An Illegal cash pot operator has been fined $375,000 and given 7 days to pay the fine or be imprisoned.
“This is an important development in the efforts of the Betting Gaming and Lotteries
Commission to stamp out and protect Jamaicans from illegal gambling operations,” said Noel Bacquie, Director of Enforcement at the Betting Gaming & Lotteries Commission, Jamaica’s gaming regulator.
A report to Crime Stop (311) resulted in BGLC’s Enforcement Team undertaking investigations to monitor the activities in the White Lane area of Waterhouse in Kingston. Subsequently, the gaming regulator’s team conducted a joint operation with the Counter Terrorism and Organized Crime Unit (CTOC) of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) which led to an arrest and charge. The matter went before the court and resulted in the $375,000 fine.
“This is the largest fine applied in recent years. We are pleased that the courts recognize the seriousness of charges related to illegal gambling and are applying fines that closely align with our legislation. This is an important deterrent in our fight against illegal gambling,” Bacquie said. The Betting Gaming and Lotteries Act (BGLA) allows for fines not exceeding $500,000 or imprisonment with or without hard labour for a term not exceeding twelve months.
A report to Crime Stop led the BGLC’s Enforcement Team to monitor the activities in the White Lane area. A joint operation was carried out with CTOC and an arrest made leading to the matter going before the court.
In 2016 BGLC signed an MOU with Crime Stop to enable citizens to make anonymous reports of illegal gambling by calling 311. This has been steadily bearing fruit with a growing number of reports being received. The BGLC’s Enforcement Team conducts investigations in response to these reports, and works with JCF to execute operations to identify and arrest those engaged in the unlicensed and illegal gambling enterprises.
The Betting Gaming and Lotteries Commission is an independent statutory body established under the provisions of the Betting Gaming and Lotteries Act of 1965. The BGLC’s mandate includes ensuring that Jamaica’s gaming industry is operated in a structured and disciplined manner, that the industry is crime free and the public is protected from being exploited by gambling. The Commission licenses and regulates the local gaming industry by granting permits and licences to persons or entities considered fit to conduct betting, gaming and lottery activities.
Keeping crime out of the gaming industry is a major focus of the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission (BGLC), says Director of Enforcement at the BGLC, Noel Bacquie.
Speaking at a JIS ‘Think Tank’ recently, the Director said that persons wanting to become owners and operators of gaming machines will need to obtain a gaming licence from the BGLC.
However, prior to receiving a licence there has to be a ‘fit and proper’ assessment to ensure that people entering the industry are not criminals.
Therefore, Mr. Bacquie pointed out that there is a three-tiered process for covering the various categories of licences.
“For the licences, the BGLC would require individuals to give detailed information about themselves – two references; a criminal certificate from the police; as well as to undergo an interview,” Mr. Bacquie said.
He highlighted that as the risk level rises, so does the level of investigation, explaining that there is an even higher level of investigation for betting and lottery agents.
This level of investigation would take into account education, employment history, credit information and legal standing.
He said that an even higher tier is the multi-jurisdictional level, where the applicant has financial interest outside of Jamaica; then a third party would be engaged to conduct those investigations.
IAGR2019: Gaming regulators securing industry integrity, vibrancy and innovation
The International Association of Gaming Regulators has selected Jamaica as the destination for its 2019 Conference. The conference will take place in Montego Bay at the Half Moon from September 30 – October 3.
The International Association of Gaming Regulators (IAGR) consists of representatives from gaming regulatory organizations throughout the world. The mission of IAGR is to advance the effectiveness and efficiency of gaming regulation by providing a forum in which gaming regulators can meet, exchange views and information, and discuss policy issues among themselves and with representatives of the international gaming industry. Further, IAGR provides a means of fostering cooperation between gaming regulators in the performance of their official duties and a central point of contact for inquiries from governments, gaming regulatory agencies and personnel, and representatives of the international gaming industry.
“We are honoured that IAGR has recognized our place in the global gaming industry by selecting Jamaica as the destination for its 2019 conference. Jamaica is increasingly gaining the attention of the international gaming industry as evidenced by the fact that Audrey Robinson,
Secretary/Manager for the Casino Gaming Commission is the 2nd Jamaican to serve on the Board of Trustees for IAGR, and we hosted our first international gaming industry conference here in 2017,” said Clovis Metcalfe, Chairman of the Betting Gaming and Lotteries Commission and the Casino
Gaming Commission. “Our team has been working closely with the IAGR Conference Planning Committee for some months on the arrangements for the conference, and we look forward to welcoming our colleague regulators from jurisdictions across the globe.”
