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Story Highlights

  • Debate began on two Bills in the House of Representatives on November 9, to establish a regulatory framework that will attract and support investment in Jamaica’s horse-racing industry and facilitate the development of Caymanas Track into a modern world-class racing complex.
  • The Bills – Betting, Gaming and Lotteries (Amendment) Act and the Jamaica Racing Commission (Amendment) Act – were piloted by Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw.
  • The Minister noted that one of the main policy objectives these amendments seek to achieve, is to provide the legislative support for the grant of geographic exclusivity with respect to the Racing Promoter’s licences.

Debate began on two Bills in the House of Representatives on November 9, to establish a regulatory framework that will attract and support investment in Jamaica’s horse-racing industry and facilitate the development of Caymanas Track into a modern world-class racing complex.

The Bills – Betting, Gaming and Lotteries (Amendment) Act and the Jamaica Racing Commission (Amendment) Act – were piloted by Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw.

Mr. Shaw said Caymanas Track Limited, being the sole promoter of horse racing in Jamaica, has over the years been affected by inadequate funding to invest in improving its infrastructure and facilities for better revenue generation.

He noted that as a result of the recognition of the need to modernise and transform the horse-racing industry in Jamaica, the decision was taken to privatise the entity.

“The process of divestment is far advanced, as the negotiated terms of the divestment transaction have been approved by the Government. The passing of these two pieces of legislation, the provision of which would enhance the process, is necessary,” Mr. Shaw said.

The Minister noted that one of the main policy objectives these amendments seek to achieve, is to provide the legislative support for the grant of geographic exclusivity with respect to the Racing Promoter’s licences.

Mr. Shaw explained that the issue of an investor being provided an exclusive licence is not unusual in a divestment, as investors will want to be assured that they can recoup their investments.

“Among the terms of the divestment transaction is the long-term lease of 30 years of Caymanas Park. The Government, subject to these legislative changes, also gave approval for all-island exclusivity to be granted to the Preferred Bidder for a period of 15years.

Any further period of exclusivity will be determined by the Government of the day,” Mr. Shaw said.

He added that the Bills, as drafted, would facilitate all-island exclusivity, as the legislations allow for the terms and conditions of the grant of the licences, such as duration and area covered, to be specified in the licences.

The Minister further said it is important to note that the licences to be issued by the Betting Gaming and Lotteries Commission and the Jamaica Racing Commission would be subject to periodic reviews by the Regulator.

In terms of the Betting Gaming and Lotteries (Amendment) Act, it enables the Regulator – the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission – to grant to any promoter, a licence to carry out track betting in prescribed geographic areas.

For the Jamaica Racing Commission (Amendment) Bill, it proposes to give the Minister the power to grant a licence to operate a racecourse in respect of exclusive geographic areas.

“The passage of these Bills is imperative as the final terms have been negotiated for the long-term lease of Caymanas Park in St. Catherine and the sale of all personal property owned by Caymanas Track Limited to Supreme Ventures Limited, the Preferred Bidder,” Mr. Shaw said.