Chairman, Lagos State Lottery Board, Mr. Lanre Gbajabiamila
By Gboyega Akinsanmi
Lagos State Government has cautioned some persons or corporate bodies engaging in online lottery operations without official permits from the State Lottery Board, saying it had mapped out strategies to deal with any person found wanting of its directive.
Chairman of the State Lottery Board, Mr. Lanre Gbajabiamila gave the directive at the stakeholders’ forum for sports bet operators, agents and members of the public, thereby urging such operators to approach the board and legalise their operations.
He said the board “has a strong enforcement and monitoring unit with support from the Governor’s Office Task Force to deal with illegal operators. Their activities constitute a threat to operators who are duly registered and licensed to operate in the state”.
He said the board “will begin a serious clampdown on illegal sports bet operators in the state to ensure that unsuspecting citizens are not defrauded by dubious operators.
“The sports bet operators will have to help us here in letting us know where these illegal operators are, so it’s collaboration between the government and the operators as well”, he said.
Gbajabiamila said the board “will meet to consider the requests by most operators on the need to review the N5million license fee per annum for to enable them survive in the business.
“The possibility is there, but we had initially pegged it at N10 million. We then brought it down to N5 million. Now that we have had a forum, we would look at the request.
“But at the same time, some operators are of the opinion that N5 million is not high. So, we have to weigh all these things and come back and decide whether to bring the license fee down. The board may consider reducing the tax implications required for operators running lottery businesses”.
At the forum, operators urged the board to double their efforts to eliminating persons who come into the lottery business from the back door, saying that reduction in license fee may not make much impact if illegal operators remain in business.
In a short presentation, Assistant General Manager in charge of the Board’s Finance and Account, Mr. Bayo Beckley, asked the lottery operators to pay relevant fees required of them to stay in business including the good cause money.
He revealed that the board “has channelled funds from the good cause money paid by operators in the last two years to fund projects worth N600 million at the Lagos State University (LASU)”.