CVM petitions government to legalise banker-to-banker lottery operations in Ghana

The Founder and President of Concerned Voters Movement (CVM) Mr. Razak Kojo Opoku has told the media in Kumasi the reason why his outfit is petitioning the government to legalise the Banker-to-Banker lottery operation in Ghana is that, It will enable private participation in the industry and job creation for Ghanaians.

In a Ten page petition which was read out to the Media in Kumasi, The Founder and President of Concerned Voters Movement (CVM) Mr. Razak Kojo Opoku sought to point out the positives the Nana Addo’s government will benefit in terms of job creation from the legalisation of banker to banker operations which was a key campaign message in the 2016 elections ie jobs for the youth.

Below is the full statement :

PETITION TO INTERCEDE AND REQUEST FOR THE LEGALIZATION OF BANKER-TO-BANKER LOTTERY OPERATIONS IN GHANA
The Concerned Voters Movement (CVM) is petitioning the Government of Ghana to legalize the operations of Banker-to-Banker Lottery in Ghana as a means of generating significant revenue for the State and creating jobs to reduce the unemployment in the Country.
The operations of Banker-to-Banker lottery was legal under the PNDC Law 223 but the repeal of the PNDC Law 223 in 2006 renders the Banker-to-Banker lottery as illegal under the National Lotto Act 2006, (Act 722), making National Lottery Authority(NLA) the monopoly of the lottery business in Ghana.
The continuous criminalization of Banker-to-Banker lottery by the National Lottery Authority (NLA) had contributed to the significant rise of unemployment in Ghana and loss of revenue mobilization to the State. The Banker-to-Banker Lottery has the greatest potential of creating more than five million jobs in Ghana if it is given the needed legal backing by the Government.

History of Lottery and Games of Chance in Ghana:
The history of lottery in Ghana could be traced to 1958, when the then Department of National Lotteries (DNL) was established under the National Weekly Lotto Act, 1961 (ACT 94) as a Department under the Ministry of Finance. This Law was later amended by the National Weekly Lotto (Amendment Law), 1989 (PNDCL 223) and Section 15 of the Ghana Legion Decree, 1974 (NRCD 285).
The PNDC Law 223 was passed in 1989 to break the monopoly of Department of National Lotteries (DNL) and ensure Private Sector Participation (Banker-to-Banker Lottery) in Ghana under the District Assemblies, making the Banker-to-Banker Lotto Operators the highest employers in the Districts of Ghana.
The Banker-to-Banker Lotto Operators had to obtain operating licenses from the District Assemblies and apply part of their profits to support activities of the District Administrations within which they operated. This concept was to help the District Assemblies to generate revenue through license fees and taxes to the Government. The objective was however not achieved as some of the Banker-to-Banker Lotto Operators failed to honor their obligations, resulting in loss of revenue to the Government over the period. This development necessitated the establishment of the National Lottery Authority (NLA) under Act 2006, (Act 722) with a legal monopoly on the organization of lotteries.
The DNL(now known as NLA) since its inception was operating a fully manual system, until 2006, when it started the automation of its operations with the introduction of the Point of Sale Terminals (POSTs) or Automated Machines, which generate real time lottery tickets upon purchase. The National Lottery Authority is under the Ministry of Finance.
The Gaming Commission of Ghana was established under the Gaming Act 2006, (Act 721). The Act legalizes all forms of Games of Chance in Ghana except Lottery. The jurisdiction of the Gaming Commission of Ghana include Casinos, Sports Betting, Route Operation (Slot Machines), Importation and installation of Gaming Equipment, Promotional Gaming (Games of Chance), Betting on Horse Racing, Scratch Cards, Bingo. The Gaming Commission of Ghana is under the Ministry of Interior.