Commenting on the selection of Jamaica for IAGR 2019, IAGR President, Trude Felde, Senior Advisor at the Norwegian Gaming and Foundation Authority said: “Each year we take our Conference to a different continent. Last year Europe was our destination with the Conference taking place in Copenhagen, Denmark. The year before we were in South Africa. I am delighted that that the
Betting, Gaming & Lotteries Commission (BGLC) and Casino Gaming Commission of Jamaica have
offered to host the 2019 Conference. I hope this location will enable members from the Caribbean and Americas who may have been unable to travel to Europe and further afield, to join us.”
IAGR’s 2019 will be titled ‘Regulating the Game’, and will focus on how regulators can foster a secure, vibrant, innovative, safe and responsible industry. The Conference will bring together senior international gambling regulatory leaders as well as industry stakeholders to connect and share knowledge and to hear from leading experts about known and emerging issues and trends across the industry. It is an unmatched event in the gambling regulatory calendar that provides the opportunity for participants to discuss leading thinking in regulatory policy and practice, and access international perspectives and insights.
“IAGR2019 is an unrivalled opportunity for delegates to connect with and hear from senior gaming regulators and leading researchers and experts and access the latest international insights on emerging trends and issues and help shape regulatory approaches,” Ms Felde said. “We’re really excited to announce the details of our four-day program for IAGR2019, which follows our hugely successful call for speakers. We’ll be delivering a thought-provoking mix of key note speakers, expert analysis and panel discussions on everything from responsible gambling and behavioural insights to the role of AI and big data in gaming regulation.”
Other key themes to be explored at IAGR2019 include:
- risk and crisis prevention and response
- responsive regulation theory and practice
- strategic interviewing and detecting deception
- cyber security
- blockchain and gaming
- behavioural insights nudging gaming regulation
- the future of responsible gambling
- sportsbetting integrity and match fixing
- anti-money Laundering & counter financing of terrorism
The full-program is now available to view on IAGR’s website at www.iagr.com.
“The impressive speaker line-up will provide valuable insights for all international regulators, particularly those in the Caribbean that are developing or refining their regulatory approaches,” observed Vitus Evans, Executive Director of the Betting Gaming and Lotteries Commission.
As part of IAGR’s conference launch it has released special early bird rates for members and nonmembers. For more information about fees, registrations and hotel bookings for IAGR2019 visit IAGR’s website at www.iagr.com
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Note for Editors
- MEDIA CONTACTS:
BGLC & CGC: Jeanette Lewis: firstname.lastname@example.org; IAGR: Sean Harnett: email@example.com;
- FOR INFORMATION ON THE IAGR CONFERENCE visit: https://iagr.org/conference
- ABOUT THE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF GAMING REGULATORS (IAGR): The International Association of Gaming Regulators (IAGR) consists of representatives from gaming regulatory organizations throughout the world. The mission of IAGR is to advance the effectiveness and efficiency of gaming regulation by providing a forum in which gaming regulators from around the world can meet, exchange views and information, and discuss policy issues among themselves and with representatives of the international gaming industry; a means of fostering cooperation between gaming regulators in the performance of their official duties; and a central point of contact for inquiries from governments, gaming regulatory agencies and personnel, and representatives of the international gaming industry.
- You can follow IAGR on Twitter at IAGR_org OR #iagr2019 for Conference-specific tweets.
- ABOUT THE BETTING GAMING & LOTTERIES COMMISSION: The Betting, Gaming & Lotteries Commission (BGLC) is a statutory body of the Government of Jamaica under the supervision of the Ministry of Finance & Planning. The Commission was established in 1975 under the provisions of the Betting, Gaming & Lotteries Act (BGLA) with the mandate to regulate and control the operation of betting, gaming and lotteries in Jamaica, and to facilitate and enable sustainable growth of the Gaming Industry.
- ABOUT THE CASINO GAMING COMMISSION: The Casino Gaming Commission in Jamaica was established by the Casino Gaming Act, 2010. The Commission is charged with the power to grant casino licences as well as to be the regulatory body for casino gaming in Jamaica.
Over 2,000 previously unregistered machines were licensed during a Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission (BGLC) licensing amnesty late last year.
“That was an important breakthrough in terms of bringing the kind of control we want to the industry,” said Chief Executive Officer at the BGLC, Vitus Evans, at a recent JIS Think Tank.
He said that the amnesty was undertaken in preparation for the new licensing period, which begins in February.
“We knew that there were a number of illegal operators out there, and so we tried to engage them to get them to register,” he noted.
He said it is important for the industry to be regulated, as there are various stakeholders, as well as the Government, whose interests must be protected.
The amnesty, which took place between November 15 and December 31, resulted in the BGLC discovering more than 3,000 illegal gaming machines at over 1,000 locations across Jamaica.
“It is $10,000 to license each machine, so the illegal machines found would have represented $30 million in lost revenue to the Government in the gaming machines sector alone,” said Director of Licensing at the BGLC, Maurice Thompson.
He noted that the illegal operators were identified by the compliance team in the field, noting that they were mostly found in community bars, hairdressing parlors and restaurants.
