23 arrested for illegal gambling, BGLC reports
Chairman of the BGLC Gary Peart (File photo)

KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) – The Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission (BGLC) is reporting that there have been 23 arrests for illegal gambling and related crimes, since it signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Organised Crime Investigation Division (OCID) of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) more than a year ago.

The Commission has also noted that there have been seven convictions during that period.

Chairman of the BGLC, Gary Peart, said as a result of the MoU, signed in October 2014, the two entities have been able to be more incisive in their investigations and the gathering of intelligence.

Peart was speaking in an interview with JIS News on January 22, during a consultation meeting with government officials from the Turks and Caicos Islands, to aid that country in the formulation of its gaming legislation and regulations.

Under the MoU, OCID provides the BGLC with additional personnel as well as investigative, surveillance, technical and specialist support to help in the prosecution of crimes detected under the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Act.

Peart said the BGLC has also been able to provide the police with additional equipment to further boost its capacity to carry out raids and do investigations.

“Since then, we have seen an increase in the number of convictions and the types of people we are catching now. It has increased significantly. The reality is that we have gotten much better at it,” he added.

He announced that within the next three months, the BGLC will be launching a hotline where the public can call in with information about illegal gaming, which will result in faster response times.

“What this collaboration does is that once that information comes in, we can pull together operations much quicker to try and get out there. We believe for this year, we will see more activity from the enforcement team, because once people realise that there will be sanctions, that's the only way you can combat this,” the chairman said.

An estimated $10 billion in industry revenue is lost annually due to the proliferation of illegal gambling and related activities, with probable links to the illegal weapons trade and money laundering.

The Betting, Gaming & Lotteries Commission is a statutory body of the Ministry of Finance and Planning, established in 1975 under the provisions of the Betting, Gaming & Lotteries Act 1965 (Amended 2010), to regulate and control the conduct of betting, gaming and lotteries in Jamaica.

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