Jamaica May Curb Gambling Advertising

Jamaica’s Betting Gaming & Lotteries Commission (BGLC) is becoming increasingly concerned about the explosive growth of gambling in the country and its potential impact on children. The regulator plans to hold several consultations to determine the overall effect of advertising and introduce an updated set of rules to protect users against problem gaming.

The BGLC Will Make an Informed Decision

BGLC executive director Vitus Evans spearheaded the new initiative, prompted by the dramatic increase in gambling advertising volume across all platforms. Over the past two years, two new high-profile operators entered the Jamaican market, sparking heated competition in the marketing space. 

The BGLC recognizes that there is no proven link between the prevalence of advertising and the increase in gambling rates but noted that leaving that section of the industry unchecked was not an option. According to an interview with Evans for the Financial Gleaner, radio and TV audiences often can’t go even five minutes before encountering an ad.

We are concerned about the frequency of gambling advertising and whether it is negatively impacting children.

Vitus Evans, BGLC executive director

Before submitting updates to the current regulations, the BGLC first plans to undertake public consultations with key stakeholders and concerned citizens. Once the commission gathers sufficient data, it will introduce updated guidelines.

A Leading Operator Supports the Initiative

The BGLC has already drafted a procurement document for consultancy services regarding the upcoming investigation. The paper outlines that any future solution must consider the interests of operators, gamblers, media entities, healthcare professionals, and the general public. The ultimate goal is to create a universal set of advertising guidelines that will apply equally to all gambling companies in the country.

Supreme Ventures Limited (SVL), Jamaica’s premiere gaming operator, expressed its support of the new initiative and stated it was willing to cooperate with the operator to reach the best possible solution. 

We look forward to… (helping) develop a thorough and fair advertising code that equitably represents the interest of all industry stakeholders.

Chloleen Daley-Muschett, SVL corporate communications, and PR manager

The other two notable companies operating in Jamaica – Goodwill Gaming Enterprises Limited, best known under its Lucky Play brand, and Mahoe Gaming Enterprises Limited, which runs the Izizzi lottery, have not yet commented on the BGLC’s new initiative. However, both operators are staunch responsible gambling advocates and should also cooperate. 

Jamaica Remains a Booming Market

Jamaica’s gambling sector has experienced substantial growth and is enjoying a steady recovery from the effects of the pandemic. Q2 results indicated a 50% year-on-year revenue increase, for a total of $60 billion. With such a booming market, the three operators invest substantially in advertising. SVL spent $790 million in advertising and business development during the 2021 fiscal year. 

Part of the reason for the industry’s explosive growth is due to Jamaica’s somewhat lax approach to regulation. However, the BGLC’s recent initiative indicates that the country’s regulator plans to introduce stricter measures. These efforts will ultimately benefit existing operators, as responsible gambling practices promote a sustainable and customer-focused approach that has proven effective worldwide.

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