By Cyril Ilayah
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Lottery Regulatory Commission, as part of its effort to accommodate the latest trends in lottery activities and how it affects telecommunications platforms, which drive lottery activities all over the world.
The Nigerian telecom regulator, in its thinking believes that regulation must be ahead of the trends in the lottery industry, as there is no better infrastructure that is amenable to the conduct of lotteries in Nigeria than the telecommunications infrastructure.
“Lottery is an additional service that brings additional burden to the telecom infrastructure. Therefore, the Commission is concerned that any additional service added to the networks could or may degrade quality of service,” said the Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission, Professor Umar Garba Danbatta.
This 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.
NCC believes that with the MOU, proceeds of lotteries would go to the prize winners and some would go to charity and there will also be tax benefits to government as well as to NLRC and NCC.
For the Acting Director General of the NLRC, Lanre Gbajabiamila, the NLRC needed to sign the MOU since the lottery and gaming industry is merged with the telecommunications industry. “lotteries have been in retail shops, but now, it has advanced to telecommunications platforms whereby Value Added Services (VAS) providers and telecoms service providers use the telecommunications platforms to do lotteries and gaming, hence we needed to have this collaboration and MOU signed,” he explained.
Part of the MOU states that the NCC would withdraw their approval whenever NLRC withdraws its permit from service providers for lottery, considering the fact that NCC gives approval only when permit has been obtained from NLRC.