The National Lottery Authority (NLA), has reached an amicable settlement with private lotto operators to bring their activities under its regulatory arm to end a 30-year protracted dispute.
The two parties have had a dispute with the private lotto operators challenging the Authority of the lotteries operator to supervise their activities nationwide.
Addressing the press on Tuesday, the Chief Executive Officer of the Lotteries Authority, Samuel Osei Ameyaw, said the deal provides an opportunity to bring ground-breaking reforms to the lottery sector for greater employment generation.
According to the terms of the agreement, NLA will restore the private lotto operators who previously held licenses issued by the Veterans Association of Ghana under new terms and conditions with effect from January 1, 2020.
Mr. Ameyaw explained that under the terms of this contract, the licensed PSOs will migrate from writing lotto on paper to an I.T. platform for effective monitoring, regulation, and more revenue mobilization to the State.
“The NLA, in place of its advertised Banker-to-Banker Lotto operation under The National Lotto Act, 2006, Act 722, for which fees were paid, has offered qualified PSO the opportunity to participate in the 5/90 Fixed Odds Game, under the full regulation and supervision of the NLA, in accordance with Section 2(4), to ensure increased private sector lotto revenue to the State,” the NLA CEO said.
The parties having signed the deal announced a planned nationwide sensitization campaign in January 2020 to educate the stakeholders and all citizens on the Lotto Laws of Ghana, duties and responsibilities in modern lotto operations; and targeted training for sales agents and writers.
The National Lotto Act, 2006 (Act 722) was enacted for the National Lottery Authority (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 Veterans Administration Ghana Act 2012 (Act 844) vests in the Veterans Administration, Ghana (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, VAG licensed five Private Sector Operators (PSOs) to operate the VAG Lotto upon agreed terms and conditions which committed the five (5) PSOs to make huge financial commitments towards the operation of the VAG Lotto.
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 NLA to operate VAG Lotto. The PSOs were of the view that the execution of this Collaboration Agreement constituted an infringement on their Agreement with VAG.
In February 2018, the Board of NLA caused an advert to be placed in some newspapers, including the two national daily newspapers, inviting Private Sector Lotto Operators to apply to operate an NLA approved Banker-to-Banker Lotto under Act 722. Several PSOs responded to the advert, paid the prescribed Licensing fees and some submitted the required Security Guarantees.
After a year of not receiving their licensing certificates from NLA, this state of affairs incensed PSOs to organize a press conference in Accra. The press conference was seen as a national security threat according to the National Security Apparatus, Police CID and the Government at large.
After an invitation to the Bureau of National Investigations to give their statement, the PSOs and NLA were subsequently invited to mediation at the Police CID Headquarters in Accra in October 2019, to resolve the impasse.