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Government move to checkmate addiction, underage sports betting

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The head of Legal Unit, the Lagos State Lotteries Board (LSLB), Mrs Banke Ogunde has confirmed it readiness address concerns bordering on addiction and underage betting adding that addressing concerns relating to responsible betting is a global issue.

Mrs. Banke disclosed this while chatting with journalists, the statement reads: “Even in the UK last year, they passed a law on the maximum amount that people can spend in slot machines. It is all over.

“So everyone in the gaming industry is constantly taking measures on how to address the issue of addiction and underage gaming. What we are trying to be, like abroad, you will see the not-for-profit organization that counsels people on different issues. We don’t have that here because it’s not everyone that understands gaming itself.

“Abroad, there are institutions that offer Gaming. It is a course and you can become a professor in it, so they can counsel addictions in that area. All operators abroad are expected to ensure that they have relationship with those NGOs and they pay certain amount to keep them. So when people see they have a problem, they speak to the counsellor”, she added.She also noted that the Board has been looking at how to digitise its operations, saying, “we are engaging the operators because they have a role to play.

“This is supposed to be an entertainment thing and create jobs. The infrastructure, security, all of those comes from the revenue we generate from games. It is not a vice. It is just like drinking alcohol, when you do it in excess, it becomes a problem. There is a line that you must draw”.

She further addressed enlightenment and capacity building surrounding the it: “we do a lot of encouragement with banners to advance people not to game with illegal operators. The ones that are licensed by us has terms and conditions, which the legal team provides. It includes under aged gaming, trying to put certain things in place in terms of responsible gaming.

“Those under our jurisdiction work within the laws. We are going beyond that too to address advertisement. Those are in the laws as the terms and condition. You can’t advertise where you have schools. “We are not saying those laws are perfectly followed but it is a constant reminder and we take action when there is any report of such. We remind them of the terms and conditions because that is why we are giving them a license”.

Iwayemi Remi, the Board’s Head of Information Technology, also disclosed guidelines in place to tackle the underage betting: “Part of why we started licensing agents and registering them is to put them together and engage them. When there is no awareness, they won’t know that what they are doing is wrong.

“We need to address that. Not that we will not put it in the fine prints, we realize that putting it in the paper is not enough. We will now engage them and give them new terms and conditions, which you must operate, in Lagos state”.

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