments since 1992.

To ensure smooth
implementation of the roadmap towards the successful adherence to the signed
contracts, the Joint Technical team has put in place a Joint Dispute Resolution
Mechanisms to forestall unilateral breaches, unfavourable media publicity or
adverse actions that may create national security concerns.

Consequently, the
NLA shall provide a detailed compliance manual to guide the effective
regulation of private sector participation in Lotto.

The Board of the NLA
and leadership of the Ghana Lotto Operators Association, the umbrella
organisation championing the rights of Private Sector Lotto Operators in Ghana,
have, therefore, extended their gratitude to the Government and the Police CID
for the opportunity given them to bring groundbreaking reforms to the lottery
sector for greater employment generations.

GNA