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.