The National Lottery Authority (NLA) is still on its efforts to clamp down on illegal lotto operators in the country. A swoop carried out in the Central Region specifically Cape Coast resulted in the arrest of Seven (7) persons, they included the Operator of Lucky Star and 5 other accomplices and the Agent of Sikatuo Lotto.
After the closure of the licensing window in October 2021 and subsequent clamping down on illegal lotto operators, there were calls on the NLA to extend the licensing window to give the opportunity to individuals who were not able to register for the license to do same.
The Authority graciously listened to the calls for the extension and in a press release issued on the 15th of December, 2021 said “the National Lottery Authority (NLA) wishes to announce that following the incessant requests made by some Private Lotto Operators and other stakeholders, it is extending the closing date of the 2021/2022 licensing year from Thursday 16th December 2021 to Thursday 23rd December 2021”
The statement continued “all unlicensed Lotto Operators and any interested entities and/ or individuals who wish to be licensed within the legal framework of the National Lotto Act, 2006 (Act 722) and VAG Act 844, are hereby requested to contact the operations Office at the NLA Head Office, Fortune House first Floor, Accra for Licensing Application forms and payment term. NLA in collaboration with the security services began clamping down on all unlicensed operators from 1st November, 2021 and will continue the exercise into the New Year 2022.
After the extension, the NLA continued the operation which got the recalcitrant operators in Cape Coast arrested. The suspects were sent to the Central Police Command and subsequently arraigned before the Cape High Court on the 6th of January, 2021.
The seven (7) suspects were charged under the National Lotto Act, 2006 (Act 722) under Section 18(1) and (2) under the reading Prohibition in Relation To Coupons and Section 19 which relates to offences in relation to a coupon. They pleaded not guilty and the presiding judge requested them to provide their valid license on the next date of adjournment. The case was adjourned to the 10th day of February 2022.
Speaking to the media after the court proceedings the Public Relations Manager of the NLA said “the NLA will not relent on our drive to clear illegal operators from the lottery industry, we have kept a human face to the whole exercise and have been extremely patient with these operators.
“They were all over asking for more time to get licensed and we graciously granted the request by given them a 7 day extension. I remember the difficult time my boss the Director- General Mr. Samuel Awuku had to go through convincing the Board to grant the extension. But these people are still bent on operating illegally. We will walk the talk and go after them, we will not end by arrested them but will prosecute them as we have done today.