The Betting Gaming and Lotteries Commission (BGLC) advises that June 30 is now the final deadline for all gaming operators to renew licences for 2020-2021.
This requirement applies to the more than 10,000 gaming machines across the country which are located at various types of premises including gaming lounges, bars, clubs and even hairdressing parlours.
“When the COVID-19 crisis emerged and gaming establishments were closed, we offered an extension for license renewals from the usual end of March deadline. However, as economic activity resumes across all sectors, gaming machine operators & premises should be prepared to be able to open their establishments as duly licensed operators when they are permitted to operate under the orders related to COVID 19,” advises Maurice Thompson, Director of Licensing and Registration at the Betting Gaming and Lotteries Commission.
“We advocate for responsible gaming and a major part of that involves ensuring that gaming operators are licensed, consumers can be confident they are gambling at legitimate establishments and their money is not being funneled to unauthorized operators and the proceeds used for illegal purposes,” Mr. Thompson elaborated. “Having duly licensed gaming operators in Jamaica ensures that we are able to maintain safeguards and standards for both those who chose to participate in gambling, and the providers of that service.”
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 to Tax administration Jamaica (TAJ) and a licensing fee of $5,000 to the BGLC for each gaming machine operated. Operators of the premises where machines are placed are obliged to pay $2,500 for each premises to the TAJ and $1,000 to the BGLC. Operators of imported slot machines, pay $4,000 license fee to BGLC and file a monthly tax return to TAJ.
Late payment of fees attracts penalties of up to 60% per machine. Operators who fail to license their machines risk facing penalties of up to $750,000 and confiscation of the machines.
Ensuring that operators of gambling establishments are licensed is part of the BGLC’s mission to enable Jamaica’s gaming industry to operate in a structured and disciplined manner and is crime free. Through licensing, consumers who participate in gambling will be confident that gaming is conducted fairly and that vulnerable citizens are protected.
The Betting Gaming and Lotteries Commission is an independent statutory body established under the provisions of the Betting Gaming and Lotteries Act of 1965. In order to protect the public 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.