Gov Mbah Pushes Homegrown Innovations to Regulate Gaming

Peter Mbah

Governor of Enugu State, Dr. Peter Mbah, has called for homegrown innovations to better regulate the gaming industry in Nigeria and reposition it to contribute more meaningfully to the nation’s economy.

Mbah also called for more enlightenment in addition to regulation to guide the people to draw the line between leisure and addiction.

He made the calls while declaring open the maiden Enugu Gaming Conference/Exhibition organised by the Enugu State Gaming and Lotto Commission, ESGLC, in the state capital on Thursday.

Speaking at the event themed, “Exploring the Future of Gaming: Innovations and Collaborations”, Governor Mbah, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Barr. Ifeanyi Ossai, said gaming had the potential to contribute meaningfully to the country’s economy and the tourism industry, noting that Enugu was eager to drive the innovation and regulatory process, while also keying into the industry to boost its revenues and local economy.

“We must separate gaming driven by addiction where you now have to wreck yourself financially by selling your properties, selling your jewellery or that of the members of your family because you want to play a game, and gaming driven by leisure. These are two different things and that is where the regulators have a duty to checkmate this.

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“Technology has a role to play, and I am happy the theme is discussing innovation; and innovation has to do with technology and advancement. If you look across the globe, there are many opinions, software options and technology options that could help drive that. It is not rocket science.

“Meanwhile, what we are doing here is part of the sensitization process, part of the platform to articulate better ways to handle it, to also show that we have a role to play, to secure those who play on the platform.

“Of course, we are funding our regulatory commission enough and reengineering it. We recently appointed the Executive Secretary, and as you could see, it is about the first time that people are coming together to discuss the impact and value of gaming in the economy, in entertainment and leisure. That shows you that we take it seriously because we know its potential to trigger off our GDP.”

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Earlier in his welcome address, the Executive Secretary, Enugu State Gaming and Lotto Commission, ESGLC, Prince Arinze Arum, said the conference, which drew participants from across the country and beyond, was convened to discuss current challenges and opportunities in the gaming industry as well as chart a course towards sustainable growth and development that benefit all stakeholders, operators, consumers, and the industry at large.

He said the conference was further aimed at fostering collaboration and an environment that encourages innovation and investment while safeguarding the interests of our citizens by striking a delicate balance between promoting economic growth and maintaining rigorous regulatory standards that uphold integrity and fairness.

“Enugu State holds a unique position within Nigeria – a vibrant cultural and economic center with a rich history and a dynamic population. It is within this context that we see tremendous potential for the gaming sector to contribute significantly to our state’s economic prosperity.

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“However, with this potential comes a responsibility—a responsibility to ensure that growth is managed prudently, transparently, and with the utmost consideration for social impact and consumer protection.

“Enugu State is dedicated to promoting a culture of responsible gaming practices that prioritize consumer welfare and minimize the potential for harm. This includes comprehensive education initiatives, stringent licensing requirements, and effective tools for monitoring and enforcement.

“Moreover, we recognize the role of technology in shaping the future landscape of gaming/gambling. From advancements in digital platforms to the integration of artificial intelligence and blockchain technology, innovation has the power to enhance transparency, improve security, and elevate the overall consumer experience. As regulators, we are committed to harnessing these advancements to create a safer and more sustainable industry”, he said.