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The Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission (BGLC) of Jamaica has launched a public consultation process to gather feedback on new advertising and marketing guidelines for gambling-related products. This initiative aims to create a more transparent and inclusive environment in policy-making for this sector.
The public can share their opinions through an online survey, available until December 1, 2023, on the following website. In addition, an in-person session will be held at the Terra Nova All Suite Hotel in Kingston, providing a space for different stakeholder groups to discuss the proposed guidelines.
Wendy Robertson, Corporate Affairs and Communication Manager at the BGLC, encouraged active public participation, emphasizing the ease of accessing the electronic survey through the commission’s website. “We aim to establish guidelines that strike a balance between promoting responsible gambling and preventing the potential adverse effects of gambling-related advertising,” she said.
The initiative follows significant legislative steps in Jamaica’s gambling sector, including debates on the legalization and regulation of online gaming, highlighted at the Caribbean Gaming Show and Summit in 2017. The Jamaican government seeks to align technological advancements with robust measures to prevent illicit activities and ensure compliance with regulatory standards.
In 2021, the discussion on amendments to the Casino Gaming Act focused on economic growth through significant investments in the sector.
Robertson also noted an increase in gambling advertising since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, emphasizing the importance of implementing adequate safeguards. “Part of the BGLC’s mandate is to protect consumers from gambling harm and financial exploitation, particularly among the vulnerable population, and we have to ensure that guidelines are put in place or stipulated to help prevent the forms of communication that may drive gambling harm,” she explained.
The responses obtained in the public consultation will be analyzed in detail, with the publication of participants’ names on the BGLC website, as part of the transparency and public accountability process.
The Corporate Affairs and Communication Manager of the BGLC also highlighted that the commission recognizes, based on studies conducted by gambling regulatory authorities globally, the existence of a clear correlation between marketing and advertising strategies and the potential risks they pose to consumers.
“The Commission also recognizes that the type and level of risk will vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction so rules and controls applied need to be proportionate and relevant to the gambling market in Jamaica,” she noted.