Lottery boss admonishes sport betting operators on sincerity
Director General of the National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC), Adolphus Joe Ekpe, has charged sports betting operators to strictly adhere to rules of the game in their operations, saying the body will not hesitate to shut down and prosecute operators who failed to adhere to the laws governing the sector.
Speaking at the Association of Nigeria Bookmakers (ANB) sports betting stakeholders’ summit held in Lagos at the weekend, Ekpe explained that the essence of regulating the industry is to ensure sanity, transparency, and accountability in the conduct of business, adding that it is not an instrument of witch hunt.
According to Ekpe, the “outlook of the sports betting sector of the lottery industry in Nigeria is shrouded with high level of averseness to transparency in the conduct of business. This is believed to be strengthened by active connivance and support of some State agencies on the one hand and some cartels within and outside the shores of this country on the other hand.
“The effect of these unwholesome business activities cannot be over emphasized. They are clear acts of economic crime and sabotage to our nation’s economy.
The NLRC is not unaware of the actors and promoters of such activities.”
He revealed that since the coming into force of the resolution of the board, the NLRC has corresponded and interfaced with the leadership and management of ANB on several occasions. He added, however, “it may be sad to say that even after the commission against its will extended the grace period for regularization up to February 18, 2016, only a few sports betting companies have commenced the process of compliance.”
He averred that the NLRC would be doing the country a disservice if it failed to sanitize the sports betting sector for the maximum benefit of Nigerians, adding that the commission would not allow the national economy to be plundered by illegal operators fleecing the “commonwealth in form of capital flight by foreign betting companies, and non-remittance of statutory fees by local companies refusing to be regulated.”