Shaw highlights importance of gaming industry
Finance and the Public Service Minister Audley Shaw has underscored the gaming industry's potential and importance in contributing significantly to the Government's growth agenda.
He said the administration's revenue intake currently benefits from billions of dollars from the industry through taxes and fees remitted to central and local government.
Shaw was speaking at the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission (BGLC) annual Gaming Industry Summit held recently at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston. Shaw said the sceptics should dispel the belief that the industry promotes negative and antisocial behaviour.
"We must focus on the rewards that can be achieved and the support that will be given to the growth of the Jamaican economy ... while not ignoring our responsibility to control any negative circumstances that may arise," he added. The rewards, Shaw indicated, include diversifying the industry as part of efforts to further boost tourism, citing casino gaming as an example of one area that could attract foreign direct investments. Shaw said the Government's recognition of the gaming industry's potential and importance necessitated that its products be packaged, advertised and distributed, similar to what obtains with Jamaica's culture, music and sports.
The minister said it is imperative that the industry be promoted in a more "productive and positive light" in order to remove existing stigmas, facilitate responsible behaviour, and "protect our children".
"I wish to see a culture change among stakeholders as gaming needs to be viewed as a sport," Shaw said.