Gaming licences to be renewed by April 1

Owners and operators of gaming machines and prescribed premises are being reminded by the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission (BGLC) to renew their licences by April 1, 2021.

Application forms are available on the BGLC website at www.bglc.gov.jm. Fees must first be paid to Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ), then to BGLC via Bill Express, online or any of their 200 locations islandwide, or by direct deposit to BGLC’s Scotiabank account.

Under Section 44 of the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Act, operators of locally manufactured machines are required to pay to TAJ a levy of $5,000, and to the BGLC $5,000 for licensing and disc fees for each machine. Operators of prescribed premises are required to pay $2,500 for each premise to the TAJ and $1,000 for each to the BGLC.

Director of Licensing and Registration at BGLC, Maurice Thompson, told the Government’s news agency, the Jamaica Information Service, that in order to operate legally within the gaming industry, all machines must be licensed.

He said that 14,000 gaming machines, located in bars, restaurants, clubs and gaming lounges across the island, were licensed last year.

“The primary benefit of being licensed to operate a gaming machine or prescribed premise is that the operator will have an authorised business earning a legitimate income and will be better positioned to grow the business,” said Thompson.

He further explained that if licences are not renewed promptly or if operators fail to renew at all, they run the risk of having their machines being identified as “unlicensed”, which could lead to strict actions, including criminal prosecution and seizure of machines.

Late payment of fees also attracts penalties of up to 60 per cent per machine.

“Ensuring that operators of gambling establishments are licensed is part of the BGLC’s mission to enable Jamaica’s gaming industry to operate in a structured and disciplined manner and is crime free. Through licensing, consumers who participate in gambling will be confident that gaming is conducted fairly and that vulnerable citizens are protected,” Thompson pointed out.

Completed application forms, whether for renewal or first-time application, should be submitted with copies of payment receipts to the BGLC via e-mail to licensing@bglc.gov.jm, WhatsApp to 876 224 2452 or via the drop box provided at the BGLC Office at 78 Hagley Park Road, Kingston 10.

The BGLC is the statutory body that licenses, regulates and monitors the local gaming industry, facilitates its growth and development and protects the public from unfair, unscrupulous and illegal activities.

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