Phillips says Jamaica will have to trust Casino Gaming Commission

Phillips says Jamaica will have to trust Casino Gaming Commission

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

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MINISTER of Finance and Planning Dr Peter Phillips says the country will have to trust the Casino Gaming Commission to secure all the investigative resources under the Casino Gaming Act.

"Regulations cannot be so designed to take account of every conceivable permutation that may arise. We have to be willing to charge the commission with the authority to take decisions," Phillips said yesterday as he closed the debate on the regulations to the Act, which were passed in the House of Representatives.

The regulations included a US$500,000 initial annual licence fee, which Opposition Member of Parliament Edmund Bartlett suggested should be increased to US$1 million, and granted only after proper due diligence to ensure against "cavalier and interesting individuals" who are very smart in terms of the financial arrangements that they make.

Bartlett warned that some of these people are very skilled in covering their tracks to lure unsuspecting countries like Jamaica into believing that they have access to the necessary resources, "when in fact what they want to do is to use the temporary licences as a means of going to the market to begin to generate capital".

"We have to trust someone; it makes no sense for this Parliament to buy a dog and to bark, as well. And we need to trust the competence and the integrity of the commission which will be appointed by administrations from time to time drawn from both sides of the House," Phillips responded.

The Casino Gaming (Applications Relating to Licences) Regulations 2015 will provide the framework within which applications may be made to the Casino Gaming Commission for the granting of licences to casino operators and personal licences to prospective employees holding specified offices.

This is necessary because under the Act a person is prohibited from operating a casino and employment is restricted within the casino, except in accordance with a casino gaming licence.

-- Balford Henry

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