Director-General of the Ministry of the Presidency Joseph Harmon has urged the Gaming Authority to put the necessary measures in place to encourage lawful and responsible gambling.
Harmon made these statements in his keynote address at the opening of the Gaming Authority’s second stakeholder forum for 2019, which was held at the Herdmanston Lodge, Georgetown on Wednesday.
“Our Government recognises that gaming is a form of entertainment in our society and it should be permitted, however, we are committed to instituting all the necessary measures to ensure that responsible measures pervade our gaming landscape and form the basis of our gaming culture,” Harmon said.
The event was held under the theme “responsible gaming in Guyana” and is expected to raise awareness on some of the negative impacts of gaming on mental health.
Harmon used the occasion to point out that the Gaming Authority should take note that betting shops are located in some “challenged” communities.
“It cannot escape notice that some of these operations are in some of the specially challenged communities of our country and therefore, the urge to place monies on betting other than the other issues which will affect us as citizens and as families… will have some negative impacts…
“So I trust that the Gaming Authority pays very careful attention to this development that is taking place,” he said, before noting that given the fast-paced movement of Guyana’s economy, the Government anticipates that there is going to be pressure on the Gaming Authority for licenses to open up more gaming establishments.
The Director-General pledged Government’s commitment to working along with the Gaming Authority to create positive impacts.
“The Government through all relevant Ministries and agencies will support the efforts of the Gaming Authority to ensure that through the establishment of responsible policies, the gaming industry will have more positive than negative impacts on our citizenry and contribute to the overall wellbeing of our society,” Harmon said.
Chairman of the Gaming Authority Board, Mr Roysdale Forde, said the concept of “responsible gaming” will have to eventually become entrenched in the Guyanese society and subsequently called on all stakeholders to work together to achieve this objective.
“It is our obligation to work together to ensure that the principles and standards that we would have established, minimise the possible harms and prevent irresponsible gaming, responsible gaming is the only way forward for our industry and we have no choice but to embrace this concept,” Forde said.
Chief Executive Officer of the Gaming Authority, Mr Lloyd Moore and Jamaica Responsible Gaming Specialist, Mr Richard Henry; Ministry of Public Health, Chief Medical Officer, Dr Shamdeo Persaud and other stakeholders also attended the forum. (Extracted and modified from Ministry of the Presidency)