How women can raise the bar in the Nigerian Gaming industry
It cannot be over emphasized that the lottery/gaming industry in Nigeria (lottery, sports betting,) has been exploding in the last couple of years. Casinos, online/mobile gaming and even digital entertainment like video games are fast coming up.
This development has generated a lot of interest, not just from the government who now recognize the industry as a viable and compelling revenue generator, but from international community, with the likes of GTECH, major betting companies etc. coming into the country to seek partnerships with lottery companies or simply to operate in Nigeria.
It is astounding to see the amount of focus and emphasis the industry has been generating lately, after South Africa, Nigeria is unarguably the biggest market when it comes to lotteries and igaming in Africa.
There are more opportunities being created all the time, which is why the issue of women playing to win in the industry, is paramount.
There are so many opportunities for women to shine and make a mark in the industry. However, I will say that maybe the problem might be that women are conditioned to be passive in this type of industry or they just don’t have enough platforms to rise from.
When you look at it critically, you will see that sometimes it’s not just about having platforms, it’s about what you do with the platform you have.
The Nigerian lottery Industry has had a female Director General at the NLRC and about two (2) Permanent Secretaries in the Ministry in-charge of gaming in Nigeria (Ministry of Special Duties), but what impact really has been made?
During a brief chat with a senior female director at the Ministry of Special Duties, she said to me “career position is inconsequential; it is what you do with it that is very important” Women when they attain a position of power no matter how remote, should endeavor to break the code and utilize the platform to pave the way for other women to rise.
Rebecca Hargrove who is the President of the World Lotteries Association and Sarah Taylor, the First Vice President of NASPL & executive director of Hoosier Lottery and the Board President of the Multi-State Lottery Association in the US, quickly founded Women In Lottery Leadership (WILL) where women will brainstorm on how to advance and progress in the lottery business.
The North Association of State and Provincial Lotteries (NASPL) 2020 unveiled an all-women Executive Committee member, to show their lottery industry’s commitment to support women in leadership roles. now that’s how to utilize a platform to advance inclusion, which is what we need in Nigeria and not a situation where there is only one woman, in the whole Board of National lottery Regulatory Commission.
Even women who have risen to a leadership position in Africa, like South Africa’s Charmaine Mabuza and Janietzche Megun are busy holding the candle for other women to shine. This goes to show that in order to win in this male dominated industry, the women who gets the opportunity to head Organizations in this industry or finds themselves in leadership positions at the regulatory level both in state and federal, should endeavor to create a dozen more opportunities for other women aspirants.
Creation of opportunities maybe through mentoring, organizing trainings, creating government approved initiatives for funding and empowerment of women; this will go a long way to support the advancement of women into top positions of lottery/gaming management and leadership in the country. Discussions on diversity and inclusion should be actionable not just mere talks.
The time for women to become game changers in the Nigerian gaming industry is now, they should not wait to be given, they should rise up and take; be formidable, be resilient and show that stereotyping and limitations won’t work anymore, that they are in it to win it.
The Leadership positions for women must not be in government roles or CEO/MD of Organisations, it can be as directors sitting on the board, founder (s) of law firms consulting on gaming practice, media personalities focused on gaming and sports, gaming content creators for the industry; even as investigative journalists, that will write to debunk falsehoods, and dig into the motives behind certain decisions made by those in power, regarding the industry.
There are opportunities for women to become top managers, create their niche and forge a career managing brands; agents/partners/franchisees for lottery/betting outfits, and becoming their own bosses in the process.
Even the entertainment industry is not left out as gaming has always had an impact on the global creative industry and vice versa through movies, documentaries etc. when you watch movies like lucky, Even money, Mississippi grind etc. it makes you want to get creative.
There are so many opportunities to make a mark in the industry, we just need an enabling environment and the platform. I believe that with the tremendous growth of the industry and the interest it has generated thus far, the stakeholders have greater bargaining power now more than ever, to push for change in this area.