“Organizers of lottery games as labelled as “promotions”, as well as those who promote it through texting and advertising, are all liable for breach of section 4 (2) of the National Lottery Act,” it warned.
Mr Kojo Andah, Director-General of NLA, who issued the warning at a press conference in Accra, noted that those so-called promotions had undeniable and established elements of a lottery.
The press conference comes in the wake of some institutions intentionally or unintentionally violating the National Lotto Act, Act 722, by organizing or participating in lottery games under the guise of “consumer promotions”.
NLA noted that despite the legal actions taken against two telecom companies Vodafone, another telecommunication company, on August 1, launched its lottery game christened: “MORE MONEY” promotion.
The Director-General noted: “A person who contravenes sub-section (1) commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not more than 2,500 penalty units or imprisonment for a term of not more than three years or both.
“It is to be noted that Section 4 (2) of the National Lotto Act makes it a criminal offence for any person other than the NLA to operate a lottery.”
Mr Andah therefore advised those institutions to disassociate themselves from any illegality or be jointly or severally sued.
According to Mr Andah, customer promotions or reward schemes which comprised distribution of prizes, or were done by chance or had actual contributions made by the participants in return for obtaining a chance to take part in the lottery, possessed elements of lottery.
He noted that the operations and patronage of illegal lottery by entities cost the nation an estimated loss of GH¢100 million per annum in terms of revenue.
The Director-General said the Authority was aware of some practices of some organizations applying to the Gaming Commission for permit to operate lottery schemes.
“The Gaming Act of 2006, Act 721 does not authorize the Gaming Commission to issue permits for lottery schemes. Indeed, under the Gaming Act, the Gaming Commission only has the statutory authority to issue annual license to companies in the business of operating games of chance and not short-term or game by game permits,” Mr Andah explained.
He has therefore asked organizations and corporate bodies which were in doubt to seek clarification from the NLA on the provision under the law.
Mr Andah noted that within the provisions of the law, the NLA had the Authority to collaborate with bodies and institutions to ensure transparency, protect consumers as well as ensure that appropriate taxes and revenue were paid to government.
“The NLA will enforce its statutory and regulatory authority at all times in order to safeguard and protect the national interest as perceived by Parliament in passing the National Lotto Act in 2006,” he added.
The NLA in recent times won court actions restraining two telephone companies – Airtel and Tigo – for breaching the Lotto Act.