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Governor Otu Creates New Agency, Says ‘My Government Will Not Tolerate Underage Gaming’

The Governor of Cross River State Senator Bassey Otu says his administration will not tolerate underage gaming while creating an enabling environment for all stakeholders in the lottery and gaming sector in the State.

This is said to be a significant step towards regulating and enhancing the industry as witnessed during the inaugural stakeholders meeting of a new Agency – Cross River State Lottery and Gaming Agency, led by its Director General Hon. Michael Eja in Calabar.

The exercise marks the beginning of a collaborative effort to establish a framework that will benefit operators and stakeholders within the industry.

The DG explained that Governor Bassey Otu’s vision for the industry is to license and regulate all categories of operators in the State by holding them accountable and ensuring transparency in their dealings with the government and punters as regards payment of licensing fees and winnings. Adding that, the aim is to create a conducive environment that ensures transparency, fairness, and accountability within the sector.

Eja also emphasized promoting responsible gaming, and curbing underage gaming while protecting the vulnerable and those affected by gambling harms. He further explained the agency’s strategies in protecting the punters by ensuring operators and agents pay winnings on time and when due.

The Chairman of Internal Revenue Service, Prince Edwin Okon who was represented by Head of Taxes and Charges Mr. Peter Ikpa appreciated the Governor for appointing a round peg in a round hole in this agency – Mr. Eja who is viewed as a seasoned and knowledgeable person with vast experience in the sector with aim to foster unprecedented growth in the economy and inspire confidence in the sector.

According to him, the inaugural meeting is important in setting a platform to regulate the activities of lottery and gaming in the State; bringing together State representatives and key players in the sector – R and S lotto, Betano, Betking, Bet9ja, Megastar Poll, Bet Bonanza, Premier Lotto, Protection Polls, Bet2Star Poll among others.

“This initiative not only benefits operators by providing a clear regulatory framework but also ensures that stakeholders are actively involved in shaping the industry’s future. fostering collaboration and engagement, the Governor is demonstrating their commitment to promoting responsible gaming practices and driving sustainable growth in the sector in line with the people’s first mantra.”

In his closing remarks, Mr. Alias Abdullah, Manager of RnS lotto in Cross River, said his organization was initially planning to shut down operations in the State but Governor Otu’s gesture increased confidence in his administration by creating this agency. “We have decided to stay in the State.”