Tougher rules coming for gambling
Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter
The Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Act is to be amended to make it illegal for persons to provide technical services such as networking and security facilities for the conduct of any betting, gaming or lottery activity, unless they are licensed.
A bill to make the change was laid in Parliament last week and proposes that a person who provides or facilitates the provision of technical services in connection to betting, gaming or lottery without that person having a licence is liable, upon conviction, to a fine not exceeding $1 million, and in default of payment to imprisonment for a term of up to six months.
The bill also proposes that a licensee who employs or engages any person to provide technical services other than a person who is licensed, commits an offence and is liable, upon conviction, to a fine not exceeding $1 million, and in default of payment to imprisonment for a term of up to six months.
Technical services are defined in the bill as developing, testing, selling, supplying, installing, adapting, configuring, repairing, maintaining, downloading or providing consulting services in relation to any software or hardware for use in connection with any betting, gaming or lottery activity.
Technical services are also extended to include manufacturing, testing, selling, supplying, repairing or leasing any gaming machine or its component. It also includes the processing of electronic transactions or providing facilities for the processing of any electronic transaction in connection with any betting, gaming or lotteries activity.
The law currently requires a range of persons participating in the gaming sector to hold a licence, permit or approval granted by the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission.
A gaming lounge operator is prohibited from decommissioning or recommissioning a gaming machine, or facilitates repairs to it, unless he obtains permission from the commission.
ENSURINg FREE AND FAIR ACTIVITIES
Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips, in the memorandum of objects and reasons included in the bill, said the changes are being proposed in order to ensure that the conducting of betting, gaming and lotteries is fair and free of criminal influence.
If approved by Parliament, the bill will pave the way for the minister of finance to, by order, subject to affirmative resolution of the House of Representatives, reduce or increase any levy or contribution.
The bill is also proposing that no person can be employed at any prescribed property such as a betting lounge and gaming lounge, to receive or negotiate bets or gaming machines, or to be involved in the operation of gaming machines unless he is the holder of a prescribed premises worker's licence.
An operator of a gaming machine who employs any person who does not have a worker's licence permit commits an offence and is liable upon conviction to $200,000 fine or three months in jail.
The bill makes provision which prohibits persons under the age of 18 from acquiring licences to participating in betting, gaming or lottery activities, and for the establishment of fit and proper criteria for the granting of licences, permits and approvals in order to undertake such activities.