64 Knutsford Boulevard, Kingston 5, Jamaica
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DAY 1 – Wednesday, June 14, 2017
· The Honourable Audley Shaw, Minister of Finance and The Public Service
· The Honourable Fayval Williams, Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service
· Mr. Clovis Metcalfe, Chairman of the Betting Gaming and Lotteries Commission
· Members of the Board of Commissioners of the Betting Gaming and Lotteries Commission
· Members of the Boards of Commissioners for the Jamaica Racing Commission and the Casino Gaming Commission
· Regulators and representatives of Governments from the Caribbean and other regions
· Mrs. Carole Martinez-Johnson, Director ICT at the BGLC and Conference Chairman
· Mrs. Elizabeth Goy-co-chea, CEO of CGS Group LLC, Founder of the Caribbean Gaming Show & Summit
· Our distinguished Guest Speakers for the Caribbean Gaming Show and Summit
· Directors, executives and members of staff of the Betting Gaming and Lotteries Commission, The Jamaica Racing Commission and the Casino Gaming Commission
· Licensees of The Betting Gaming and Lotteries Commission and the Jamaica Racing Commission, operators of gaming establishments and suppliers to the industry from other jurisdictions
· Representatives of the Media
· Ladies and Gentlemen
Good morning and a very big Montego Bay welcome to you all.
I am told that, inclusive of Jamaica, we have representatives of twelve countries (12) participating in this 7th Caribbean Gaming Show and Summit here at the Montego Bay Convention Centre.
The program of activities, I also understand, will include Conference Plenary sessions which will be exploring key issues for the region’s gaming industry such as de-risking and anti-money laundering, security, responsible gaming, as well as trends in the global gaming industry.
Also, for the first time the Caribbean Gaming Show & Summit will include a special Regulator’s Forum at which representatives of gaming regulatory organizations from around the region will explore issues related to regulating online gaming and sports betting.
There will also be the opportunity for operators of gaming establishments to be linked with industry suppliers of product and services.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR JAMAICA?
However, for me, and I am sure for many Jamaicans, particularly tourism stakeholders, all of this represents a very significant and telling development.
What this is telling us is that Jamaica is being viewed as an important and interesting new market in the region’s gaming industry. As Minister of Tourism I can tell you firsthand, and I am sure Minister Audley Shaw will expand on this more later on, that not only are we pleased with this ringing endorsement but we are confident that the exhaustive market analysis and evaluation you have done are well founded as Jamaica is indeed ready to be a significant player in the gaming industry.
Having the Caribbean Gaming Show & Summit here in Montego Bay will provide an opportunity for you our international partners to better understand Jamaica’s potential as well as for all of us to learn about the developments in the Caribbean’s gaming industry and where new partnerships can be forged between the region’s operators and global service providers.
It also comes at a time when confidence among our tourism stakeholders here in Jamaica is at an all time high and where optimism reigns supreme.
Our just concluded ‘winter tourism season’, which ran between December 15 - April 30 saw the country recording never before seen numbers in both arrivals and earnings, and with the rest of the year shaping up to be even better.
We are of the view that once all the regulations are in place, the gaming industry will be of fundamental importance to our tourism product as well as to the rest of the region, giving us more than a fighting chance to compete with rival jurisdictions.
This two day gathering will also provide the opportunity to look at and study different proposals and ideas surrounding gaming as well as being able to look at what’s going on around the world, assess what’s happening in other jurisdictions and appreciate that we now have an opportunity to seriously get in the game as an important part of a global phenomenon.
When we look at successful gaming jurisdictions around the world and the positive impact the industry has had on tourism, we can truly salivate at the potential and prospects for our own home grown product.
Also everyday it would seem like a new destination is getting in the game, reinforcing the point that we have to get our collective houses in order and build on what many of us have already started. It goes without saying that not only do we have to be introducing new games, we also have to be competitive.
Many of the Caribbean countries that didn’t have gaming before are now considering gaming or have introduced gaming.
Our legislation will be seeking to advance our gaming to ensure that we are offering what is being offered around the world and even better, so that we can attract more people, because tourism is our main industry.
So without further adieu I am looking forward to the discussions surrounding not just the traditional form of gaming, slot machines, etc, but also the other aspects such as sports betting, in-play wagering and online gaming via cell phones and computers.
Again, welcome to beautiful Montego Bay where I hope the opportunity will be there to enjoy our beautiful beaches and all the other amenities that will show you why we are also considered the tourism capital of both Jamaica and also the Caribbean.
Thank you very much.