Former BGLC head says no deadline can be set for due diligence

Former BGLC head says no deadline can be set for due diligence

Sunday, November 22, 2020

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FORMER executive director of the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission (BGLC) Andral “Jack” Shirley says that no one can accurately predict how soon a due diligence exercise being conducted by external agencies to determine the suitability of a service provider will be completed.

Current executive director of the BGLC Vitus Evans had told the media in mid-October that a due diligence exercise being done on new entrant to the lottery business, Mahoe Gaming, would have been completed by end of October, which would determine the suitability of Chinese firm Genlot as the service provider.

Two United States firms — Gaming Labs Limited and Spectrum International — were contracted to do the due diligence, which represents a second phase of vetting, following the individual due diligence already done on every partner involved with Mahoe Gaming, as is required by the BGLC.

But retired banker Shirley, who was day-to-day head of the BGLC from 2013 to 2016, said that there was no deadline on a due diligence exercise, and as far as he knew, the exercise could be dragged out indefinitely, as those doing the work had to go deep with their investigations and checks.

“Each member has to go through a due diligence exercise and every member has to satisfy a multi-jurisdictional due diligence procedure. Each individual must be cleared before a software supplier is investigated,” Shirley confirmed about the initial due diligence exercise.

“No one has any idea of when a due diligence on a service provider can be completed, and something like that can take several months, from the date of submission, to be completed,” Shirley stated.

Until the vetting of the service provider is satisfactorily completed, Shirley said, no games can be started.

The matter of a service provider took on international significance in recent weeks, when US Ambassador to Jamaica Donald Tapia expressed concern about Mahoe Gaming's choice of Genlot as its service provider. The US and China are currently locked in a trade dispute.

Local members of the gaming and lottery fraternity have expressed surprise that Mahoe was granted a licence to operate another lottery licence and is now going through a process of due diligence, when another entity, Goodwill Gaming, was granted a gaming licence in 2011, but has still not been able to get the green light to operate.

The main lottery and gaming player in Jamaica is Supreme Ventures Limited, which is also into the horse racing business at Caymanas Park – Jamaica's lone racetrack.

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