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The net assets of the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission (BGLC) grew by $73.24 million in the 2004/2005 fiscal year, to some $329.55 million.This is contained in a Ministry Paper, which was tabled in the House of Representatives yesterday (Sept. 5) by Minister of Finance and Planning,Dr. Omar Davies. The document detailed selected highlights of the Commission’s annual report and audited financial statements for the fiscal year under review.
According to the Ministry Paper, the growth in asset was due to significant increase in investments, which included resale agreements. “The increase in investments was facilitated by excesses from operations, which were invested mainly in debentures and indexed bonds, as the Commission continued to diversify its portfolio.”
The Commission’s accounts receivable and payable for the fiscal year were kept at acceptable levels, the document said, amounting to $23.24 million and $18.87 million, respectively. Accounts receivable accounted for 12.2 per cent of total assets while payable represented 58 per cent of liabilities for the period.
Throughout the year, the BGLC continued its close monitoring of the gaming industry. The Paper pointed out that, “revenue to the public sector fell by $11.72 million to $2.3 million as the decline of $33.56 million in the intake from the lottery sector exceeded the increase of $21.84 million in total receipts from gaming machines and horseracing.”
In the 2004/2005 fiscal period, some 3,250 machines were licensed, nine more than the previous year. However, in light of an increase in the gaming machine sector, which saw several premises changing into gaming lounges, the BGLC stepped up its efforts to detect money laundering activities and protect players at the lounges.
As it regards prize competitions, the BFLC scrutinised these more vigilantly. A total of 388 applications were received by the Commission, of which 252 were approved. It was noted that the Commission continued to seek new revenue opportunities from this source and pursued an amendment to the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Act.
Against the background of a 50 per cent increase in lottery ticket prices in March 2004, the Commission earned some $13.2 million from lottery sales, up from $12.4 million the previous year.
Meanwhile, the betting sector, comprised of local horseracing, Caymanas Track Limited (CTL) and its off-track betting parlours as well as bookmakers and their network of betting offices, collectively contributed $4.9 million to the Commission’s coffers in the 2004/2005 fiscal year, in comparison to $4.6 million in 2003/04.
During the period under review, the Enforcement Division of the Commission focused on identifying and taking action against illegal operators of gaming machines and Cash Pot. The Division also sought to reduce the extent of breaches of the legislation governing the gaming sector.
Some 64 operations were undertaken, targeting illegal lottery activities, while 30 operations focused on illegal betting and two on illegal prize competitions. These operations represented a decline of 40 per cent in comparison to the 2003/2004 year as more time was dedicated to intelligence gathering, investigations and operational planning in respect of individual cases.
Results included the arrest of 56 persons, which led to 52 convictions. In addition, 507 unlicenced gaming machines were seized, of which 451 were subsequently licenced and returned to their operators.
The Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission was established in 1975 as an independent statutory body under the provisions of the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Act.