Tuesday June 3,2014 : LEGISLATIVE AMENDMENTS OPEN THE WAY FOR ONLINE GAMBLING IN JAMAICA
"Internet gaming is happening right now in Jamaica. Therefore, it is time that we make that progression to this methodology of gaming, as Jamaicans are already well-equipped with the devices to facilitate this.”
Jamaica has moved quickly on amendments to its gambling laws which open the door to internet gambling, according to reports in the Jamaica Observer newspaper.
The report quotes Ministry of Finance and Planning representative Horace Dalley, who told the publication: "Internet gaming is happening right now in Jamaica. Therefore, it is time that we make that progression to this methodology of gaming, as Jamaicans are already well-equipped with the devices to facilitate this.”
Gambling in general is proving to be one of the mainstays of the local economy; the Ministry of Finance and Planning says that over the past three years the industry has recorded significant increases in government taxes and revenue, from $3.8 billion for the 2012/13 fiscal year to $4.5 billion in 2013/14.
The government earned $2.9 billion from the thriving industry for the period 2011/12.
Speaking at the opening of the 2014 Gaming Industry Summit, held at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston, late last week, Dalley pointed out that while revenue from the sector is significant, there is still scope for growth and expansion, which would undoubtedly contribute to a stronger economy and the creation of more jobs.
The Jamaican government has planned the introduction of telephone and text betting to expand sports betting in time for next month’s football World Cup.
Dalley discussed the recent amendments to the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Act which have been approved by parliament, noting that legal Internet gaming is a multimillion-dollar industry worldwide, with studies showing that Internet placed bets will reach $100 billion in 2017.
He said that government intends to stamp out illegal and unlicensed online gambling by regulating and bringing order to Internet gaming in Jamaica over the next year.
The amendments to the betting laws also make provision for sterner action against illegal operators, including those in the lottery sector, and would impose stringent probity and other requirements on applicant operators.
“The Government cannot sit idly by and allow the multibillion-dollar leakage through the illegal sales of lottery tickets, sports bets, and Internet gaming to continue," Dalley said, pointing out that the illegal lottery industry is worth some $10 billion worldwide, while unregulated Internet gaming generates more than $250 million in bets annually.