Stakeholders highlight benefits of lottery to public good
Rather than being perceived as addictive and willful gambling with no socially beneficial values, the general public has been enjoined to see lottery in the light of contributing to the good of society; in fact, a civic duty. Socially beneficial causes such as sports sponsorship, refugees’ support, welfare of internally displaced persons, educational support and support for government enlightenment programmes are among the numerous ways profits from lottery could be applied to help lift society from the brink. However, stakeholders agreed that not enough public enlightenment has been done to reposition and endear lottery as a good business to engender patronage.
These were the submissions of lottery experts and stakeholders last Friday, when Give ‘n’ Take Lottery Limited opened its Lagos office at Fadeyi with fanfare. Present at the colourful event were the Director-General, National Lottery and Regulatory Commission (NLRC), Mr. Adolphus Joe Ekpe, Director, Regulations and Monitoring, NLRC, Prince Emmanuel Jeminiwa, Chief Executive Officer, Lagos State Lottery Board, Mr. O.A. Anibaba, Managing Director, Give ‘n’ Take Lottery Limited, Mr. Jolly Enabulele, Executive Director, Marketing, Give ‘n’ Take Lottery Limited, Mr. Faith Robert, Chairman, Association of Lottery Agents, and other stakeholders in lottery business.
In his address, Enabulele said the mission of Give ‘n’ Take Lottery Limited is “to provide nationwide lottery services to over 80 million Nigerians and create a platform for genuine lottery business, which is trusted by players and where winnings are redeemed. We are committed to applying a substantial part of our profit towards supporting charitable causes, and reaching out to the less privileged in society as well as supporting government’s efforts in areas of social welfare and the provision of social amenities.”
Enabulele assured players of Give ‘n’ Take Lottery Limited of its integrity as it would ensure “those who play and win redeem their winnings timely and completely. We intend to be partners with those who play and run our business based on their loyalty and patronage.”
According to Enabulele, lottery business in Nigeria is still at its infancy, but assured that it has huge potentials, which he said Give ‘n’ Take Lottery Limited was “now ready to help Nigeria lottery business fully bloom. It is the intention of our company to create lottery frenzy in Nigeria, create the buzz of the biggest winnings in the history of lottery business.”
The MD also boasted, “We shall create super millionaires like never before experienced in Nigeria,” by holding the first national draw in the country, adding, “The big stakes shall be rolled over if a winner does not emerge at any draw. This implies a bigger next draw and the roll over shall be continued until eventually a big winner emerges. Then the circle is repeated again and again.”
Enabulele said the first national draw would be February 27 and it would be televised live. He assured, “We want to change the face of lottery in Nigeria. Both regulators and auditors will vet the lottery draws.”
With its antecedents in Abuja, where Give ‘n’ Take Lottery Limited first opened for business, Jeminiwa of NLRC commended the company for setting the standards and asked it to do the same in Lagos and across the country.
“I commend the efforts of Give ‘n’ Take Lottery Limited,” Jeminiwa said. “From 2008 till date, this company has been committed to its goal. There is a programme I look forward to among lottery operators; no operator has it yet. Enabulele told The Guardian, they have a strategy for 2017; what he showed points to the future, of an innovative mindset. He showed a studio, where a national draw will be held, which we have been looking forward to. Ghana has it. It makes a difference; it’s about the ability to deliver. It’s actually the way forward. I know they have the ability to deliver a good lottery in Nigeria.
“Give ‘n’ Take Lottery Limited has complied with all the regulations needed for a lottery company. However, if they deviate from the due process, we will descend on them.”
Director-General of NLRC, Mr. Ekpe, also commended Give ‘n’ Take Lottery Limited for its innovative business model. He also assured of a synergy between the national regulator and the Lagos board for a better operating environment for operators and stakeholders. He admitted the shortcoming of the commission in the area of public enlightenment to drive home the message that lottery is family-oriented pastime, which need not be stigmatised, assuring that even in Muslim countries, lottery is a way of life in its socially-inclusive benefits. Ekpe expressed happiness about Give ‘n’ Take Lottery Limited’s proposed national lottery draw, saying it would leapfrog Nigeria into the big lottery hub.
“Playing lottery is a civic duty to help build a better society as part of lottery’s earnings goes to social and infrastructure building,” the Director-General explained. “Lottery can be used as a diversification tool to reflate the economy. Lottery is a legitimate business. We have not done enough public education to reach to Nigerians. It is a sector of the economy that is under-reported and under-developed.”
Anibaba of Lagos Lottery Board assured the company of its support so long it plays by the rules and as a responsible corporate citizen that pays its taxes. He also added: “There’s a gap in the enlightenment process.
There is a responsibility to address that narrative and we must all work on it.”