Advertisement
JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission (BGLC) on Friday (January 22) hosted consultations with government officials from the Turks and Caicos Islands, to aid that country in the finalization of its gaming policy, reformation of its gaming laws and the crafting of regulations.
  • The Deputy Chief Gaming Inspector, Wayne Higgs, explained that the Turks and Caicos has been experiencing challenges with illegally-operated game houses and is seeking ways to eradicate the practice and have better governance of the industry.
  • Chief Executive Officer of the Jamaica Casino Gaming Commission, Phillip Shelton, was also in attendance at the meeting to provide insight into how Jamaica’s casino gaming industry operates and is regulated.

The Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission (BGLC) on Friday (January 22) hosted consultations with government officials from the Turks and Caicos Islands, to aid that country in the finalization of its gaming policy, reformation of its gaming laws and the crafting of regulations.

The team from the Turks and Caicos Islands, including the Permanent Secretary, with responsibility for Gaming in the Ministry of Tourism, Environment, Culture and Heritage, Mrs. Desiree Lewis, along with the heads of the Gaming Inspectorate, is on a three-day official visit to the island.

Mrs. Lewis, in an interview with JIS News during the meeting, held at the BGLC head office on Hagley Park Road in Kingston, hailed Jamaica as a leader in the regulation of the gaming industry in the English-speaking Caribbean, noting that this is the reason it was important to seek discussions with the Jamaican stakeholders.

“This is going to help us to strengthen and modernize the legislation. We felt that coming to Jamaica gives us greater exposure of what another Caribbean country is doing and how they are executing their legislation, regulation, enforcement and licensing processes,” she said, adding that the Turks and Caicos Islands is undergoing a reform of its Gaming Inspectorate.

The Deputy Chief Gaming Inspector, Wayne Higgs, explained that the Turks and Caicos has been experiencing challenges with illegally-operated game houses and is seeking ways to eradicate the practice and have better governance of the industry.

“We know it’s going to be quite difficult, but it is something that we can get through. This meeting will help us in (determining) the way forward and to move in the right direction with our gaming laws and regulation,” he said.

Chairman of the BGLC, Gary Peart, said this visit by the Turks and Caicos Islands justifies the investments the Commission has made in trying to achieve international standards in the regulation of the gaming industry.

“We deliberately invested in our people going to the international markets to understand what happens in international jurisdictions. We have brought that back to Jamaica, so we have raised the level of compliance, registration (and) enforcement and we view this visit as a testament to the good work that we have done,” he said.

He argued that this heightened expertise of the BGLC staff also presents opportunities for the Commission to earn foreign exchange through outsourcing its services across the Caribbean, in helping other countries to formulate regulations.

The BGLC, last year, commenced hosting a Gaming Summit, which Mr. Peart has also credited for increasing the international awareness of Jamaica as one of the leaders in the sector. The Summit, which was initially focused on horseracing, is an annual event.

“So, as we increase enforcement and we talk about things like internet gaming and the different aspects of gaming, what we have found is that more information counts. At the summit, by speaking to our local and international stakeholders, we are getting closer to where the benchmark is internationally,” he said.

Chief Executive Officer of the Jamaica Casino Gaming Commission, Phillip Shelton, was also in attendance at the meeting to provide insight into how Jamaica’s casino gaming industry operates and is regulated.