Get License or risk Closure – Oyo Gaming Board warns Illegal Operators

In a bid to reduce underage gambling in Oyo state, the body responsible for regulating lottery and other gambling-related activities in the state; the Oyo state Gaming and lottery Board has called on all sport betting companies in the state to get a license for their activities or risk being banned.

The DG, Oyo State Gaming and Lottery Board, Mr. Olajide Boladuro disclosed this while featuring on a Noble FM radio programme; ‘The Discourse’ on Wednesday.

He said “There have been a few investigations, there are a few operators of casinos that are operating illegally in the state, they know themselves. We are coming to you and once the hammer comes down, we will pick up those machines because you are operating illegally in our state. We will shut them down.”

Speaking on the state of the industry in the state, Boladuro said “There were a lot of challenges in the wake of the Covid-19, we sympathize with a lot of our operators at the time that I had to seek the approval of Governor Seyi Makinde to give them some kind of palliative as far as the good cause levy they usually pay to the state is concern.”

“We gave them some sort of relief to alleviate their challenges at the time as it was obvious for all to see. They were not making as much as they do and they have an obligation to the state to remit what we call the good cause levy for operating in the state.”

“Then, some of them were not able to meet the obligations, so we had to approach Governor Makinde to give them a relief and the Governor approved it. It was pretty tough for them at the time but I think things are beginning to pick up and they are back to where they used to be.”

Commenting on Governor Makinde’s stance on the industry in the state, the DG said “Well, the Governor does not have any particular interest as far as the industry is concerned. The only interest he has is that as a licensed industry, we should follow up the standard, especially cleaning up the issue of underage gaming and the governor is very particular about that.”

“He has charged us that we should not allow underage people to be gambling as well as ensuring that we create an enabling environment for the operators and business to prosper.”

“The enabling environment we are talking about is that they should be rest assured that we will protect their interest and that we will not charge them as much as they charge them in other states.”

“We give them as much as 90 days laxity for them to operate without paying anything to the government, just for them to test the waters and see that Oyo state is where they should be and those are the enabling environment I was talking about.”

Boladuro also stated that for a year now, the board has been holding programs to sensitize people into realizing that gambling/lottery is not a do-or-die affair and said: “Going forward, I keep talking about the 2021 Oyo State Gaming and Lottery Board Bill that we have proposed and we have been working on since I came on board, and if that comes through, the sky is the limit for us.

“We are trying to improve the process flow of how we do our business and let our operators do business in a very seamless way, registrations of agents and others that we are doing, our enforcements and monitoring team, the governor is being gracious enough to give us approval to hire some new folks and also give us some vehicles to do our jobs effectively so that we regulate our operators properly.

“And the stakers are quite happy with what we are doing because if you are betting, you want to have the confidence that you are doing so with people who are capable enough to give you your wins once you triumph, and those are some of the things we are working on.”

“We are also doing a lot of programmes to ensure that we sanitize the community and also let the people know that the game of lottery is not a do-or-die thing. Don’t go and use your rent or school fees or any other money that you have saved up to gamble, so you have to be responsible with what you do.”

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Oyo Affairs is an independent news media with the main focus on Oyo state news, politics, current events, trending happenings within and around Oyo state, Nigeria

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