The Anambra State Governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo has given an explanation why he commanded the immediate closure of all casinos and gambling services in the state.
According to the governor, the action was taken in response to numerous complaints regarding allegedly fraudulent and illegal activity in some casinos and gambling establishments.
The attention of the Anambra State Government has been drawn to the various misinterpretations of her directive to operators of Casino Games domiciled in hotels and restaurants in the state to suspend their operations as a result of written and video petitions on suspected fraudulent practices, lack of transparency and non-payment of Game winnings to players.
The notice of the ban is contained in a statement jointly signed by the Commissioner for Culture, Entertainment and Tourism, Mr. Donatus Onyenji; Chairman, Anambra State Internal Revenue Service, Richard Madiebo and the Commissioner for Homeland Affairs, Chikodi Anara.
According to the statement, the ban is a sequel to a worrisome number of petitions recently received by the government concerning the manipulation of casino machines and non-transparency in payment for winnings.
It also said the allegations amounted to serious abuse of global best practices in the industry which the government under the watch of Governor Chukwuma Soludo would not condone.
The statement partly read, “This fraudulent practice will not be allowed to thrive under the watch of Prof Chukwuma Soludo’s administration and therefore must be dealt with immediately.
“Consequently, the Anambra government hereby directs operators of casino games in Hotels, Restaurants and Bars to suspend all Gambling and Casino operations with immediate effect pending the conclusion of investigations.”
Meanwhile, the government also summoned a meeting of all hotel owners and managers in the state on October 21 at the Prof Dora Akunyili Women Development Centre.
The mandatory meeting covered security, hotel licensing enumeration and validation, and related topics.
It said hotel revalidation forms would be distributed at the venue for all categories of hotels and tourism enterprises, adding that any hotel that was not profiled or without Hotel License would also be closed down according to Anambra State Tourism and Hospitality Law.