by Linda Straker
All promoters, including churches and schools that engage in games of chance promotional activities, are now required to obtain a licence for such activity from the Gaming Commission.
Deputy Commissioner of Police Franklyn Redhead, presently serving as Chairman of the Gaming Commission, explained that the gaming legislation mandates that all persons or corporate bodies whose activities fall within the definition of ‘game of chance’ to acquire the licence in advance of promoting the activity.
“This is all part of regulating the sector. This sector was very much unregulated, and things do happen; so as part of the regulating the sector all those who are having game of chance activities must obtain permission. So, whether it’s a raffle in a school or church for a small token or a big corporate activity, the licence is required,” he said.
Redhead said that churches, schools and some other non-commercial entities might have the licence fee waived, at the instruction of the minister. “These organisations will have to do the application, and once that is done, then the minister will make a determination as to whether the licence fee is waived or not,” he said, explaining that the application fee is EC$50. Under the law, the gaming commission falls under the Ministry of Finance.
The gaming legislation which was approved in the both the Houses of Parliament in May 2016 says that a ‘game of chance’ includes—
- a game that involves both an element of chance and an element of skill;
- a game that involves an element of chance that can be eliminated by superlative skill; and
- a game that is presented as involving an element of chance, whether or not there are other participants in the game and whether or not a computer generates images or data taken to represent the actions of other participants in the game, but excludes a sport;
The word ‘gaming’ means playing any game of chance for a prize, and includes:
- every form of gaming using a gaming machine;
- betting; or
- participating in a lottery;
Section 12 of the legislation says that a licence shall be in the prescribed form and shall specify: the person to whom it is granted, and a home or business address of the person; the period during which it is to have effect; the premises to which it relates and the activities for which it authorises the premises to be used, if any; and any condition attached by the minister.
“Every holder of a licence shall prominently display the licence in a conspicuous place on the premises for which the licence is granted,” the legislation advises.
A person who provides facilities for gaming or betting commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for 12 months or a fine of $100,000 or both. Redhead said that the cost of the licence varies between EC$250 and EC$1,000.