The Act


The Betting Gaming & Lotteries Act, 1965

Persons determined not to be deterred from participating in gambling activities by the austere prohibitions imposed by the Gambling Act introduced the Betting Gaming & Lotteries Act in response to a need.

It was perceived that this Act needed to be revised to keep pace with the growing infiltration of new forms of gambling and the people surge to find other avenues of entertainment and profit. These perceptions prompted the repeal of the Gambling Act of 1899 and the passing of the Betting Gaming & Lotteries Act, 1965, with provisions similar to those in the Betting Gaming & Lotteries Act, 1963, of the United Kingdom.

The main aims of the new legislation were to place bookmaker under regulation and control, to provide the promoter of horse racing with adequate protection from competition in their pool betting operations and to increase the power of the police in the detection and control of undesirable forms of gambling.

The new legislation provided that lotteries, on the whole, though explicitly termed illegal, may be exempted from illegality and allowed to be conducted under certain conditions and subject to certain strict safeguards. A provision was also introduce in the Act when the Commission was established in 1975 which enabled the grant of licences in 1991 to Sports Development Agency Limited for the conduct of scratch-and-win games and to the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce & Industry for the conduct of radio bingo.

The passing of this legislation seemed also to have reflected the thinking of the Government that, although gambling was not considered a productive enterprise on the basis of normal human hopes, it had become a fact of life for many people.

It appeared also that the Government wished that gambling should make its fair contributions to the revenue of the country, like other sectors, to provide employment and to assist in works of public interest. The establishment of the National Lotteries Commission in 1968 to promote a national lottery gives credence to this view.

This lottery ceased operations and a Poll conducted by the Commission revealed that a great majority of the gambling and non-gambling public disagreed with its discontinuance