The Gaming Authority, which is, by law, the Supervisory Authority for casinos and lotteries, has indicated that it has not given the Guyana Lottery Company (GLC) any permission to dispatch scores of Video Lottery Terminal (VLT) to bars across Guyana. In fact, the Gaming Authority said that it had “advised” the GLC not to operate the machines until such time that there are regulations and legislation to guide such operations.
Yesterday, the Gaming Authority sent out a press release which stated that it does not even have the authority to allow or approve the operation of gaming machines for any nightspot or bar.
The Authority noted that Canadian Bank Note, through its agent the Guyana Lottery Company, is operating in Guyana under an Agreement between the Government of Guyana, wherein the GLC has been authorized to operate a lottery in Guyana in accordance with the provision of the Lottery Act. Further, the Agreement has made provision for the right of the Guyana Lottery Company to operate Video Lottery Terminals (VLTs) in Guyana.
The release further noted that the Gaming Authority under the Anti Money Laundering Countering the Financing of Terrorism Act of 2009 and Amendment 2016 has been identified as the Supervisory Authority for casinos and lotteries.
The Gaming Authority said that pursuant to its designation as a Supervisory Authority, when GLC expressed intention to commence the operation of VLTs, it advised the company that it should await the enactment of legislation and formulation of regulations to guide the operations of said VLTs,”…however the Guyana Lottery Company presented these machines at certain night spots.”
Blue Martini has 25, Seeta’s Bar – 10 and Rocky’s Hotel – 25. These machines are loaded with games almost identical to those that are at the Princess Casino. The system to operate the machines is quite similar as well. One can insert from $100 up to play the machine, while, at the Casino the minimum is $500. If a gambler wins, and he or she chooses to cash out, the machine ejects a slip that has to be taken to the counter at the bars and gamblers are handed their winnings. This is the exact process at Princess Casino.
One distinct difference between the system at the casinos and those at the bars is that all gamblers must present a form of identification before entering the casino, as those below 18 are not allowed to enter the premises. However, that is not the same state of play at the bars.
Under the Amendments to and Regulations made under the Prevention of Gambling Act, casinos were legally permitted to be established in Guyana with regional allocations. A minimum of three casinos can be established in Region Four. However, to qualify for a license, an applicant must have a new 150-room hotel facility of four-star status. This requirement was intended to boost the tourism sector and to provide employment for Guyanese. This requirement, therefore, would have disqualified persons who do not have the financial ability to make the requisite substantial investments.
The permission now being granted for these mini-casinos to be proliferated at these night spots seems to be in conflict with the Prevention of Gambling Act and the Regulations.
Yesterday, Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan said that GLC’s contract ended last year. He said that prior to the APNU+AFC Government coming to power in 2015, “It appears as (the company) was being held on a string, they were given one-year contracts and not even one year renewable. It was one-year contracts and they did not know whether they would survive or not.”
Further, Jordan said that GLC also complained about unfair competition, referencing Super Bet games.
Jordan said that GLC then asked for a longer term contract.
“The old contract gave 24 percent of the proceeds plus any more taxes to be applied. So we said fine and gave five years with a renewable option. They said in return they will be able to put in a range of new games.”
He said that in return, the government will be given a minimum of 24 percent together with some “other sweeteners which I cannot remember at the moment.”
“As to whether the machines comply, I do not know, I have not seen the machines. I do not know what the machines look like or if the machines fall within the meaning of new lottery games. I can only give the straight facts of what transpired as to allow them to get the games.”
According to the New York Gambling Information Website, “VLTs resemble “casino” slot machines. The fundamental difference is that the results of each play on a VLT are determined by a central computer located at a Lottery facility to which all VLTs are connected. A predetermined random formula is used for each play of the machine.” More on this can be read at, http://newyorkgambling.info/slot-machines-vs-video-lottery-terminals-vlts-whats-difference/
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