Superbet gambles on Judiciary to stave off Gaming Authority

…says not a casino, no need for a licence

By way of an order issued on June 8 last, the Gaming Authority has directed the popular sports betting/gaming service Superbet — Surinamese company Pasha Gaming Group operating locally through a subsidiary, Guiana Holdings Inc. — “to suspend immediately all internet gambling, sports betting and/or lotteries, and any other form of gambling whatsoever and wheresoever (located) in the State of Guyana, until further notice.”
This order purportedly falls under the Gambling Prevention Act, Chapter 9:02 of the Laws of Guyana.
The Gaming Authority had also requested intervention of the Guyana Police Force’s Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) and the Guyana Revenue Authority in this matter.
This publication understands that the Gaming Authority had, for some time now, been looking into the operations of the betting service; and had, last March, requested the company to produce the relevant permission or licence authorizing it to conduct internet gambling, sports betting or lotteries locally.
The Gaming Authority had also demanded to see Superbet’s Articles of Incorporation and other registration information, and had been so facilitated.
The company reportedly never produced a licence, and this has reportedly caused the Gaming Authority to issue the shutdown order.
The Gaming Authority of Guyana is a statutory body established under the Gambling Prevention Act of Guyana, and is vested with the power to regulate Casino operations in the country. It is headed by a Chairman, Attorney-at-Law Roysdale Forde, and its board members are Christine King, George Vaughn and former magistrate Geeta Chandan-Edmond.

But the company Superbet, gambling on the court to quash the Gaming Authority order as overstepping its reach under the laws, and further contending that the order is null and void and should not be implemented, has contracted the law firm Mohabir Nandlall and Associates to represent its interests.

This law firm has since sought, and secured, an Order or Rule Nisi of Certiorari directed to the Gaming Authority and calling on that body to show why its decision to close down the operations of Superbet should not be quashed. The matter was heard by Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George.
Superbet has also since secured an Order or Rule Nisi of Prohibition, retraining the Gaming Authority from taking any steps to interfere with, or close down, its operations.
According to a missive issued by the company’s law firm, “The request which the Gaming Authority has made to the Guyana Revenue Authority and the Special Organized Crime Unit, or any other agency, calling in their aid to implement or give effect to its impugn decision, is in violation of the said Court Order, and Contempt of Court proceedings will certainly be filed in respect of anyone who violates or aids in the violation of the said Court Order”.
The law firm also said, “Through no fault of the applicant, Guiana Holdings Inc., the Court Order has not yet been issued to us by the Registry of the Supreme Court.” As a result, “We have been unable to serve a copy of same along with the other Court documents upon the Gaming Authority.”
Nevertheless, the law firm has promised that renewed efforts will be made to have the documents served today.
According to court documents filed by Superbet and seen by this publication, the Gaming Authority’s decision to shut down its operations “is ultra vires, capricious, arbitrary, contrary to the rules of natural justice, unreasonable, unlawful, in violation of the applicant’s legitimate expectation, illegal, null, void, and of no effect.”
The betting service is contending that its operations do not fall under the purview and ambit of the Gambling Prevention Act, and hence it is not licensed under that Act. It argues that the Gaming Authority’s jurisdiction and authority are confined to the four corners of the Gambling Prevention Act and its regulations; more specifically, it is confined to the regulation of casinos.
As such, Superbet contends, the Gaming Authority “has exceeded its authority, and is acting without or outside of its jurisdiction when it purports to regulate and moreover shut down” the operation of Superbet, as outlined in the letter dated 8th June, 2017.
Superbet further insists it does not require a licence under the legislation as currently configured, in order to conduct its operations.