The Jamaican government is hoping to regulate online gambling within the next 12 months and reap the revenue rewards that are currently going elsewhere.
Similar to states within the U.S. that are considering online poker and gambling legislation to provide a new revenue stream, Jamaican officials are intent on grabbing a piece of the pie. Also like states such as Pennsylvania and California that have recently been taking required steps toward legalization, Jamaica is keen on providing protection for consumers.
Internet gaming is happening right now in Jamaica,” Ministry of Finance and Planning representative Horace Dalley told the Jamaica Observer. “Therefore, it is time that we make that progression to this methodology of gaming, as Jamaicans are already well-equipped with the devices to facilitate this.”
The land-based gambling industry in Jamaica has enjoyed robust increases in revenue in recent years, $4.5 billion in the latest fiscal year up from $3.8 billion previously. That boost has not gone unnoticed, nor has the fact that significantly higher revenue totals are possible once online gambling regulation is embraced.
A 2014 Gaming Industry Summit was held in Kingston last week at the Jamaica Conference Centre. Among the topics touched upon were changes to the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Act calling for text betting and telephone wagers on sporting events. The summit was the first of its kind and was hosted by the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission.
Jamaica lies less than 100 miles south of Cuba and ranks as fifth largest among Caribbean island countries. Latest census figures show the population to be just under 2.8 million.