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Work To Be Completed Soon On Merger for Gaming Commission

Work To Be Completed Soon On Merger for Gaming Commission
Finance and the Public Service Minister, Hon. Audley Shaw.
(Media Credit: Michael Sloley)

KINGSTON (JIS) -- Finance and the Public Service Minister, Hon. Audley Shaw, says work to merge Jamaica’s three state-run gaming industry regulatory authorities is expected to be completed within six months. The entities – the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission (BGLC), Jamaica Racing Commission (JRC), and Casino Gaming Commission (CGC) – are being combined to form the new Jamaica Gaming Commission. The move is part of the Government’s public sector transformation programme as also its recognition of the need to reposition Jamaica to keep pace with the global proliferation of emerging products, such as internet and mobile gaming and their offshoots, including virtual and fantasy betting.

Mr. Shaw told JIS News that he has issued instructions for the JRC’s and CGC’s personnel to be relocated to the BGLC’s headquarters on Hagley Park Road in Kingston.

“So, the physical movement has started (and) we are working on the mechanics of merging the three agencies into one entity. That will require legislative action, among other things, to merge all the functions of the three (and) we are moving with expedition in terms of the necessary administrative and legal framework that has to be promulgated,” he outlined.

Mr. Shaw, who announced the merger during the BGLC’s third annual gaming industry summit last year, indicated that the new Commission will serve as the Government’s main advisory body on gaming and would be allocated the requisite resources and authority to regulate the industry.

This, he explained, would be undertaken through the issuance of licences; development of codes of practice; monitoring stakeholder compliance with the law and regulations; and ensuring that operators institute measures to assist persons who may develop gaming addiction.

The Minister also advised that amendments to the relevant pieces of legislation, including the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Act and Jamaica Racing Commission Act are expected to modernize and broaden their scope, “to make it more relevant and consistent with industry developments.”