We’ve developed strong regulatory frameworks to drive lottery business confidence —DG, NLRC

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The Director-General, National Lottery Regulatory Commission, (NLRC), Mr. Lanre Gbajabiamila has  the commission has developed strong regulatory framework in the lottery business to drive confidence.

He disclosed that the commission would soon launch Naija National Game that seeks to stimulate the interest of Nigerians towards home grown game.

Gbajabiamila in an exclusive interview with Nigerian NewsDirect said the Naija National Game would meet the requirements of the foreign games being played by Nigerian gaming public.

He emphasized that the Naija National Game is expected to drive revenue and renewed Nigerians interest at home grown games in the country.

He said the Commission acknowledged the fact that technology has long become the pivot of modern businesses, of which the lottery industry remains among the ones that cannot survive without.

He explained that, “In the light of the foregoing, I can inform you that the Commission is not resting on its oars, considering the nature of our mandate.

“Generally, no modern regulator of any industry will be effective in the contemporary business environment if it fails to identify the technological need of its organisation.

“In the NLRC, we have what we call the NLRC STRAMAP – SMS Transactions Monitoring and Archival Platform with which all SMS-based lotteries and promos are tracked.

“To improve our revenue drive, every permit holder is compelled to connect to the STRAMAP to make business easy for them and for government.

“However, government has commenced the process of acquiring what we call the Central Monitoring System, CMS which is expected to be the mother of all equipment for all the lottery industry.

“The CMS is a technology that we believe would turn the fortunes of government around with regard to improved revenue generation, as well as improved welfare packages for the staff of the Commission.

“We are therefore looking at a full automation of our operation, leveraging technology to actualize our mandate for the government and for Nigerian people.

“As you may be aware, revenue from the lottery industry has often been deployed for the provision of Good Causes to Nigerians in the area of infrastructural development in the Health, Education, Sports, Agriculture, disaster management as well as in solving ecological challenges.

“Our sister agency, the National Lottery Trust Fund, NLTF is saddled with the responsibility of providing  Good Causes projects and programmes.”

Gbajabiamila said the commission has taken a quantum leap from where it was when he resumed office three years ago, stating that unprofessional practices have been tackled.

According to him, “It is important to state that the Enforcement Team of the Commission has been gingered for more efficiency in the discharge of its duties, bringing about deserving sanctions on erring operators.

“We have restructured the Commission for greater efficiency;  undertaken  some strategic and targeted training, we have increased the revenue generation abilities of the Commission and we have gradually been improving on our staff welfare; knowing that the Commission would fare better when the interest of its workforce is adequately taken care of.”

Reviving confidence to meet global best practice, he said, “Before my assumption of office, the Commission had not effectively commenced the licensing of Sports Betting Companies.

“As a result, so many people were operating the business of Sports Betting illegally, and in any manner they deemed appropriate. First thing we did when I assumed office was to develop strong regulatory frame works, including Terms and Conditions of obtaining a Lottery license, as well as Sports Betting Permit.

“As we speak, the Commission under my watch has granted Sports Betting Permits to 22 companies operating the business in Nigeria, thereby bringing them under the full view of our regulatory functions.

“We also continue to update ourselves with developments in the industry through specialized training on how best to regulate such a dynamic industry, as well as participation in both local and international conferences.”

He explained that the Commission is empowered to arrest and prosecute any identified illegal operator, after sealing off its business premises.

“This we do with the assistance of the courts and other law enforcement agencies, including the police and the EFCC,” he explained.