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  • Jamaica’s state-run gaming industry regulatory authorities are to be merged into one governing body.
  • Finance and the Public Service Minister, Hon. Audley Shaw, who has portfolio responsibility for the industry, says the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission (BGLC) and Jamaica Racing Commission (JRC) will be combined to form the new Gaming Commission.
  • The Minister indicated that the new entity will be the Government’s main advisory body on gaming and will be given the resources and authority to regulate the industry.

Jamaica’s state-run gaming industry regulatory authorities are to be merged into one governing body.

Finance and the Public Service Minister, Hon. Audley Shaw, who has portfolio responsibility for the industry, says the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission (BGLC) and Jamaica Racing Commission (JRC) will be combined to form the new Gaming Commission.

He said consideration will be given to incorporating the Casino Gaming Commission (CGC) into the merger.

Mr. Shaw was speaking at BGLC’s third annual Gaming Industry Summit at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston, on Thursday, September 22.

The Minister indicated that the new entity will be the Government’s main advisory body on gaming and will be given the resources and authority to regulate the industry.

This, he outlined, will be undertaken through the issuance of operating 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.

Mr. Shaw advised that the Ministry has commenced work to facilitate the merger.

This, he said, includes preparing legislative amendments, specifically in relation to the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Act and Jamaica Racing Commission Act.

This engagement, the Minister added, is being spearheaded by a special committee comprising representatives of the regulators, among other stakeholders.

Mr. Shaw indicated that the amendments are expected to “modernise and broaden” the scope of the legislation, “to make it more relevant and consistent with industry developments”.

Additionally, Mr, Shaw said a new merger committee will be established to work with the Ministry’s internal review team “to fast-track the merger to an early conclusion”.

He further advised that the Ministry is contemplating making a submission to Cabinet on the feasibility of incorporating the Casino Gaming Commission into the merger “as part of the overall plan for public-sector transformation”.

The Minister underscored the importance of undertaking the merger, “given the global proliferation of Internet and mobile gaming and their various offshoots”.

These, he outlined, include virtual and fantasy betting, e-sport, sports betting as well as the development of “new variations of gaming products”.

“The proposed Harmonized Act, as well as a paper outlining the scope, issues and opportunities related to these gaming activities, is expected from the Boards of the Jamaica Racing Commission and Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission,” the Minister added.

While acknowledging that the Gaming Commission was not unique to Jamaica and is used in North America, Europe and Australia, Mr. Shaw contended that its establishment locally was long overdue.

The BGLC gaming summit, which was attended by a wide cross section of industry stakeholders, was held under the theme ‘Facing the Challenges. Navigating the Future’.