#SBWA2015: West Africa Needs Collaboration for The Betting Industry to Thrive
Tonte Davies and Telema Davies
You will have to excuse Adolphus Joe Ekpe for being proverbial in his remarks, but the capital market professional now Director-General, National Lottery Regulatory Commission, was unequivocal as he called for collaboration among key players in the gaming industry in the sub-region.
“Collaboration encourages an interface that reduces and or eliminates the process of trial and error,” Mr. Ekpe said at the just concluded Sports Betting West Africa Conference 2015 in Lagos, Nigeria and the first edition on the African continent.
He says: “collaboration enhances capacity building and adaptation of appropriate technologies.” While lauding the convening of the summit which comes as a forward thinking direction for the industry, he argues the sub-region stands to benefit from a collaborative effort among member-nations.
“There’s a drive towards efficiency and effectiveness of regional integration. It creates a friendly environment for operations, and there is less friction and administrative bottlenecks.”
The NLRC was very much an active participant at the conference as Ekpe hopes it is an indication of his agency’s interest to cooperate with organizers of the summit as well as operators to grow the industry.
“Companies and investors waiting on the fence, had better change their thinking,” said Emmanuel Siisi Quainoo, Commissioner, Ghana Gaming Commission in his reaction to the gaming culture in the region.
“There has been a 329% growth [of betting] between 2013 and 2015 in Ghana. The hunger for sports betting is growing day by day.
Natural resources have made Africa a land of opportunities. Now is the time for forward thinking with sports betting in West Africa,” he says.
On the possibility of a single licensing model for the West African region, Mr. Ekpe cautiously opines on national jurisdiction among member-nations. He said, “There are issues of jurisdiction. Every country wants to protect its territory, every country wants to have a regulatory grasp of what is happening.
“So ceding that to a central authority may evolve overtime,” he further stated. We have the West African association for regulation of lottery. The association can evolve, as this is a long-term project.”
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