The Gaming Commission of Ghana (GCG) has moved out of the premises of the National Lottery Authority (NLA) as part of steps to stem the confusion between the separate mandates of the two bodies in the public’s eye.
The GCG had, since its inception four years ago, been in the plush building of the NLA in Accra and that had contributed to the wrong notion in segments of the public that the commission reports to the NLA.
But the Commission is under the Ministry of Interior, while the NLA is under the Ministry of Finance.
The commission was located on the premises of the NLA because, even though it reports to the Ministry of Interior, the revenue it generates goes to the Ministry of Finance, and moreover its activities and that of the NLA are related to some extent.
“But we have separate mandates under separate laws, and yet because we operate from the NLA’s premises, some organizations get confused about our source of authority and the NLA seem to take advantage of that public confusion over our separate mandates,” the source said.
The source said because of the recent confusion the NLA wanted the commission out and the commission has found a suitable place at East Legon where it can operate completely independent.
Meanwhile, information reaching ghanabusinessnews.com indicates that the NLA recently referred Fidelity Bank to the GCG for authorization for the bank’s ongoing “Rush For Gold” promotion.
Fidelity Bank had gone to NLA for approval to organize the game, but the NLA studied the dynamics of the game and concluded it was not lottery so it referred the bank to GCG.
In recent times, there have been legal battles between the NLA and GCG over who had the mandate to authorize the games organized by telecoms operators and other organizations.
Whereas the GCG insists that most of those games qualify as games of chance as defined by the Gaming Act, Act 721 (2000), which established the GCG, the NLA also countered that claim, saying those games are lottery and therefore needed the approval and participation of the NLA as determined by the National Lotto Act, Act 722 (2000).
The NLA had therefore sued the GCG and a number of telecom operators seeking to debar the GCG from authorizing such games, and also preventing those telecoms operators from going ahead with such games; the most recent is Vodafone.
Investigations revealed that at least one operator, was under the impression that NLA was right and therefore, went into a Terms of Settlement agreement with NLA even though the GCG did not subscribe to that document.
The source said it believed moving out of the NLA’s premises was a step in the right direction for the GCG, and would help kill the confusion between the separate mandates of the two organizations.
By Samuel Nii Narku Dowuona