Senate Approves Gaming Bills


The Senate yesterday (March 19), passed the Casino Gaming Act and the amended Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Act.
The Casino Gaming Act seeks to establish a Casino Gaming Commission, which will regulate the conduct of casino gaming, and have powers to grant licences to operators within an approved integrated resort development.
The body will also have authority to grant personal licences to specific individuals identified by the Commission as occupying management positions or carrying out operational functions in a casino, once they have met certain criteria of fitness and propriety of character. The Commission is also empowered to ensure that casino gaming is conducted legally, fairly, and in a way which protects minors and the vulnerable.
In her presentation, Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Senator Dorothy Lightbourne, explained the need for an entity separate from the Betting Gaming and Lotteries Commission, to oversee casino gaming.
“Studies of activities worldwide have revealed that the scale and nature of casino gaming is vast, complex and can be subject to criminal influence.Government thought it very important that given the principle of promotion of family vacationing in a resort, it was necessary for a separate body, dedicated to the control, regulation, and monitoring of the activities,” she outlined.
Senator Lightbourne assured that the administrative cost of the commission would not be a burden to taxpayers, as fees and other charges will be set at rates that will be adequate for its operation.
She further emphasised that “the decision to introduce casino gaming was driven by the desire to diversify and expand the tourism product.”
She said the international trend in resort development, allows for a mix of various tourism amenities and facilities in the same complex. “This mix allows for family entertainment and the anticipation is that it will help to increase arrivals significantly over time,” she noted.
Meanwhile, the amendments to the Betting Gaming and Lotteries Act will help to bolster the betting and gaming industry by enabling licencees to respond effectively to technological and consumer-driven developments.
“These changes to the Act will enhance the contribution of gaming to the economy but at all times protect the public’s interest,” Senator Lightbourne said.
Stressing the importance of modernising the legislation, she noted that the impact of globalisation has highlighted the need to take into consideration, non-traditional forms of betting and gaming, such as Internet (online) and telephone betting, and the specific introduction of sports betting.
“Its introduction is aimed at legalising a popular and lucrative aspect of gaming,” Senator Lightbourne told the Upper House.

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