Cool Playings: Jamaica Finally Looks Set to Regulate

Published June 23, 2017 by Lee R

Cool Playings: Jamaica Finally Looks Set to Regulate

Many revenue streams are on the table for a regulated market in Jamaica.

The Caribbean Gaming Show and Summit brought the sunny news that Jamaica is looking to regulate online gambling. 

Shaw States Intention

Jamaican Minister of Finance and Public Service Hon. Audley Shaw put online regulation on the fast track fast-track to capitalize on technological advancement and iGaming sector growth by prioritising the island nation’s goal as a “well-monitored” iGaming environment.

New Regulatory Body

Online gambling legislation is hoped by officials to be approved in time for the scheduled merger of the country’s three gambling regulators: the Betting Gaming and Lotteries Commission (BGLC), the Jamaica Racing Commission, and the Casino Gaming Commission.

Enhanced Monitoring

With integration of the three independent bodies expected to complete by the end of the year, the move is designed to drastically increase the monitoring abilities of Jamaican regulators in a currently rampant illicit marketplace.

Summit Encounter

Attendees to the 7th Caribbean Gaming Show & Summit held last week at the Montego Bay Convention Center got to hear first-hand from Minister Shaw attendees how the BGLC will establish the new framework opening application for gaming and betting operator licenses in Jamaica.

Harnessing the Benefits

The Finance Minister emphasised the fact that the provision of licenses will add much-needed revenues to the island nation, stating that the regulation movement would position his country to “take advantage of the emerging product offerings that now characterize the global landscape, such as internet and mobile gaming, which includes virtual and fantasy betting.”

Implementing Preventative Protections

Minister Shaw added that the government has already started working with banks to address the issue online gambling being used as a medium for money laundering and other illicit activity.

Current Climate

This level of progress is a real breakthrough for iGaming in Jamaica, and the Caribbean region, with previous discussion habitually stalled. The most recent significant talks took place in 2014, when the Ministry of Finance acknowledged discussing regulation before talks dissolved.   

IR in the Wings

Long known as a beach paradise, Jamaica began expanding its casino industry in 2014 with the introduction of the integrated resort experience, with work on the first two approved at the time.  However, at this juncture, the original dates of construction scheduled for mid-2016 have been delayed for a year. Shaw’s announcement should surely contribute to completion of the first IR projects as well.

Sunny Outlook

The move to shift illicit gambling activity to a regulated environment should benefit the government and Jamaican society equally, as long as the system is effective, comprehensive, and rigorous with sufficient transparency and accountability to all. 

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