The New Today

Letters

Investigate Lottery Authority

We are writing with the expressed purpose of gaining the attention of the rightful body with the jurisdiction to investigate the National Lotteries Authority and are asking them to please carry out an investigation of their day-to-day gaming activities.

Based on our inquiry it appears that the Gaming Commission which was appointed in 2017 should be that authority, however with no contact information, telephone number, office address etc, it is difficult to be certain.

In a January 2017 article, then Minister of Economic and Planning Affairs, Hon. Oliver Joseph stated that “The sector was unregulated and that we must bring some order to the gaming sector.”

The duty of the ‘Commission was to regulate the growing gaming sector in accordance with the gaming legislation which was approved in 2016.

The powers of this Commission included receiving applications for licenses and monitoring compliance of holders of licenses as well as advising the Minister on suspending or revoking licenses if holders were not in compliance.

One notable duty of the Commission stated clearly in the Gaming Act was: In determining the suitability of someone to hold a gaming license the Commission shall have regard to the integrity of the applicant or of any person intended to exercise a function in connection with or is interested in the activities authorised by a license.

The Act also makes provisions for cheating, in the Act it says:

(1) A person commits an offence if he or she–

(a) cheats at gaming; or

(b) does anything for the purpose of enabling or assisting another person to cheat at gaming.

(2) For the purposes of subsection (1), “cheat” means to alter the selection of criteria which determine the result of gaming or the amount or frequency of payment of a prize in gaming, and it is immaterial whether a person who cheats–

(a) improves his or her chances of winning anything; or

(b) wins anything.

(3) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection

(1), cheating at gaming may consist of actual or attempted deception or interference in connection with –

(a) the process by which gaming is conducted;

or

(b) a real or virtual game, race or other event or process to which gaming relates.

728 Act 21 Gaming 2016

(4) For the purposes of subsection (3) (b), a game, race or other event is virtual if it constitutes–

(a) images generated by computer so as to resemble all or part of a game, race or other event or process of a kind that is played by or involves actual people, animals or things;

(b) images generated by computer so as to represent an imaginary game, race or other event or process; or

(c) any game, race or other event or process the result of which is determined by computer, and a game, race or other event is real if the game, race or other event is not virtual.

(5) A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable–

(a) on summary conviction, to imprisonment for six months or a fine of fifty thousand dollars or both; or

(b) on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for two years or a fine of one hundred and fifty thousand dollars or both.

We say all of this to say we are not certain if the Gaming Commission is the body to carry out an investigation into the NLA but based on their functions specified in the Gaming Act it appears that they would be , regardless, people are clamouring not only for them to be investigated but completely shut down if need be for their continued blatant robbery, their continued refusal to post videos of each of their draws, their refusal to post daily payouts.

One only needs to look as far as their Facebook page and read the comments of their bamboozled players to understand their feelings.

We are calling on the relevant authority to look into NLA and compel them to do the right thing by their players and by the Gaming Act.

We would also strongly suggest that the Gaming Commission take the time to inspect the machines at many of the Casino like establishments (Now may be an excellent time since they are currently closed) around the island.

Many of them are severely rigged or can be altered easily from a smartphone. We anticipate that the concerns of many patrons will be addressed in a vigilant and timely manner.

Concerned Citizens