Mr. Thompson urged persons with unregistered machines to get regularised, as they could face penalties such as seizure of the machines, and operators could be arrested and charged.
He warned that players could also be arrested and charged, and will have no redress if they have difficulty getting payout from winnings on these illegal machines.
All licensed machines have a disc at the front, indicating the year it is licensed, similar to a motor vehicle.
The gaming industry is a major revenue source for the Government, with $6.5 billion generated in 2018.
Four per cent of BGLC’s revenue goes to the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports, and Education (CHASE) Fund.
The Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission (BGLC) is calling for all owners and operators of gaming machines to renew their licences by March 31.
Speaking at a JIS Think Tank on January 30, Director of Licensing at the BGLC, Maurice Thompson, said that sanctions for non-compliance will kick in on April 1 attracting a penalty of up to 60 per cent of the fees.
He said that the Commission will be accepting documents for renewal of licenses along with the required fees at tax offices across the island between February 11 and March 19.
The BGLC will be at the tax office in Spanish Town on February 25 and 26; Montego Bay on February 11and 12 and March 4 and 5; Mandeville, February 18 and 19; Port Antonio, February 25 and 26; May Pen, March 4 and 5; Portmore, March 11 and 12; St. Ann’s Bay, March 11 and 12; and Savanna-la-Mar on February 11 and 12 and March 18 and 19.
For the renewal process, licensees are required to pay levies to Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ) for each machine and each premises, as well as corresponding fees to the BGLC. The TAJ receipt must be presented at the time of payment of the BGLC fees.
Licensees can pay the Commission fee using their debit or credit card, and so they no longer need to do so through the bank.
Chief Executive Officer at the BGLC, Vitus Evans, said that the Commission is finalising arrangements for Paymaster and Bill Express to accept payments.
Mr. Evans is imploring persons to make their payments on time. “If you are not licensed then you are an illegal operator, and we will have to take action, and your machines can be seized,” he warned.
Operators of locally made machines will pay $5,000 to the TAJ and $5,000 for licensing and disc fees per gaming machine to the BGLC. Owners of premises housing machines are required to pay $2,500 per premises to the TAJ and $1,000 for each premises to the BGLC.
The BGLC is also reminding all new premises owners or machine operators that they are required to pay a due diligence fee of $5,000.
The BGLC is the Government body that licenses, regulates and monitors the local gaming industry, facilitates its growth and development and protects the public from unfair, unscrupulous and illegal activities.
The Commission is a major revenue source for the Government, earning $6.5 billion in 2018.
Owners, operators and manufacturers of gaming machines in Jamaica, as well as operators of prescribed premises for gaming must renew their licenses by April 1, 2018.
The Betting Gaming and Lotteries Commission, the statutory body responsible for licensing, monitoring and regulating Jamaica’s gaming industry, reminds gaming industry stakeholders that they should submit applications for license renewals on or before March 31.
To facilitate the renewals, the BGLC team will be stationed at TAJ Offices in parishes outside of Kingston & St. Andrew from February 26 to March 20th. This is to enable licensees to submit applications without having to travel to the Commission’s office in Kingston.
The team will be at the St. Ann’s Bay Revenue Service Centre on February 26 and
27, Mandeville Revenue Service Centre on March 5 and 6, Savanna-la-Mar Tax Office on March 12 and 13 and at the Montego Bay Revenue Service Centre on March 19 and 20.
“BGLC’s Remote Licensing exercise is an annual activity to facilitate the license renewal process for gaming operators,” explained Maurice Thompson, Director of Licensing and Registration at the Betting Gaming and Lotteries Commission. “We do this as a convenience for gaming licensees and encourage them to take advantage of this service to renew and pay the requisite levies on time to avoid penalties.”
Board of Commissioners – Clovis Metcalfe, O.D. (Chairman), Solomon Sharpe, Charles Heholt, Christopher Reckord, Paul East , Ian Scarlett
Under Section 44 of the Betting Gaming and Lotteries Act, operators of locally manufactured gaming machines are required to pay a levy of $5,000 and license fee of $5,000 to TAJ and BGLC (respectively) for each machine operated. Operators of prescribed premises are required to pay $2,500 for each premises to the TAJ and $1,000 for each to the BGLC. Penalties of up to 60% will apply for payments made after April 1.
The BGLC reports that there are over 6,000 licenses gaming machines located in just over 700 premises across the island. More than 50% of these are locally manufactured machines. The BGLC is paying close attention to local manufacturers of gaming machines to ensure that these suppliers are duly licensed by the Commission, and reminds operators to ensure they purchase machines only from licensed manufacturers.
The Betting Gaming and Lotteries Commission is an independent statutory body established in 1975 under the provisions of the Betting Gaming and Lotteries Act of 1965. The work of the commission includes granting permits, licenses and approvals to persons or entities considered fit and proper to conduct betting, gaming and lottery activities.