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Business News of Thursday, 28 September 2017

Source: Daniel Kaku

Legalise banker-to-banker lottery operations - Group tells government

The Concerned Voters Movement (CVM) has petitioned Government of Ghana to as matter of urgency legalise Banker-to-Banker lottery operations so as to generate significant revenue for the State.

The Founder and President of the CVM, Mr. Razak Kojo Opoku addressing a press conference in Kumasi stated that the National Lotto Act 2006, (Act 722), which gives the National Lottery Authority (NLA) the monopoly to operate the lottery business in Ghana is unfortunate and needs to be amended.

"The operations of Banker-to-Banker lottery was legal under the PNDC Law 223 but repeal of the PNDC Law 223 in 2006 renders Banker-to-Banker lottery illegal under the NLA granting it the monopoly to regulate, control, monitor and supervise the operation of 'game of chance' in the".

The group added that, the criminalization of Banker-to-Banker lottery by the NLA had contributed to the significant rise of unemployment in Ghana and loss of revenue mobilization to the State.

“Banker-to-Banker lottery has the greatest potential of creating more than five million jobs in Ghana if it is given the needed legal backing by the Government," the group noted.

Below is the full statement;

Legal Contradictions and Conflicts Involving the National Lotto Act 2006, (Act 722), Gaming Act 2006, (Act 722) and Veterans Administration, Ghana Act 2012, (Act 844);

The center of controversy is the legal monopoly of lottery business in Ghana created by the National Lotto Act 2006, (Act 722).

The passage of the National Lotto Act 2006, (Act 722) granted autonomy to the DNL and became known as the National Lotto Authority (NLA), with a sole mandate to regulate, supervise, conduct, and manage National Lotto and to provide for other related matters.

The passage of the Gaming Act 2006, (Act 722) granted autonomy to the Gaming Commission of Ghana to regulate, control, monitor and supervise the operation of 'game of chance' in the country except lottery.



However, section 2(4) of the National Lotto Act 2006, (Act 722) states that, NLA may, in consultation with the Minister, operate any other game of chance or enter into collaboration, partnership or joint venture with any person, society, association or corporate entity to operate a game of chance in accordance with the existing laws, but losses from the game of chance, the collaboration, partnership or joint venture shall not be compensated for by the State or from the Lotto Account provided for under section 32.

Why should the Gaming Commission of Ghana not authorized to operate lottery under the Gaming Act 2006, (Act 721) but the National Lottery Authority is authorized to operate other game of chance under the National Lotto Act 2006, (Act 722)?

This is a clear violence of the autonomy of the Gaming Commission of Ghana. An example is the Sports Betting regulated by Gaming Commission of Ghana and Soccer Cash operated concurrently by the National Lottery Authority.

The Gaming Commission of Ghana is the regulator and not the operator of lottery and at the same time is permitted to operate any other game of chance.

There are too much contractions and conflicts existing between the implementation of the Gaming Act 2006, (Act 721) and National Lotto Act 2006, (Act 722).

The Parliament of Ghana was aware of the existence of the National Lotto Act 2006, (Act 722) and Gaming Act 2006, (Act 721) but still went ahead to pass the Veterans Administration, Ghana Act 2012, (Act 844) into law, giving Veterans Administration, Ghana(VAG) the mandate to organize lotteries raffles or similar games.

Amendments to the National Lotto Act 2006, (Act 722) to Fully Restore Banker-to-Banker Lottery Operations

The National Lotto Act 2006, (Act 722) requires amendments to remove the legal monopoly of the National Lottery Authority (NLA). The National Lottery Authority should be only empowers as the Regulator of the Lottery Industry in Ghana with the powers to grant license to the Operators of Banker-to-Banker Lottery. The monopoly of every industry ultimately becomes the breeding ground for corruption, less productivity, greed and nepotism.

Moreover, the National Lotto Act 2006, (Act 722) has failed to compete with the Operators of Banker-to-Banker Lottery in Ghana.

Proposed Interim Requirements for Authorizing the Operations of Banker-to-Banker Lottery Awaiting the Amendments to the National Lotto Act 2006, (Act 722)

The Operators of the Banker-to-Banker Lottery should be permitted by Government to operate legitimately in Ghana under the District Assemblies awaiting amendments to the National Lotto Act 2006, (Act 722) and they operate in accordance with the fulfilment of the following requirements;

1. Certificate to Commence Business and Certificate Incorporation from the Registrar General's Department

2. Permission Letter from the District Assemblies that the Operators are working in their jurisdiction duly signed the MCE and DCE.

3. Payment of monthly and annual taxes to the National Lottery Authority and District Assemblies by Operators and Agents.

4. The financial and human resource records of the Operators and Agents should be audited quarterly by the Auditor-General.

History of Lottery and Games of Chance in Ghana

The history of lottery in Ghana could be traced to 1958, when the then Department of National Lotteries (DNL) was established under the National Weekly Lotto Act, 1961 (94) as a Department under the Ministry of Finance. The law was later amended by the National Weekly Lotto (Amendment Law), 1989 (PNDCL 233 and section 15 of the Legion Decree, 1974 (NRCD 285).

Conclusion

The Banker-to-Banker Lotto Operators are Indigenous Entrepreneurs of Ghana, who only need the full licensing and recognition from Government to contribute their indirect tax to the State as well as continue to create jobs in the informal sector to reduce the widespread unemployment in the country.

There is absolutely no way the National Lottery Authority can effectively use the National Lotto Act 2006, (Act 722) and Lottery Regulations, 2008 (LI 1948) to fight against and conquer the operations of Banker-to-Banker Lottery in Ghana since the Operators of Banker-to-Banker Lottery are controlling about 83% of the lottery business in Ghana. The best decision that Government should consider should be the legalisation of the operations of Banker-to-Banker Lottery in Ghana.

The leadership of Concerned Voters Movement (CVM) is respectively hoping to hear a quick response and action to our petition.

Thank you in anticipation.

For and on behalf of Concerned Voters Movement (CVM)

...Signed...

Razak Kojo Opoku (CVM Founder and President)

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