by Linda Straker
The government has appointed a gaming commission whose duty is to regulate the growing gaming sector in accordance with the Gaming legislation, which was approved by both Houses of Parliament in May 2016.
Economic and Planning Affairs Minister Oliver Joseph made the announcement of the Gaming Commission during Tuesday’s weekly post cabinet briefing. This was the first for 2017.
“The sector is right now unregulated, and we will be bringing it under control,” he said, while disclosing that slot machines are set up all over the place in small shops, and children under the age of 18 are just allowed to play without restriction. The law restricts persons under the age of 18 from engaging in gaming activities.
“These one-armed bandits as they are called, can be found all over the place, but now we are putting the structures in place to control that sector. We must bring some order into this gaming sector,” he said.
The Gaming Commission Bill was approved in May 2016, and it outlines the establishment of a Commission to oversee the sector. Oliver disclosed that Assistant Commissioner of Police Franklin Redhead is the first Chairman. The other committee members are members of the Grenada Chamber of Industry and Commerce (GCIC), and other persons as outlined in the legislation.
Powers of the Commission include: receiving applications for licences; making recommendations to the Minister regarding the approval or refusal of applications for licences and conditions to be attached to licences; making recommendations to the Minister regarding the suspension, revocation or varying of licences, where appropriate and maintaining records surrounding the application for, granting of, suspension of, revocation of and varying of licences.
It will also monitor compliance of holders of licences with the licences and any conditions attached to the licences; conduct inspections of any part of premises, and machine and other thing on premises subject to the provisions of this Act; demand from holders of licences access to any written or electronic record in relation to the licences; confiscate any machine or part thereof or other thing on premises subject to the provisions of this Act and issue rules and guidelines for the regulation of gaming facilities.
The Commission shall maintain a register of licences containing such details of, and relating to each licence as the Commission thinks appropriate, and may make the register available for inspection by members of the public at reasonable times, upon payment of a fee specified by the Commission.
Joseph said that once a license is obtained and the place is functioning, the enterprise is liable to pay taxes. These taxes according to the legislation are: providing gaming machines other than gaming machines used for the purposes of e-gaming — 30% of gross receipts, or $250 in respect of each gaming machine, whichever is greater; Facilities for betting excluding pool betting — 30% of gross receipts; Facilities for pool betting — 30% of gross receipts; promoting a lottery by a person other than a non-commercial society or a local authority — 25% of gross receipts; promoting a lottery by a non-commercial society or a local authority — 15% of gross receipts; and members’ club providing facilities for gaming to its members — 15% of gross receipts.