Over two million persons risk losing their jobs at the end of 2022 when the National Lottery Authority (NLA) licenses a private operator to operate the lotto 5/90.
The third party private operator is set to run the 5/90 lottery through the NLA’s VAG Lotto digital short code from Monday to Saturday with the existing USSD Code.
The private operator will operate an online lottery with the USSD code in operation for the customers to stake the lotto on their phones.
This will force the local lotto kiosk operators out of business. As a result, Lotto Agents, Lotto Writers and all other indirect businesses connected to the local lotto industry will be out of business.
Concerns in the corridors of NLA indicate this move will adversely affect efforts by the NLA to raise revenue as mandated and this could result in the collapse of private lotto business across the country.
Currently, lottery operators are up in arms after they were asked by the authority to pay GH¢2 million for renewal of licenses for a year.
The lotto operators say despite paying for the license renewal since January, the National Lottery Authority is yet to put in the needed regulation to safeguard their operations.
Rather the environment of illegal operators to veer into their space is booming.
“After collecting GH¢2 million from the operators, there was no sensitization but all of a sudden, the NLA asked that we come for the renewed licenses, which starts this May and ends in December. Since last year that we paid their monies, they have not put in any regulations to enable us enjoy the business,” a lotto operator said in anonymity.
Apart from the license renewal, the operators were given a condition to buy new machines, a condition they complied with. But after procuring the machines at the cost of over €300,000.
Already, an agreement for a 10-year operation by the lotto operators remains in place but the new agreement presented by the Authority to them indicates that once the latter is signed, it will override the previous licensing agreement.
3news.com gathers four major operators refused to sign the agreement due to the unfavourable terms. However, some others signed the agreement.
With the implementation, no licenses will then be issued by the Authority to the operators after the end of the year.
“If you sell in lotto kiosks, we are creating employment but if you sit in your house and you use your mobile phone, it means straight away the person in the kiosk has lost his job.”
The lotto writers are worried about the impact of the new operator on their work and they appealed to the Authority to ensure their work is considered in any reforms to curb job losses, adding that their families depend heavily on them.
The operators contend government can gain more revenue from their operation than awarding the contract to a private regulator, who will pay a paltry GH¢100 million.
They indicated that proposals have been made to government to rake in more revenue by taxing lotto kiosks and taking a percentage of revenue on their stakes but government adamantly continues to pursue the policy of handing over the
operations to the third-party private operator.
VAG lotto 5/90 is a franchise of the Veterans Association of Ghana (VAG), run in conjunction with the Finance Ministry and the Defense Ministry.
The operators question why the National Secretariat of VAG, who are the rightful owners and franchise of VAG Lotto have been sidelined in this move.
Further attempting to give away NLA’s VAG to another private individual, the operators bemoaned, will also cause harm to Banker-to-Banker operators, who are already occupying that space.
PNDC Law 223 of 1989 gave the green light for private operators to participate in lottery in Ghana.
This made changes to the law that established the NLA in 1962.
Per the National Lotto Act, 2006 ( Act 722), the NLA is charged with the duty to organize raffles of the nation for a chance to win outstanding prices thereby making lives more appreciating, fun, and better for each and every one including
the rich and poor.
By Act 844, NLA also issues out licenses to entities to operate lottery activities.