Vitus Evans, the Executive Director of Jamaica’s Betting Gaming & Lotteries Commission (BGLC), has ordered a review of advertising standards as concerns grow on the prevalence of gambling ads being broadcast to Jamaican audiences.
In an interview with the Financial Gleaner, Evans confirmed that the BGLC would launch a public consultation on ‘proposed regulations’ to improve gambling advertising standards seeking feedback from ‘key stakeholders and concerned citizens’.
An advertising review is required by the BGLC “to determine parameters for safe gambling” and comes as Jamaica’s gambling sector generated a record JMD $60bn ($400m) in sales during its latest financial quarter (Q1: April-to-June 2022).
The Caribbean nation recorded a 50% increase in year-on-year gambling sales, attributed to the strong post-pandemic recovery of Lottery Promoters and Gaming Lounges – verticals that generated combined Q1 sales of JMD $53bn (88% of market share).
Evans noted public concerns “on the frequency of gambling advertising and whether it is negatively impacting on children”. Furthermore, Jamaican operators have been criticised for promoting adverts featuring “stereotype caricatures and catchy slogans”.
“We are not concerned about the slogans, but in particular, the volume of advertising and also outside providers advertising in the market,” Evans responded.
However, the BGLC director noted that “at times, gambling advertisements are on the airways every five minutes on radio and TV.”
Supreme Ventures Limited (SVL) which is recognised as Jamaica’s “largest gambling player” welcomed the consultation, outlining that it promoted responsible gambling when advertising its lottery, sports betting and gaming lounge properties.
During 2021, SVL is reported to have spent JMD $790m ($5.5m) on advertising, tripling its ad-spend budget and media coverage.
Concerns on the prevalence of gambling advertising have further increased, in part due to new entrants joining the market, promoting new lottery and gaming products to compete against SVL.
The procurement document for the BGLC’s consultation read: “With the growth of the gambling industry in Jamaica, there continues to be a considerable increase in the number of gambling-related messages across all media channels.”