The National Lottery Authority (NLA) has informed residents of Brewerville near Monrovia, that it is on the verge of enforcing its statutory mandate of regulating, monitoring, and supervising all companies operating casinos, sports betting, slot machines and other ‘games of chance’ in the country.
The NLA Director-General, Martin S. Kollie, speaking last Wednesday in Brewerville at the beginning of a massive community awareness campaign, told a large audience of residents and local leaders that his entity was in Brewerville to educate them on NLA’s mandate and its impending enforcement exercise for onward dissemination to other residents including their family members.
Mr. Kollie pointed out that the 2016 Amended Act of the NLA gave the entity the statutory mandate to oversee the operations of all businesses and individuals involved in games of chance, noting that several individuals, and in some cases companies, have been in violation of the NLA statute, which he vowed to bring to a halt.
He told the residents, local police authorities and operators of WINNERS and DOXX sports betting companies, that among the violations occurring are under-aged children involved in sports betting, the operation of sports betting facilities close to schools, hospitals, clinics, churches and mosques and the use of play stations for commercial purposes.
He made particular reference to play stations and called on city authorities to do all within their power to discourage or get rid of such a practice in the city, adding that besides the game’s bad tendency of encouraging under-aged children to gamble, it is also illegal under the law, as play stations are only intended for recreational activities at home and not for gambling.
Mr. Kollie disclosed that in a week’s time his enforcement team, backed by officers of the Liberia National Police, will return to Brewerville to begin enforcing the law by confiscating all commercial play stations while also ensuring that sub-stations of duly registered companies in the sector are not operating in residential areas or close to protected institutions and facilities. He vowed to revoke the license(s) of any registered company in the sector caught in non-compliance with the Amended Act of the NLA, which also prohibits children in uniform from playing games of chance.
He said while his team does not promote gambling, the practice has to be done responsibly and in line with regulations governing the sector, adding that part of the money raised from betting companies goes to support persons living with disabilities. He advised companies operating in the gaming sector not to register with the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism, stressing that anyone doing so will be doing so at their own risk, “because the NLA is the only government entity given the statutory responsibility to supervise the gaming sector.”
Meanwhile, a member of the NLA Board of Directors, Mr. David K. Vinton, reiterated similar sentiments and admonished parents to help the NLA by prohibiting their children from gambling.
The General Commander of Zone-6 Depot in Brewerville, Blama B. Yancy, promised to support the NLA initiative by working alongside the Brewerville City Mayor’s office as well as setting up a police team to demolish all commercial play station facilities in the city.