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11.08.2009 Regional News

Private lotto still thriving in Ho

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Ho, Aug. 11, GNA - Private lotto coupons are still being sold in the Ho Municipality despite a court ruling banning the operation of lotteries by private companies in Ghana .

A survey conducted by the Ghana News Agency at the weekend revealed that while some writers openly displayed tickets of private lotto companies, others stashed them under tickets of the National Lotteries Authority (NLA) and brought them out on demand.

Some patrons and writers of the private lotto the GNA spoke to said they were aware of the court's ruling but said payment of winnings and commissions by private lotto companies were better and faster than that of the NLA.

A writer who identified herself only as Genevieve said she could not get a job in the public sector after her senior high school but was able to make a living by selling coupons for private lotto companies.

"Imagine the thousands of writers made redundant by the court ruling, adding to the large army of unemployed youth on the streets".

Mr. Simon Meble, another writer, said "Private lotto companies pay their taxes, offer jobs to a lot of us who could not be employed by government and I wonder why the court ruled to ban that business".

He said the court's ruling would not stop private lotto business in the country as most operators would go underground depriving the government of the "badly needed tax".

Mr. Cephas Agbati, a patron of private lotto, asked the GNA "my friend, private lotto business compared to internet fraud "sakawa" and drug business which is better?" and declared "some of us will continue to patronize it".

Mr. Victor Aniewu, Volta Regional Head of NLA, said his outfit was aware of the operations of private lotto companies in Ho and that their activities were captured in his monthly reports to his superiors in Accra .

He described the claim by some of the writers that the commission paid by NLA was low "as a wicked lie, because worldwide, it is only Ghana 's NLA that pays the highest commission of 25 per cent to its agents".

He said Ghana was becoming a lawless country and that the authorities would soon clamp down on private lotto firms still operating.


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