By Chinedu James
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to implement the regulation of lottery activities on telecommunications platforms.
The new deal, inked in Abuja yesterday, NLRC will allow telcos to host lotteries on their networks in what should exponentially expand the lottery market in Nigeria. There are over 140 million mobile subscribers in Nigeria.
Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, expressed the readiness of the NCC to adhere to the MoU.
The MoU commits the two regulators to ensure strict compliance to the MoU as reviewed and regulations guiding operators in the two sub-sectors. NCC is obliged to withdraw its approval whenever NLRC withdraws its permit from service providers for the lottery. This is so based on the fact that the NCC only gives approval when a permit has been obtained from NLRC.
According to Dambatta, given that lotteries all over the world are electronically driven, there is no infrastructure that is more accommodating to conducting lotteries in Nigeria than telecom infrastructures.
Because the additional lottery service on the networks already saddled with numerous responsibilities may result into low quality of service, Danbatta said the commission will access the ability of telecom operators who provide the service to ensure that they deliver seamlessly and in compliance to existing regulations.
“Bringing any additional service on the infrastructure adds additional burden to the networks, therefore, the commission is concerned that any additional service added to the networks could or may degrade the quality of service.
“That is why the NCC has to be involved to ensure that telecom operators who will be participating in hosting the lottery services have the capacity to do so whereas the National Lottery Regulatory Commission will ensure the credibility of the process by making sure that whatever prices promised those who will participate in the lotteries are given to them,” said Danbatta.
He further stated that proceeds from lotteries would go to the prize winners, some would go to charity and there will also be tax benefits to the government as well as to NLRC and NCC.
Acting Director-General, NLRC, Lanre Gbajabiamila said the MoU needed to be signed by the two commissions since the lottery and gaming industry are inseparable from the telecommunications industry considering the shift from retail shops to telecom platforms.
“Lotteries have been in retail shops but now it has advanced to telecommunications platforms whereby Value Added Services (VAS) providers and telecom service providers use the telecommunications platforms to do lotteries and gaming, hence we needed to have this collaboration and MoU signed,” said the NLRC’s boss.