Lottery crisis, or not?

Letters to the Editor

Lottery crisis, or not?

Thursday, February 20, 2020

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Dear Editor,

On Sunday, February 16, I read a story published by the Jamaica Observer, 'Lottery Conflict', in slight confusion. To even think that at this time Jamaica requires another betting and gaming company is ridiculous.

Currently, Supreme Ventures Limited caters to just about any gambling preference with over five games, multiple draws, and horse racing and betting at Caymanas Park Limited. To open the market for another player to operate in the exact same way would be foolish.

There are several discrepancies with the entire idea, the first being ingenuity. If through the right analysis of the market it is found that Jamaica is able to sustain another gaming brand then that brand should bring to the fore exciting new games and ways to win, and not a regurgitated whitewashed version of existing games.

Additionally, Vitus Evans, the current executive director of the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission (BGLC), should not be allowed to make the all-important call, having worked for the previous Supreme Ventures administration less than four years ago. While we can't definitively say that any biases will exist, is that a chance we are willing to take?

By and large, Supreme Ventures is a big Jamaican brand that has spearheaded some of the most necessary corporate social projects, including its recent memorandum of understanding to provide top-of-the-line fire safety gear to State-run children's homes. Annually, the company pays a large amount of taxes filling government coffers and aiding well-needed social development. In 2018 alone the company paid over a whopping $6.9 billion in taxes. Having to split the market with new competition will ultimately result in less revenue, equalling less taxes for the Government, and less funds to undertake social projects. Is this a loss we are able to bear at this current moment? I doubt it.

Claude McPherson

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