Sun | Jan 29, 2023

Gambling makes $3b for J’can Gov’t in June quarter

Published:Friday | September 16, 2022 | 12:08 AM

The freedom to gamble without pandemic restrictions has pushed the pot of tax earnings for the Government to $3.1 billion between April and June.

The pot for the treasury was up by a quarter in the period, relative to the previous year.

The Betting Gaming & Lotteries Commission, BGLC, said the taxes came on the back of $60 billion in sales from the sector, or 11.8 per cent higher than the similar period a year earlier. The Supreme Ventures Group, or SVL, which operates the largest gambling enterprise and dominates the market, said the easing of pandemic restrictions has positively impacted on sales.

“The relaxation of COVID-19 measures has increased hours of gaming, hence more revenue, especially from the gaming lounges,” said Gary Peart, executive chairman of Supreme Ventures.

Of the $60 billion in industry sales, SVL accounted for $25.5 billion, or nearly half of the haul. The year prior, SVL’s sales amounted to $21.6 billion in the June quarter, while its pre-pandemic sales amounted to $18.6 billion in the period.

The sector is comprised of three main players — Supreme Ventures; Mahoe Gaming Enterprise; and Lucky Play Lottery. For the BGLC, increased sales suggest increased “engagement” rather than chronic gambling, but said it would increase the “cadence of messaging” around safe and responsible gambling.

The rise occurred during a period of heightened annual inflation, which was estimated at 10.2 per cent in July.

“As part of its ongoing efforts to promote responsible gambling and ensure that the potential harms of gambling have a minimal negative impact, the BGLC encourages gambling providers across the sector to apply principles of responsible gambling in the delivery of their services,” the gaming regulator said in a press release.

Betting includes local and simulcast horse racing, and sports betting; lottery comprises sales of lottery games; and gaming includes slot machines.

The BGLC said that in the April-June period, slot machines in gaming lounges and bars generated the highest sales of $33.8 billion, while lottery games generated $20.9 billion.

steven.jackson@gleanerjm.com