The Veterans Administration, Ghana (VAG) formerly Ghana Legion is an Association of Veterans (ex-servicemen and women) who served in the Gold Cost Regiment (before Independence) and the Ghana Armed Forces (after Independence) and were honorably released. The VAG is the sole body recognized by the Government of Ghana as representing the interest of all veterans.
The Veterans Administration, Ghana Act 2012, (Act 844) was enacted to correct the problems generated by National Lotto Act 2006, (Act 722) and the Gaming Act 2006, (Act 721), to give autonomy to Veterans Administration, Ghana (VAG) to hold lotteries or raffles or similar games for their members as a means of empowering them economically.
The Veterans Administration, Ghana (VAG) under the Act 844 has the powers to grant license to Private lottery Participants (Banker-to-Banker Lotto Operators). The Veterans Administration, Ghana (VAG) is under the Ministry of Defence.
Legal Contradictions and Conflicts Involving the National Lotto Act 2006, (Act 722), Gaming Act 2006, (Act 721) and Veterans Administration, Ghana Act 2012, (Act 844):
The center of controversy is the legal monopoly of lottery business in Ghana created by the National Lotto Act 2006, (Act 722).
The passage of the National Lotto Act 2006, (Act 722) granted autonomy to the DNL and became known as the National Lottery Authority (NLA), with a sole mandate to regulate, supervise, conduct and manage National Lotto and to provide for other related matters.
The passage of the Gaming Act 2006, (Act 721) granted autonomy to the Gaming Commission of Ghana to regulate, control, monitor and supervise the operation of games of chance in the country except lottery.
However, Section 2(4) of the National Lotto Act 2006, (Act 722) states that, the NLA may, in consultation with the Minister, operate any other game of chance or enter into collaboration, partnership or joint venture with any person, society, association or corporate entity, to operate a game of chance in accordance with the existing laws, but losses from the game of chance, the collaboration, partnership or joint venture shall not be compensated for by the State or from the Lotto Account provided for under section 32.

Why should the Gaming Commission of Ghana not authorized to operate lottery under the Gaming Act 2006, (Act 721) but the National Lottery Authority is authorized to operate other game of chance under the National Lotto Act 2006, (Act 722)?
This is a clear violation of the autonomy of the Gaming Commission of Ghana. An example is the Sports Betting regulated by Gaming Commission of Ghana and Soccer Cash Operated concurrently by the National Lottery Authority.
The Gaming Commission of Ghana is the regulator and not the operator of Games of Chance whereas National Lottery Authority is the regulator and operator of lottery and at the same time is permitted to operate any other game of chance.
There are too much contradictions and conflicts existing between the implementation of the Gaming Act 2006, (Act 721) and National Lotto Act 2006, (Act 722).
The Parliament of Ghana was well aware of the existence of the National Lotto Act 2006, (Act 722).and Gaming Act 2006, (Act 721) but still went ahead to pass the Veterans Administration, Ghana Act 2012, (Act 844) into law, giving Veterans Administration, Ghana(VAG) the mandate to organize lotteries, raffles, or similar games.
The passage of the Veterans Administration, Ghana Act 2012, (Act 844) has threatened the legal monopoly of the National Lottery Authority (NLA) created by the National Lotto Act 2006, (Act 722).
Both the Gaming Act 2006, (Act 721) and Veterans Administration, Ghana Act 2012, (Act 844) permits the legal participation of the Private Sector in the Game of Chance and Lottery respectively whereas the National Lotto Act 2006, (Act 722) prohibits the legal participation of the Private Sector in Lottery business.
The persistent litigation between the National Lottery Authority (NLA), Gaming Commission of Ghana (GCG), Veterans Administration, Ghana (VAG) and Operators of Banker-to-Banker Lottery over the sole operation, regulation, supervision, conduct and management of Lottery business, game of chance or raffles in Ghana is very worrying and harmful to the development of the Nation.

