–As Nat’l Lottery Authority Shuts Down Some Outlets
By Jackson C. Clay, Jr.
The Government of Liberia through the National Lottery Authority (NLA) has shut down some branches of DoxxBet within Monrovia and its environs.
Speaking to reporters during the closing exercise in Paynesville City outside Monrovia, Roger Abim-Karmon, Special Assistant to the Deputy Director General for Operations said the NLA’s action is triggered by the betting company refusal to comply with government standing regulations regarding the betting industry of Liberia.
However, Doxxbet paid to the NLA US$20,000.00 for twenty slot machines every year to obtain a slot machines operational license, but they didn’t make the US$50,000.00 payment on each of the additional machines.
Most of those machines are not defective and are stored in their facilities. “If those defective machines are added to the functional machines, we will have over 200 slot machines being operated by Doxxbet in this country; with government only receiving US$20,000.00 annually as license fees,” an official from NLA said.
Abim-Karmon quoted the regulations governing the betting industry of Liberia as saying no betting company is allowed to bring into the country more than twenty slots of betting machines at the cost of US$20,000.00, adding that anything other than the twenty machines would lead such company to pay US$500.00 per each additional machine.
However, Doxxbet company brought in many slot machines without paying the extra cost to government revenue, thereby defrauding of its revenue.
Abim-Karmon asserted that the DoxxBet Company allegedly chose to ignore said regulation and brought into Liberia more than forty slots machines without the knowledge of central government, particularly NLA.
“DoxxBet is not in compliance. The lottery laws of Liberia state that all betting entities should have twenty machines and pay for those twenty machines and other machines, a company brings into the country will have to be paid for at the rate of five hundred United States dollars and that the lottery authority be notified,” Abim-Karmon said.
The Special Assistant to the Deputy for Operations at the NLA furthered: “this company has over hundred slots machines in this country and they have not been paying the government the needed revenue and this action amounts to defrauding of the system.”
He asserted that over the last two to three years, DoxxBet has been allegedly defrauding the government in the tone US$350,000.00.
He indicated that this is a regular exercise being carried out by the NLA of all betting companies in the country, adding that the DoxxBet was pre-informed about this exercise.
Abim-Karmon asserted that the DoxxBet has been defrauding the government of Liberia since 2012 the company came into the country; thus, the company would remain closed until it meets up with the regulations governing the sector.
Some of those branches of DoxxBet closed by the NLA are the ELWA, ELWA market, Boulevard and Congo Town branches respectively as the exercise continues throughout this week.
Meanwhile, the NLA has vowed to continue this operation across the country with all betting companies in the country to enable them adhere to the betting regulations of the country.
The National Lottery Authority according the approved 2014 Act is clothed with the authority to regulate all games of chances such as raffle draw, casino, slot machine, scheme, arrangement, system, plan, promotional competition or device for the distribution of prizes by lot of chance, or as a result of the exercise of skill and chance or betting based on the outcome of an event, including, but not limited to sports, or any other game, scheme, arrangement etc.
Additionally, the NLA is mandated by an act to conduct, manage, and/or regulate the operation and business of the national lottery in the republic and ensure the enforcement of laws relating to national lottery.
On March 18, 2019, the Deputy Director General for Operations in person of Mr. Neved P. Kortu, communicated with the Management of DOXXBET LIBEIA INC, informing the management about an inspection exercise which will commence on March 20th – 22th 2019.
According to Kortu, on March 21st 2019, the Operation and Monitoring and Evaluation team visited the Offices of DOXXBET, but the Management of DOXXBET told staff at their outlets not to allow NLA inspection team to enter their outlets and not to signed the assessment form.
He further told the Daily Observer, the NLA Act Section 7.6, grant the NLA the rights to conduct periodic assessment of the operation of the National Lottery Authority in the Republic and submit reports annually to the President and the Legislature through the Board. On the basis of this mandate and as Deputy Director General for Operations he decided to carry out this assessment exercise.
Additionally, his term of reference as Deputy Director General for Operation, is to ensure compliance of the Lottery rules and Regulations; to ensure that a through monitoring and evaluation mechanism of the Gaming Sector is carried out periodically to ascertain that guidelines are fully complied with by gaming institutions; to ensure that violators of the Gaming Sector are brought to book and exposed in line with the 2014 Act and the NLA Regulation 001.
On the basis of some of these duties of his office, he decided to bring to book and expose DOXXBET for defrauding government over the past years. He added that according to the Gaming Regulations 001 payment schedule, a slot machine operator is required to pay to the NLA US$20,000.00 (Twenty Thousand United States Dollars) for twenty (20) slot machines, and the operator is required to pay US$500.00 (Five Hundred United States Dollars) as registration fees for additional one slot machine from the exception of the initial 20 machines.
According to our inside source, DOXXBET is currently operating one hundred and five (105) slot machines across the entire country, at 38 locations, and these locations are in Montserrado, Grand Gedeh, Margibi, Nimba and Bong. Out of these 105 slot machines, 20 are paid for by DOXXBET, thereby defrauding the past and present governments hundreds of thousands of dollars over the past years.
The decision was reached to close their facilities down due to resistance from supervisors at their various locations in Montserrado to allow our team to count and verify the number of slot machines at those outlets, upon the arrival of the NLA monitors. DOXXBET will pay this government every cent they defrauded the past government and this government since the operation started in 2012.