Businesses up in arms over NLA fees
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April 1, 2010
Businesses up in arms over NLA fees

A contentious issue is brewing between businesses here and The National Lotteries Authority over the payment of fees to stage promotions where there is an element of chance.{{more}}

Businesses officials complained to SEARCHLIGHT that they should be allowed to stage their promotional events without having to pay fees of up to EC$5,000 per event to The National Lotteries Authority.

The businesses’ representatives also contend that they don’t mind paying a smaller fee similar to that paid in neighbouring Caribbean islands.

According to the new regulations, before starting a promotion, businesses have to outline their promotional strategy to The National Lotteries Authority and apply up to four weeks in advance, with an application fee of $100 to get permission to stage their promotions.

This has infuriated some companies which contend that their strategies should remain secret until they are launched.

“They fail to recognize that the economic climate is bad,” an irate business representative told SEARCHLIGHT.

“Why $5,000 in this present economic climate? Sales are down simply because of the global recession. This is simply pressure,” the business representative stated, adding that customers will be the ones to lose, since the initiatives are designed to simply give customers gifts for patronizing that particular business or using a particular service.

On the other hand, The National Lotteries Authority, the body which has control of all gaming in St.Vincent and the Grenadines, believes businesses benefit significantly from promotions and if they have an issue with the present payment of fees, the Lotteries’ Board of Directors is open to discussing the matter.

When contacted, Marketing Manager of The National Lotteries Authority, Anthony Dennie, told SEARCHLIGHT fees are set and agreed by the organization’s Board of Directors when applications are made to them.

“We are not here to say to any other entity that they can’t do promotions. Majority of the times the applications that we do get are approved,” said Dennie.

Regarding the issue of confidentiality, Dennie expressed that the Board of Directors will not disclose another organization’s strategic plans or even adopt their ideas.

“We don’t look to other corporate entities for ideas when it comes to marketing our products. We develop our own ideas. The whole thing about confidentiality doesn’t hold any water,” remarked Dennie.

Where the fees are concerned, Dennie disclosed that he believes The National Lotteries Authority Board of Directors will be open to discussion on the matter, based on the present economic times.

“We are not here to put any severe financial pressure on any entity, because at the end of the day everybody has to live,” said Dennie.

The Marketing Manager, however, disagrees with businesses which are claiming they don’t make money from give-aways or any other promotions.

“Any promotion that takes place, I don’t think it is right for any particular entity to say that they don’t make money. They do get extra sales. Promotions are done to generate sales and that’s the bottom line. If you have a promotion that doesn’t generate additional sales, then something is wrong with your promotion,” said Dennie.