The Private Sector Participation in the Economy of Ghana is enshrined in the 1992 Constitution of Ghana specifically Article 24, Article 36 and Article 37.
The continuous action by NLA to always use the legal monopoly enshrined in the Act 722 to undermine the usefulness of the Act 721, Act 844 and Operators of Banker-to-Banker lottery is a clear violation of Article 24, Article 36 and Article 37of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.
Amendments to the National Lotto Act 2006, (Act 722) to Fully Restore Banker-to-Banker Lottery Operations:
The National Lotto Act 2006, (Act 722) requires amendments to remove the legal monopoly of the National Lottery Authority (NLA). The National Lottery Authority (NLA) should be only empowers as the Regulator of the Lottery Industry in Ghana with the powers to grant license to the Operators of Banker-to-Banker Lottery. The Monopoly of every Industry ultimately becomes the breeding ground for Corruption, less productivity, Greed and Nepotism.
The Government decision in 2006 to monopolize the lotto industry under National Lotto Act 2006, (Act 722) has undermines fair competition, revenue maximization and productivity in Ghana. It shall be a great disservice to Ghana if Government continues to uphold the National Lotto Act 2006, (Act 722).
The Executive and Legislature Arms of Government should amend the National Lotto Act 2006, (Act 722) to discontinue the monopoly of National Lottery Authority and gives legal backing to the Banker-to-Banker Lottery Operations (Private Sector Participation) in the lotto industry. Moreover, the National Lotto Act 2006, (Act 722) has failed woefully to compete with the Operators of Banker-to-Banker Lottery in Ghana.
Proposed Interim Requirements for Authorizing the Operations of Banker-to-Banker Lottery Awaiting the Amendments to the National Lotto Act 2006, (Act 722):
The Operators of the Banker-to-Banker Lottery should be permitted by Government to operate legitimately in Ghana under the District Assemblies awaiting the amendments to the National Lotto Act 2006, (Act 722) and they must operate in accordance with the fulfillment of the following requirements:

a) Certificate to Commence Business and Certificate of Incorporation from the Registrar-General’s Department. b) Permission Letter from the District Assemblies that the Operators are working in their jurisdiction duly signed by the MCE or DCE. c) Payment of monthly and annual taxes to the National Lottery Authority (NLA) and District Assemblies by Operators and Agents. d) The financial and human resource records of the Operators and Agents should be audited quarterly by the Auditor-General.
Banker-to-Banker Lottery Had Come to Stay; Government Should Effectively Partner with the Operators of Banker-to-Banker Lottery:
The full implementation of the National Lotto Act 2006, (Act 722) is making the Government of Ghana losing significant revenue. The fight by the NLA against the Operations of Banker-toBanker Lottery in Ghana is a Politically, Socially and Economically unwise decision, and it is a total waste of time, energy and resources. Competition is healthy in any Industry.
The operations of Banker-to-Banker Lottery had come to stay and hence the reason why Government must find a creative and innovative ways of making them accountable to the State through:
a) Imposition of taxes b) Licenses fees c) Annual Registration fees d) Monthly subscription fees
The NLA and Operators of Banker-to-Banker Lottery should rather partner and cooperate with each other in order to enhance the Indirect Tax Revenue Mobilization for the Government of Ghana.
The timely decision by Government to legalize the operations of Banker-to-Banker Lottery in Ghana is the only solution to the problem of low revenue returns from lotteries because the lotto market and industry is largely controlled by the Operators/Agents of Banker-to-Banker lottery.

