Bad Bet

CHURCH leaders are expressing strong disapproval and admonishment of their colleagues who host raffles to raise funds, arguing that it is a subtle form of gambling, and instead have suggested food sales, offerings, and concerts as better alternatives.

A check made with the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission (BGLC) by the Jamaica Observer revealed that churches have been seeking approval to stage raffles.

According to Section 47 of the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Act, all unauthorised lotteries are unlawful. Further, Section 49 of the Act states that the commission, in accordance with Part II of the Act, may grant a licence to any person to promote a lottery, and any such lottery which is promoted in accordance with the terms and conditions of the licence shall not be unlawful.

Section 51 allows religious organisations, among others, to organise a lottery for the promotion of the welfare of the community, with the prior approval of the minister of finance and the public service, with the payment of a bond equivalent to 15 per cent of the gross receipts to the accountant general.

But Reverend Ronald Grey, district superintendent for the Jamaica East District of Nazarene Churches, said it’s nothing he supports.

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