Director General of the NLRC Honoured at ICE for Transforming Lottery to Entertainment in Nigeria

February 19, 2024 | Lottery News

NIGERIA (February 18, 2024) — According to local media reports the Director General of the National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC), Mr. Lanre Gbajabiamila, was honoured with the Africa Gaming Hall of Fame Award of Excellence at ICE London last week in recognition of his unrivalled and innumerable contributions towards the advancement of the global lottery industry,

To many eminent stakeholders in the industry, Gbajabiamila’s meritorious award is well-deserving having been recently inducted into the 2024 recognition list for his “dedication, commitment, doggedness, and novelty in the development of lotteries and gaming in, not only in Nigeria but also on the African continent.”

The ‘Nigerian Tribune‘ reported that it will be recalled that prior to bagging the UK honour, the lottery heavyweight had clinched another trail-blazing award conferred on him by the National Data Protection Commission (NDPC) under the chairmanship of the Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, Mr Bosun Tijani.

While presenting the NDPC Special Recognition Award to Gbajabiamila, the minister represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Communications Ministry, Farouk Yusuf Yabo, commended the lottery boss for his effective contributions to data protection in Nigeria.

“Your steadfast support and contributions to the National Data Protection Commission have not gone unnoticed. Your collaboration has been instrumental in furthering the goals of both commissions,” the minister said.

According to the minister, it was in recognition of Gbajabiamila’s profound, unmatched accomplishments in the commission that he got a vote of confidence from former President Muhammadu Buhari, who approved his reappointment as Director-General of NLRC for another four years, even before the end of his first term in office. And under the competent directorship of the lottery champ, the commission successfully hosted the first International Gaming Conference in Nigeria at Eko Hotel and Suites, in October 2023, which was attended by the greatest players in the industry from all over the world.

The local and international attendees of conference all expressed their satisfaction for the excellent organization, depth, and far-reaching recommendations brought forward at the world-class conference, which the Director-General of the Ghana Lottery Agency described as the best ever in Africa.

According to global watchers, since his appointment as the chief regulator of lottery and gaming in Nigeria, Gbajabiamila has remarkably transformed the industry and steadily moved the lottery to a main revenue-earning sector for the country. With Mr. Lottery as he his fondly called, it has been a win-win for all with the lottery industry growing speedily with commensurate profits for all stakeholders onboard.

The operators are reportedly profiting more; the players’ winnings are increasing, while more revenues are generated into the government coffers for more social amenities for Nigerians.

Notably, he has created millions of jobs, so he waits eagerly today for the launch of a Central Monitoring System (CMS) that can track all businesses in the gaming eco-system real-time online. The system is expected to lead to the sector’s next phase of exponential expansion.

Sharing his breakthrough stories in a recent interview, he said: “When I first started, they said that lottery is gambling, and I changed that word gambling to gaming because I believe it is entertainment.

“Lottery’s where you play, where you try your luck either for fun or also for contribution; social contribution to help the government. If you win, good. If you don’t win, you’re still a winner because you’ve done a little bit of charity to the government to use the funds for good causes in all the sectors that it is required for.”

“Lagos is a state. But when you are here, you are dealing with all the states. However, I must say, it prepared me for what I am doing now. I worked with an operator back in 2003. They carried on with a lottery operation in Lagos at that time, and I worked there for two years. I was in charge of their technical department and helped to build the software that they use for their transactions with a Swedish company,” he narrated.

Speaking further, he said the experience he garnered in the Centre of Excellence readily made him the man of choice by the state government in 2007.  According to him, “At that time, the government aimed to change the lottery law. There was a bill to the Lagos State House of Assembly to that effect. I was part of that effort as I worked with the then Attorney General of Lagos State, Supo Shasore.

“We worked on an amendment to strengthen the laws for lottery and gaming. I was there for eight years with Governor Raji Fashola. I served Governor Akinwumi Ambode for two years,” he added.

SOURCE: Nigerian Tribune.

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