KINGSTON, Jamaica, October 19, 2016 – The Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission (BGLC) is reporting a 90 per cent conviction rate for persons found to be involved in illegal gambling. BGLC Director of Licensing and Registration and Acting Director of Enforcement, Maurice Thompson, said there were 15 arrests in 2014/15; 15 arrests in 2015/16; and three arrests since the start of the year. He said the BGLC hopes to increase the number of convictions through joint collaboration with Crime Stop.
Mr. Thompson, who was addressing a recent JIS Think Tank, noted that illegal gaming, which is accepting wagers without a licence, contributes to organised crime and can attract substantial fines. He outlined that persons could be charged up to $500,000 for possession of illegal gambling paraphernalia, conducting illegal gambling, or using a premises to conduct such activities.
He further noted that persons who purchase from illegal gambling establishments could be fined up to $200,000. Mr. Thompson said that all legal gambling establishments must have a fixed address and tickets issued must be printed from an electronic machine. “Many persons have reported seeing people walking around and writing bets and giving tickets, with operators even offering a higher rate for the winnings; all those things are illegal,” he pointed out.
He told JIS News that slot machines found in bars and other establishments should be licensed by the BGLC, noting that the licence should be displayed at the premises. In addition, persons under age 18 should not be using these machines, as this could result in the operator losing his/her licence. Mr. Thompson reminded parents that it is also illegal to send children to purchase tickets from gaming establishments.