The introduction of gambling machines at several bars by the Guyana Lottery Company (GLC) is part of a recently-signed five-year contract with the government, Minister of Finance Winston Jordan said yesterday, while noting that the company had previously complained about the poor performance of some of its games.
Jordan’s disclosure may raise questions about the arrangement given that the machines are similar to the ones used in casinos, which fall under the purview of the Gaming Authority and not the government.
“I don’t know… whether these machines fall within the meaning of lottery games and so on,” he said.
Jordan did not say when the contract was signed but made it clear that Guyana would benefit from the proceeds.
He explained that under the previous administration, the company was granted one-year contracts. “Prior to May, 2015 it appears as though they were being held on a shoe string… they were being given one-year contracts and they didn’t know whether they would have survived or not,” he said, before adding that the company had asked government for a longer term contract.
“So, we give them five years with a renewable option and we set some condition[s],” he said, while adding that the company indicated that it wanted to be able to put out a range of new lottery games as an analysis found that some of the current games were “sagging,” resulting in the returns not being high.
According to Jordan, in return for granting the longer contract, government will get a minimum cut of 24% of revenue along with other funds.
“There was a complaint that there was unfair competition because Superbet…was there. The long and short of it is that issues have come up with Superbet, GRA and with the Gaming Authority but nevertheless they continue to exist. They said that it was unfair competition for them. They were paying taxes and so forth,” he said.
Jordan added that he could not say much about the machines because he hasn’t seen them.
Based on what Stabroek News was told, some of the machines have been installed at Seeta’s Bar at Station Street, Kitty and at Blue Martini on Lamaha Street.