The Banker-to-Banker Lotto Operators without the partnership with the NLA and District Assemblies implies loss of huge sums of money that should otherwise have gone to the Government for development.
The operations of Banker-to-Banker Lottery is very lucrative to almost 95% of Ghanaians who are interested in staking Lottery because while the National Lottery Authority pays 17.5% as Commission to its Agents, the Banker-to Banker Lotto Operators pays 30% to their members. The Banker-to-Banker Lottery is the greatest employer dominating about 85% of the lotto business in Ghana, the National Lottery Authority(NLA) with its Lotto Marketing Companies are struggling to compete with the Banker-to-Banker Lotto Operators.
Justification for the Legalization of Banker-to-Banker Lottery Operations in Ghana:
Currently, the Banker-to-Banker Lotto Operators have employ over 800,000 people across the Country making it a major source of job availability for Ghanaians at the grassroots. The legal acceptance of Banker-to-Banker Lottery Operations in Ghana shall become a great source of revenue mobilization for Government in the form of Indirect Tax Revenue Mobilization.
With the formalization of Banker-to-Banker Lottery Operations in Ghana, it is estimated that even if:
a) Each Banker-to-Banker Lotto Writer/Receiver pays monthly registration fees of GH¢ 120 to the Lotto Account of the National Lottery Authority(NLA), the Government of Ghana shall receive a monthly revenue mobilization of about GH¢ 84, 000, 000(GH¢ 84million). b) Each Banker-to-Banker Lotto Operator and Agent pays monthly registration of GH¢ 500 and GH¢ 300 respectively to the Lotto Account of the National Lottery Authority(NLA) ,the Government of Ghana shall receive a monthly revenue mobilization of about GH¢ 3,000,000(GH¢3million). c) Each Banker-to-Banker Lotto Operator and Agent pays an annual renewal of license fees of GH¢ 2,000 and GH¢ 1,000 respectively to the Lotto Account of the National Lottery Authority(NLA), the Government of Ghana shall receive an annual revenue mobilization of about GH¢ 6,000,000(GH¢ 6million).

d) Each Banker-to-Banker Lotto Operator and Agent pays an annual Statutory Payment of 20% of proceeds or value of prizes to the Lotto Account of the National Lottery Authority (NLA). The Government of Ghana shall be receiving about triple times of the profit that the NLA is currently generating for the Government.
Consolidation of National Lotto Act 2006, (Act 722), Gaming Act 2006, (Act 721) and Veterans Administration, Ghana Act 2012, (Act 844):
The Consolidation of the Laws such as the National Lotto Act 2006, (Act 722), Gaming Act 2006, (Act 721) and Veterans Administration, Ghana Act 2012, (Act 844) by Government would help to lead the way for the Active Private Sector Participation in the Lottery Industry in Ghana.
The Consolidation of the Laws shall help to end the legal battles between the National Lottery Authority (NLA), Gaming Commission of Ghana, Veterans Administration, Ghana (VAG) and Operators of Banker-to-Banker Lottery in Ghana.
Recommendations to the Government for the Lottery Business in Ghana:
1. The President and Ministry of Finance should authorize the suspension of the full implementation of the National Lotto Act 2006, (Act 722) and the Lottery Regulations, 2008 (L.I. 1948) indefinitely awaiting the amendments to the Act 722 and L.I. 1948 by Parliament of Ghana. 2. The NLA should be made only a Regulatory Body under the Amended Lotto Act. The National Lottery Authority (NLA) must not be made to regulate and operate lotto by itself. 3. The Government should authorize the operations of Banker-to-Banker Lottery under the supervision and regulation by the District Assemblies and NLA awaiting the amendments to the National Lotto Act 2006, (Act 722). 4. The Operators of Banker-to-Banker Lottery who are legally registered with the Veterans Administration, Ghana (VAG) under the Veterans Administration, Ghana Act 2012, (Act 844) should be allowed by Government to operate without any interference, sabotage and criminalization from the National Lottery Authority(NLA). 5. The Government should rather negotiate with the Operators of Banker-to-Banker Lottery who are operating within the ambit of the Veterans Administration, Ghana Act 2012,

