Friday 10 July, 2020

Jamaica fast-tracking laws on online gambling

Jamaica Finance Minister Audley Shaw, says interactive gaming is a growing sector that offers tremendous potential for revenue earnings.

Jamaica Finance Minister Audley Shaw, says interactive gaming is a growing sector that offers tremendous potential for revenue earnings.

The Jamaican government has decided to fast-track legislation for the interactive and online gaming industry, according to Finance Minister Audley Shaw.

Shaw, in a Jamaica Information Service (JIS) report, noted that interactive gaming is a growing sector that offers tremendous potential for revenue earnings.

“Due to the expanded use of technology and the need to facilitate the growth of the industry, we, as a Government, have decided to fast-track legislation for interactive/online gambling ahead of the merger of the Commissions (that monitor the gaming industry),” he said.

“Already, we have seen a growth in the mobile betting market, with a few local punters and Caymanas Track Limited offering text betting,” he noted further.

Shaw was delivering the keynote address at the opening of the two-day Caribbean Gaming Show and Summit at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St. James, Jamaica last week.

He said the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission (BGLC) is in the process of drafting regulations for a licensing regime as well as provide regulatory supervision for operators of interactive gaming.

This, Shaw added, will ensure that the Government can properly regulate the growing industry and implement measures to prevent money laundering and the financing of criminal and illicit activities.

“Even as we keep pace with developments, we are also mindful of the vulnerability of the industry to be used by criminals for money laundering. This concern is what gave rise to the de-risking initiatives of large banks that have spurred smaller firms to improve their own supervisory protocols,” Shaw noted in the JIS report.

Meanwhile, he informed that the amalgamation of the three State-run entities – the BGLC, Jamaica Racing Commission (JRC), and Casino Gaming Commission – into a new entity called the Jamaica Gaming Commission, will strengthen monitoring of the industry.

The merger is expected to be completed by year end.

“(It) will allow us to better position Jamaica to take advantage of the emerging product offerings that now characterise the global landscape, such as Internet and mobile gaming and their offshoots, which include virtual and fantasy betting. It will also provide the authorities with the flexibility to guide and promote the continued growth of the sector,” Shaw noted.

He said that the government is developing drafting instructions for the formation of the new entity.

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