The trouble pick?

The trouble pick?

BY Tami Zacca

Monday, August 10, 2020

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I read with great interest a Jamaica Observer story carried on Tuesday, August 4, 2020, titled 'Trouble pick' and I must say that, indeed, as a country, it seems we are about to put our foot in 'it'.

I'm incredibly concerned that there isn't greater uproar and calls for transparency in a situation like this. We are being warned about the flames, but in true Jamaican fashion, we are unable to see through the smoke.

Mahoe Gaming is the newest entrant to the local betting and gaming scene, interrupting a monopoly held by Supreme Ventures Limited, who had basically ruled the industry since its inception in 2001.

The timing, in and of itself, is questionable, to say the least, but an even bigger concern is why. The population has not expanded widely to now require two lotteries, nor have we seen a large uptick in gamblers and gaming. Why does it then feel as though Mahoe has been rushed through the process and now security concerns loom?

The US Ambassador to Jamaica Donald Tapia has been more than vocal in a way I hoped would inspire Jamaicans to become more inquisitive about what is happening in our own front and backyards. Mahoe's back-end support is to be provided by Chinese gaming firm Genlot, and while I am in no way spewing anti-East rhetoric, I do hope that the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission (BGLC) will be thorough, that Mahoe will be truthful and fair, and that good sense will prevail. There is far too much at stake.

I, like the ambassador, am concerned about the incredible doorway this will open and the havoc it could wreak if the impending loophole is left unmanned. We cannot be slight in matters such as this. The security of Jamaicans and those who chose to do business with us must be of paramount concern.

As the licence has already been granted, we await the findings of the BGLC's due diligence. May it bring us truth and transparency. We must not be bamboozled into something that could cost us more than the lottery jackpot when all is said and done.

As Jamaicans, we say “Tek sleep mark death!” The US has given us their position, what is ours? After all, “trouble nuh set like rain”.

I hope in the end this gamble isn't the wrong pick.

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