Nigeria Targets N360bn From Lottery

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Nigeria has the potential to earn at least N360 billion from
lottery per annum, Director -General of the National Lottery Regulatory
Commission (NLRC), Mr. Peter Igho, said in Abuja, yesterday.

He made the declaration when he told newsmen that the
revenue would be earned if lottery was run properly.

Igho expressed regret that Nigeria was yet to tap into the
revenue potential which could spur rapid development in country.

“I established a study and that study is of great interest
because it showed that the potential of lottery in this country is not less
than N360 billion revenue per annum, if run properly.

“If all things are on ground to ensure that lottery was
carried out in the country with transparency and integrity; that all those who
were licenced to operate were doing so following all the rules of lottery.

“It’s not surprising because if you realise that in the UK
for example with its population of less than one third of our population, about
75 per cent of the population of Britain plays the lottery every week with the
average of a disposable income of three pounds, fifty pence each.

“In 14 years of the lottery, they have generated over £22
billion for good course, that’s well over £1.5 billion per annum.

“With our population of a 150 million, even if 50 per cent
play that, you will realise that the potential in terms of revenue is quite
big.’’

Igho also said Nigerians were misinformed about what lottery
entailed hence the current misconception and the misunderstanding that it was
synonymous with gambling.

He said: “If you ask 100 Nigerians what they think about
lottery, about 90 of them will tell you it’s something that has to do with
gambling; it is not surprising because the notion is based on ignorance.’’

The director-general explained that the difference between
gambling and lottery was that gambling was for the benefit of the gamblers,
whereas lottery was that game of chance that is concurrently used to raise
money for good causes.

He stressed that lotteries had been used all over the world
to raise money to bring about development in countries where they were played
and that Nigeria should not jettison the opportunity.

Igho cited the case of China which used lottery to build the
famous ‘Great China Wall’ – one of the Seven Wonders of the World, while the
United States of America used it to develop the country, including the
establishment of 55 prominent institutions of higher learning like Harvard and
Yale universities.

“Many of us have just come from watching the 2012 Olympics,
where we blamed our own athletes for not performing well.

“If you recall the Prime Minister of Britain, Tony Blair,
was on air to say that the great deal of the success Britain had was because of
the more than 850 million pounds funding and support the country got from
lottery.

“The money paid over 80 per cent of the revenue used for the
training of British athletes going to the Olympics.’’

Igho said there was nothing irreligious about lottery.

Morocco and Niger Republic, he added, had used lottery
proceeds in the past to execute development projects and even send their
citizens on pilgrimages.

He noted also that religious groups in Europe and the United
States had also promoted lotteries and used the proceeds for good causes.

Igho said that the NLRC had so far raised close to N3
billion through lottery in the country.

He also noted that the commission would embark on public
sensitisation to create a proper enlightenment that lottery was something big
and good and its proceeds could be used for development.