Senator Buruji Kashamu, has said tax revenue from lotto industry can take Nigeria out of its economic woes if properly harnessed.
Kashamu, who represented Ogun East Senatorial District in the eighth Senate, revealed this during an interview with journalists in Lagos, at the weekend.
According to him, the failure of lotto industry operators to be faithful in the payment of taxes and levies to the coffers of government was partly responsible for the inability of government to be up to date in infrastructure development.
The former legislator, who has interest in Western Lotto, said he was in support of the effort to sanitise the lotto business in the country to ensure that the industry creates wealth for the government and employment for the people as is the case in other countries.
He said: “My interest in the gaming industry stems from the opportunity it gives for wealth generation, redistribution and empowerment of the masses.
“I have it on good authority that all the promoters ought to have paid N600 billion to the Federal Government and its agencies but they have only paid N9 billion in the last 14 years. It is common knowledge that leading lottery and sports-betting companies are generating more than N1.5billion daily and N45billion monthly but do not pay the appropriate taxes. Some of them have over 400 active accounts in various banks in Nigeria that they use to perpetrate their fraud and illegality of short-changing the government. This must not continue.”
According to him, the dominance of opaqueness in the operation of lottery business in the country has not allowed it to contribute maximally to economic growth of the country.
“All the lottery and sports-betting companies have over 60,000 outlets/agents spread all over the country. Instead of them to allow the industry to flourish like it is in Ghana, South Africa, United States and the United Kingdom, where the funds are used to support the government and promote good causes, they short-change the Federal Government while feathering their own nest. Can you imagine one lottery operator saying he wanted to fix the National Stadium in Lagos when he has government’s money in his hands? What kind of corporate social responsibility or philanthropy is that?”
Speaking on the rationale behind the franchise of Ghana Games obtained by Western Lotto, he said: “The Ghana Games is responsible for about 70 percent of the revenue from the lottery business. But it is being done in an illegal way.