Executive Director of the Betting Gaming and Lotteries Commission, BGLC, Vitus Evans is describing as false, claims the commission is fast-tracking any licence application.
Mr. Evans in a media release yesterday also declared as false a suggestion that financial investments made by applicants indicate any intention on the part of the BGLC to issue a licence.
His response follows a recent letter sent to him by the Gaming Association.
The Gaming Association had told Mr. Evans that recent media reports have linked the BGLC to an expedited effort to issue a lottery licence to a new entity.
The Association also said it was concerned by media reports that Mahoe Gaming had stated that their service provider already spent in excess of US 3 million dollars without them being granted a licence.
But, Mr. Evans says this report is untrue given the many requirements and costs that are incurred when submitting an application for consideration, in addition to the time and effort required for the review of the licence application.
The BGLC Executive Director also addressed the issue of competition and Government Tax Revenues in Jamaica’s gambling industry.
The Gaming Association in its letter had stated that as Gaming Lounge operators, they’re mindful of the negative effects changes in the Lottery model may have on their businesses.
According to the Association, the pending competition is expected to see increased payouts by competing lottery operators.
They say this would have a negative impact on lounges, as well as, revenues to the government.
The Association says it’s also concerned that high payouts from numbers games may also attract money launderers.
But, Mr. Evans says competition in Jamaica’s gambling industry preserves consumers’ right to choice as the country operates a free-market economy with competition in every sector.
He says the Jamaican consumer has benefited from a competitive market by having more choices, access to innovative products and services and competitive prices.
Mr. Evans says the gambling industry should be no exception.
He says the Commission intends that its decisions should not compromise or disadvantage consumers’ right to choose with whom they do business.
With regard to Government Tax Revenues, he says the gambling industry now generates over 8 billion dollars in tax revenues for the government.
He says tax revenues have been on a consistent growth trajectory and the historic trends suggests this will continue.
However, Mr. Evans says, currently, 90 per cent of tax revenue comes from a single source, which poses a significant risk to the government.
He says the BGLC wants to assure Jamaicans that all its deliberations and actions are guided by its mission to enable a viable and reputable gaming industry by balancing the interests of providers, consumers, the general public and the government.
A representative of Supreme Ventures currently has a suit before the Court which seeks to have the BGLC mandated to carry out an independent study of the potential impact the issuance of another lottery licence may have on the sector.
The Supreme Court recently struck out an application from Mahoe Gaming to formally be included as a party to the suit.
Meanwhile, Mr. Evans says the processes to regulate the lottery sector have already been the subject of a comprehensive independent review.
The Gaming Association had called on the Commission to immediately carry out an independent and transparent study of Jamaica’s gaming and lottery industry.
According to the Gaming Association, the study should be done with a view to determining international best practices that are applicable to the local industry and the regulation of the sector
But, Mr. Evans says a review was conducted by Attorney-at-law, Dr. Derrick McKoy, a former Contractor General.
He says that assessment confirmed that the practices of the BGLC are in keeping with the Public Sector Corporate Governance Framework and international gaming regulation standards.