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Standards being raised to stem corruption in betting and gaming

Published:Tuesday | April 10, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Laurie Wiggan (left) and Tashia Hutton (second left) in discussion with partners from the betting and gaming industry.

In its push to ensure responsible gaming, Tashia Hutton, president of the Jamaica Gaming Association (JGA), has warned that they will be constantly raising standards to rid the industry of the negative stigma of illegality and corruption.

Hutton, who was elevated to the position one year ago, following the passing of Brian George, has been working closely with the Betting, Gaming and Lottery Commission (BGLC) in an effort to preserve the industry's existence and sustainability. She has been instrumental in ensuring that its members adopt new regulatory standards.

In leading this charge, Hutton, who is also vice-president, customer support and regulatory affairs at Supreme Ventures Limited, has encouraged members to identify within their operations nominating officers who will champion the implementation and adoption of these new standards and become the gatekeepers in ensuring compliance.

"The betting and gaming industry provides gainful employment for thousands, plus contributions to the government consolidated funds via millions in taxes each year. It is, therefore, a vital player to the Jamaican economy," Hutton explained.

"Yes, we appreciate that there is an underground of illegal facilitators who continue to give the industry a bad name, but where our members are concerned, we are going to employ standards to protect all our stakeholders, and in doing so, will continue to support the responsible gaming mantra and encourage player-to-game-only agents approved by the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission."

As the compliance leader for the largest betting and gaming company in Jamaica, Supreme Ventures Limited, it was not surprising that this was one of Hutton's priorities since taking the helm of the association. As such, in September 2017, the association collaborated with the BGLC to host its first-ever joint Anti-Money Laundering (AML) seminar/ workshop for nominating officers.

Laurie Wiggan, director of compliance and regulatory division, BGLC, outlined the commission's minimum standard requirements for an effective AML programme and support in the JGA's commitment to compliance with the Proceeds of Crime Act and its regulation.

"The commission is not only there to regulate and ensure compliance with standards, but considers itself a chief facilitator for all registered businesses operating in the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries space," Wiggan outlined.