“To participate, simply dial *000*1#. The more entries you send, the more your chances of winning. Draw opens…” You know the drill right?. Yes. We see these lottery programs on national TV, on mobile phones via text messages, websites and so on. You may even have participated in some of them yourself, especially if you’ve ever wanted to be a millionaire or maybe winning an airplane isn’t such a bad idea. Well, some persons have some misgivings about such programs and they generally countenance them as scam. So lets take a look at what the law has to say on this topic. Shall we?
The legal framework for all national lottery programs in Nigeria is the National Lottery Act 2005. To fully carry out the provisions of the Act, s.1(1) established the National Lottery Regulatory Commission to “regulate the operation and business of the national lottery in Nigeria” – See Section 7 of the Act. You might be guessing at this point that the commission looks out for the interest of all participants in a lottery scheme. Good news is, you are right! In fact, section 17 makes it the responsibility of the commission to make recommendations to the President as to the suitability of individuals or corporate bodies for the grant of lottery licenses.
So, before a license is granted to any person or body corporate to carry out any lottery scheme, such a licensee must be a fit and proper person, have requisite knowledge and experience in handling the business, be capable of mobilizing funds to ensure the viability of the business, make an undertaking that the process will be transparent, corruption-free and that the interest of all participants, stakeholders and the general public would be protected – See generally section 19 of the Act.
What we’ve done this week is to scratch the surface. I’m quite sure that some persons are already having second thoughts about sending those USSD codes in order to participate in one of those lottery schemes. “You know, its not such a bad idea!” I hear you. Wouldn’t it be just great to explore this further? Let’s make it a date next week.