Oyo state government through the Oyo State Gaming Board has, in an interactive forum, engaged gaming operators and other stakeholders on improved ways of enhancing the gaming business in the state.
The stakeholders forum which took place on Thursday, during the Oyo State Gaming Board annual stakeholders interactive forum, themed: ‘Fish And Chips: Creating Buy-In For An All-Inclusive Gaming Environment’, was held in Ibadan, the state capital.
In her remarks, the Secretary to the State Government, Mrs Olubamiwo Adeosun, said it is necessary to make gaming more diverse and inclusive.
She said as diversity in terms of age, sexuality, disability, gender, social economic background will increase the opportunities of the sector and beyond.
Her words: “Diversity and inclusion in gaming and lottery industry is critical as it pertains to the gamers age, class, gender and so on, and in their different skills level, level of commitment, goals and others.
“Conversations on diversity and inclusions are dismissed as political correctness or preferential treatment for a group that is not bad or actively discriminated against, and so understanding this is key.
“It is illegal to discriminate against anyone based on the sex, age, race or any other. We are aware that there hasn’t been a level playing ground in the past. We are aware that it is not enough to just create a level playing ground but rather people who are different should have the same opportunity that are accessible to all other.
“There are a lot of work that needs to be done in the sector and many others to understand the inequality gaps and take the necessary steps to address the disadvantages affecting how people participate in the work force, most especially in the gaming sector.
“For the business and agencies in the Oyo state gaming board, being diverse means re-organizing, valuing and taking accounts to share knowledge, skills, experiences and opportunities and to reach the full potential of this sector.
“Diversity can add value and can widen benefits in relation to the issue. However, diversity is relevant, as it is to you in the gaming sector, so is it to us in government. Diversity will provide us good opportunities. Hence, as we therefore brainstorm today I advise to to embrace the tenets of inclusiveness in your business and continue to support the good work of the governor of the state, Seyi Makinde.”
The Director-General of the board, Mr Olajide Boladuro, said the board is making moves to ensure inclusiveness and to also make sure there are regulations in the industry.
“We are telling our operators to have women inclusion as we have some of our operators that have women as their leaders. It is not about the playing the game or gambling but we are saying that they should include women in the top echelon of their organizations.
“We are also making it clear that we don’t want underage, that’s why we are placing the +18 banner everywhere in all our centers. We don’t want children in gaming or gambling. There are stiff penalties for those who are involved, a three year prison term and a sum of 500, 000 for operators caught in the act.”
Also contributing to the theme, the Oyo State Commissioner For Youth and Sport, Hon. Seun Fakorede said the forum is a relevant one for the growth and development of the sector.
He said: “This is a very very relevant sector, as it will affect the economy. When it comes to gaming and lottery, a lot of people who are participants are the youths. It is this necessary to let people know the role of this board.
“Bringing the stakeholders together is necessary to help discuss on how to make it grow and how to regulate the activities.
“We are also focused on inclusiveness in this government, as we are preaching this in the government, so we want all sectors to embrace diversity and all inclusiveness”