Guiana Holding Inc., the company which operates SuperBet, (Guyana) has taken the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) and the Guyana Gaming Authority, (GGA) to Court over their refusal to issue them a licence to operate.
In its application, SuperBet is asking the Court to grant an Order quashing the decision of the GRA, requiring that the company submits a certificate of good standing, as a condition precedent to the issuance of a Betting Shop Licence under the provisions of the Tax Act, Chapter 80:01.
SuperBet has asked the Court to consider that the decision is ultra vires, capricious, whimsical, arbitrary, unlawful, illegal, and influenced by irrelevant considerations, in breach of its legitimate expectation, null, void and of no effect.
Secondly, the company wants an order directed to GRA compelling the tax company to process, in accordance with law, the application for Betting Shop Licences for the years 2018 and 2019.
Further, SuperBet has approached the Court for an Order directed to the GGA quashing the decision to impose a requirement of a good standing certificate as a condition precedent to the applicant obtaining a Betting Shop Licence under the provisions of the Tax Act, Chapter 80:01.
Additionally, the betting shop wants an order directed to the GGA quashing the decision to refuse to issue to SuperBet, a good standing certificate on the grounds that the said decision is ultra vires, capricious and influenced by irrelevant considerations.
The principals of Superset also asked for an injunction restraining the respondents,(GRA and GGA) jointly and/or severally, by themselves, their servants and/or agents from interfering with or interrupting their business operations, howsoever or whatsoever, until the hearing and determination of these proceedings.
In his affidavit to support his claims, Shrikant Kisoensingh, General Manager of Guiana Holding Inc., noted that he engaged in the business of sports betting under the name and style of “Superbet” and has operated in Guyana since 2012.
Over the past seven years, he said that SuperBet has established 170 locations countrywide, across eight administrative regions, run and managed by agents all of whom employ several persons at their individual operations, and they all depend upon the operations.
At present, the applicant said that 70 staff is employed on a full-time basis at its operations headquartered at 72 Barrack Street, Kingston, Georgetown, Guyana.
From the commencement of its operation, Kisoensingh claimed that his operations are above board in keeping with all the necessary tax and gaming laws.
For the years 2012, -2015, he contended that the relevant fee was $2,000,000 annually; for the years 2016 and 2017, the annual fee increased to $3,000,000.
According to the document in support of his legal contention, the applicant noted that the GRA belatedly added a certificate of good standing as a requirement for granting the licence.
Kisoensingh further noted threats by the GGA to suspend the operations due to the lack of a certificate of good standing is unfounded and without legal merit.
In his response thereto, the applicant contended that their operations did not fall under the purview and ambit of the Gambling Prevention Act, and therefore GGA did not have jurisdiction and authority to direct the Applicant to suspend their operations.
Additionally, in the Court document, SuperBet noted GGA required that the company undergoes an audit at the cost to some US$100,000— a bill which they should foot.
However, according to the application, the Gaming Authority will select the company to conduct the audit.
The audit company, Spectrum Gaming Group, is in conjunction with Compliance Aid BSA Anti -Money Laundering (AML) Services LLC– a Miami-based Anti-Money Laundering & Counter-Terrorism Financing Education, and Resources & Advisory Services firm.
The company was told that an AML/CFT audit was required for them to be issued a certificate of good standing.
SuperBet had filed other actions to challenge the decision to refuse to issue them a licence to operate.
Attorney at Law, Anil Nandlall, who is representing the company, is adamant that no place in the law states that a certificate of good standing is a requirement for the granting of a gaming licence.
“The hierarchical struggle has imposed that as an administrative requirement.”
The application which listed Commissioner General of GRA and Chief Executive Officer of the Gaming Authority as respondents is set to come for hearing before Justice Jo Ann Barlow at the High Court on August 9 at 9:45 am
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