The Gaming Authority has moved to ensure a new regulation for service providers taking into consideration the social impact associated with operating betting shops, lotteries and casinos in Guyana.
Addressing a stakeholder’s forum at Herdmanston Lodge, Queenstown yesterday, Chairman of the Gaming Authority, Roysdale Forde, expounded on the social and economic impact betting outlets and casinos can have on communities.
The Chairman asserted that while the gaming industry can generate growth for the country’s economy, the social impact, especially on depressed communities, can be detrimental.
Moreover, Forde stated that the addiction to gambling can be crippling to patrons and have a domino effect on their families and livelihood.
“So the social strain must not be underestimated, “he added.
Taking into account the impact, Forde told stakeholders that the authority has taken the lead role in ensuring the concept of responsible gaming is embraced. He said the authority wants to implement a new regulation as such.
According to Forde, the Gaming Authority in its licensing and supervisory capacity wants service providers to be more cognizant of both the positive and negative effects of gambling.
He said the authority wants to develop a comprehensive responsible gaming programme that addresses policies and procedures to deal with marketing, advertising, health and safety issues.
Forde said that the goal of such policies is to ensure that gambling outlets are operated at the highest standards for fair and safe gaming experiences which protect players from the adverse consequences of gambling such as addiction.
“The responsibility is to inform on all possible adverse effects of gaming and take steps to ensure measures are implemented to reduce, if not eliminate, these effects. This is a responsibility for the stakeholders – operators, customers and wider society as a whole.
So it is our responsibility to work together to ensure that the principles that we establish here minimize the possible harm and prevents irresponsible gaming.”
He stressed that responsible gaming is the only safe framework for Guyana’s betting operators taking into consideration the risks associated with the gambling.
“The aim is to have a holistic system and it is my hope that each of you attending today will take back to your organizations a better understanding of the role that you play; so the way forward is a multifaceted approach to bring awareness to our stakeholders, both the operators and the general public and to put in place measures based on agreed principles that will impact and ensure a safe, fair and responsible gaming experience for all.”
The Chairman said that responsible gaming is to be viewed in the same seriousness as the anti-money laundering and countering financial terrorism considerations.
“As a result, he said the concept of responsible gaming will eventually become entrenched in the licensing aspect of the industry.
Eventually, it will be rolled out and become part of your internal eligibility for continuation of your licenses and for the manner of presenting your service to the general public,” Forde told stakeholders at the forum yesterday.
He added, “Responsible gaming is the only choice for our country and we have no choice but to implement policies to minimize the possible harm.”
Meanwhile, Government’s spokesman and Director General of the Ministry of the Presidency, Joseph Harmon, noted that the Government through all relevant agencies will support the efforts of the gaming authority to ensure that through the establishment of responsible policies, the gaming industry will have a more positive than negative impact on the nation.
“Our Government recognises that gaming is a form of entertainment in our society and it should be permitted. However, we are committed to instituting all the necessary measures to ensure that responsible measures pervade our gaming landscape and form the basis of our gaming culture,” Harmon said.
He continued that “It cannot escape notice that some of these operations are in some of the specially challenged communities of our country and therefore, the urge to place monies on betting other than the other issues which will affect us as citizens and as families… will have some negative impacts… so I trust that the Gaming Authority pays very careful attention to this development that is taking place,” he said, before noting that given the fast-paced movement of Guyana’s economy, the Government anticipates that there is going to be pressure on the Gaming Authority for licenses to open up more gaming establishments.
Harmon said that the new approach will set the equilibrium of scale given that the gaming industry already makes a notable contribution to the economy.
“So, we are thankful that the Guyana Gaming Authority recognizes the importance of responsible gaming,” Harmon added.
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