It’s a whole new Lotta game

Finweek English Edition - - Openers - CHIMWEMWE MWANZA

DE­SPITE THE CON­TRO­VERSY that has sur­rounded its se­lec­tion as the pre­ferred na­tional lot­tery op­er­a­tor from the start and some threats of le­gal ac­tion by the los­ing bid­ders, the Gi­dani con­sor­tium says it’s on course to launch a re­vamped Lot­tery.

Given the con­tro­versy that has sur­rounded Gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion to award Gi­dani the lot­tery op­er­at­ing li­cence and the de­tails un­rav­el­ling re­gard­ing the che­quered past of Gi­dani’s for­eign part­ner, In­tralot, Gi­dani isn’t leav­ing any­thing to chance. In­tralot has ap­par­ently been sued by the Rus­sian gov­ern­ment for mak­ing off with a US$15m (R106m) ad­vance pay­ment to run the Rus­sian na­tional lot­tery, which the com­pany failed to hon­our, and In­tralot’s owner Socrates Kokkalis is fac­ing a litany of charges in Greece, in­clud­ing al­le­ga­tions of es­pi­onage, fraud and money laun­der­ing.

That both Gov­ern­ment and Gi­dani ap­par­ently failed to run a back­ground check on In­tralot’s cre­den­tials has riled both op­po­si­tion politi­cians and los­ing bid­ders.

“We haven’t been dis­tracted by the con­tro­versy and le­gal threats aris­ing from our suc­cess­ful bid. In­stead we’ve fo­cused on pre­par­ing for the launch, which I’m con­fi­dent, shall hap­pen on 1 April. It’s un­der­stand­able that los­ing bid­ders will feel ag­grieved, but that’s not our worry,” says Gi­dani chair­man Bongani Khu­malo.

Among ma­jor changes be­ing mooted to the cur­rent lot­tery for­mat, is the ad­di­tion of more ter­mi­nals to ex­tend the lot­tery’s foot­print to ar­eas pre­vi­ously un­der­ser­viced by Uthingo and the in­tro­duc­tion of new games in ad­di­tion to the ex­ist­ing four, which in­clude Lotto plus, Wina manje, Lotto and Sport­stake.

Though re­luc­tant to di­vulge more de­tails, Khu­malo says his con­sor­tium is cur­rently en­gaged in talks with the De­part­ment of Trade and In­dus­try with the view to adding more games.

Ours is dif­fer­ent from Uthingo. Bongani Khu­malo

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