AS the rate at which bet-gaming houses spring across the country in the past few years, there is need for government to be interested in the modalities of operation. Oyo state government has not wasted any time in strategizing policies that can help and guide against minor children or underage betting. Parts of its role to regulate the gaming industry in Oyo State, Oyo State Gaming Board has launched a stricter awareness against underage betting in the state and announced a fine of N500,000 fine against any defaulter just as it reiterated its determination to promote and encourage responsible gaming in the state.
This was disclosed by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Oyo State Gaming Board, Mr Lekan Abari, on Wednesday while addressing stakeholders in the during the interactive session on lottery and sports betting in the state.
The occasion was the first quarterly stakeholders’ interactive forum of 2019 organized by the board for the stakeholders tagged “Presentation on the Present Clime in Gaming Regulation” held at the conference room, Board of Internal revenue, state secretariat, Ibadan.
The Board then launched a sensitisation sticker with ‘+18 only’ message in red colour, given to all stakeholders who attended the forum free, to be pasted to their respective offices, thus sending across the message to operators and their stakeholders.
He informed that the board will embark on sensitisation of the public on the development, warning that any operator found culpable will pay a fine of N500,000 only.
Abari who commended the participants for their cooperation with the board in the area of documentation said “in the last eight months since the inauguration forum, the Oyo State Gaming Board has been able to set up a robust framework and policies for gaming regulation and compliance in Oyo State.
“The Board has been able to increase the issuance of gaming licences to qualified and registered gaming operators. Over 60 per cent of registered operators were issued licence certificates.”
The CEO further informed that “section 27 (1) of the Oyo State gaming law provides that no licensee or an employee of a licensee shall invite, cause or permit an underage or vulnerable person or play, place or engage in a gaming activity either personally or through an agent.”
Abari, however, noted that the board’s surveillance revealed “the persistence of underaged persons been found within the business premises of licensed operators despite warnings notwithstanding the proliferation of internet gaming websites, which can also increase risk of under-aged gambling.
“In this regard, it has become of utmost important that we as a regulator has undertaken to create more awareness on this issue and sanction effectively any defaulter in line with the provisions of the laws. It has become a policy that a fee in the sum of N500,000 must be paid by any operator caught in the act.”
He noted that the board is poised to achieve its major goals this year, calling on stakeholders to cooperate with the state government in its bid to come up with collective strategies and ways to improve the gaming industry in the state.