(Act 844), on how best they can pay taxes to the Government since they are ever willing to pay taxes to the State. 6. The National Lottery Authority (NLA) continuous threatening and forcing the Operators of Banker-to-Banker Lottery to operate under the NLA as Lotto Marketing Companies is against the Rule of Natural Justice and subsequently undermines the Economic and Social Rights of Individuals enshrined in the 1992 Constitution as well as prevent the Private Sector Participation in the Economy and development of Ghana. 7. The President through the Ministry of Finance and Parliament should abolish the Lotto Courts instituted by the National Lottery Authority (NLA). 8. The National Lottery Authority (NLA) should re-introduce the Manual System to runs concurrently with the Automated Machines especially at the District levels, rural areas and places where there is no availability of Network. 9. The Executive and Legislature Arms of Government should guide itself with the lottery regulations and operations in Nigeria, South Africa, USA, UK and Canada when considering the amendments to the National Lotto Act 2006, (Act 722) or consolidation of the Act 722, Act 721 and Act 844. 10. To ensure fair competition with the Operators of Banker-to-Banker Lottery, the Government should increase the commission paid by the NLA to its agents from the current 17.5% to 30%. 11. The promise by Government to restore the commission paid by NLA to its Agents to 25% will still not be a useful business decision to compete with the 30% commission paid by Operators of Banker-to-Banker Lottery to its members. 12. The Government should abolish the 5% tax imposed on winning lotto tickets to encourage the patronage of lottery business. 13. The National Lottery Authority (NLA) should have branches in all the 216 Districts in Ghana for effective regulation of the lottery industry in Ghana. The Government of Ghana should fully resources the National Lottery Authority (NLA) for it to become readily accessible and available to the people at the grassroots. 14. The National Lottery Authority (NLA) should partner the Banker-to-Banker Lotto Operators/Agents for the building of Containers or Kiosks for the Lotto Writers/Receivers across the entire Nation.

15. Both the National Lottery Authority (NLA) and Operators of Banker-to-Banker Lottery should start a joint Public Education and Sensitization Campaign Programmes to destigmatize the Stigmatization associated with Lotto business in Ghana. 16. The Youth Employment Agency (YEA) and National Service Scheme (NSS) should introduce models that will help them to effectively collaborate with the Operators of Banker-to-Banker Lottery in the Districts. 17. The District Assemblies, National Lottery Authority (NLA) and Auditor-General should effectively collaborate to ensure successful licensing, registration, compilation of accurate data, monitoring, regulation, supervision of the Operations of Banker-to-Banker Lottery. This will help to compel the Operators of Banker-to-Banker Lottery to pays monthly and annual taxes to the State. 18. The Government should adopt pragmatic steps, innovative approaches and build consensus with the Operators of Banker-to-Banker Lottery to restore the lost glory of Lottery Business in Ghana. 19. The legalization of Banker-to-Banker Lottery Operations by Government would ensure fair and active competition, huge revenue mobilization to the State and job creation to reduce unemployment in the Country. 20. The Banker-to-Banker Lotto Operators in the immediate past under the PNDC Law 223 created several jobs in the informal sector in Ghana. More jobs can be created through the restoration of Private Sector Participation in the lottery industry (Operators of Banker-toBanker Lottery) to help Government to improve the standard of living of our people at the grassroots particularly the Unemployed Youth.
Conclusion:
In conclusion, the Government must restore and legalize the operations of Banker-to-Banker Lottery business in Ghana as a means of Job creation and significant revenue mobilization. The supposed monopoly of lottery business by Government since 2006 has undermines the Pivotal Role of the Private Sector Participation in the Lottery business in Ghana.
The National Lotto Act 2006, (Act 722) has lost the usefulness since its enactment in 2006. The Government should draw lessons from the successful implementation of Gaming Act 2006, (Act
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721) with Sports Betting completely taking over the traditional Lottery Business in Ghana. Now Sports Betting is more attractive to Ghanaians particularly the Youth than Lotto staking.
The Banker-to-Banker Lotto Operators are Indigenous Entrepreneurs of Ghana, who only need the full licensing and recognition from Government to contribute their Indirect Tax to the State as well as continue to create jobs in the informal sector to reduce the widespread unemployment in the Country.
There is absolutely no way the National Lottery Authority (NLA) can effectively use the National Lotto Act 2006, (Act 722) and Lottery Regulations, 2008 (L.I. 1948) to fight against and conquer the operations of Banker-to-Banker Lottery in Ghana since the Operators of Bankerto-Banker Lottery are controlling about 85% of the lottery business in Ghana. The best decision that Government should consider should be the legalization of the Operations of Banker-toBanker Lottery in Ghana.
The leadership of Concerned Voters Movement (CVM) is respectfully hoping to hear a quick response and action to our Petition.
Thank you in anticipation
For and on behalf of Concerned Voters Movement (CVM)
…….Signed……
Razak Kojo Opoku
(CVM Founder and President) Telephone: 0542563033