Gaming industry affected

The National Gaming Control Board has written to the SOE Controller and the Prime Minister and Minister Responsible for NGCB seeking approval to resume gaming operations under a strict Infectious Disease Prevention policy.

The policy designed to address, control and prevent the spread of infectious diseases specially COVID-19 pandemic in gaming sites throughout Papua New Guinea.  

The Gaming Industry in the country has been hit hard by the novel coronavirus.

The Industry has been shut down in compliance with the National Government’s declaration for the State of Emergency.

The Gaming Industry is a Government sanctioned entertainment industry regulated by the National Gaming Control Board under the Gaming Control Act 2007.

NGCB CEO, Imelda Agon says, the industry generates a revenue of more than K30 million on a monthly basis.

Given the 14-day lockdown from 23rd March to 8th April 2020, the National Government through the Board has lost over K7.5 million in revenue collection and will therefore continue to lose K60 million or more from April 2020 to June 2020 due to the SOE restrictions.

Agon says with the plight of the Coronavirus pandemic, the industry stakeholders, especially the gaming sites, many of whom are small business; have plummeted drastically because they depend on their monthly commissions to pay operational expenses such as rentals, staff wages, etc.

NGCB has paid the commission for the month of March to the Gaming Sites however those sites that have underbanked will have to fully remit the gaming revenue for March 2020 before their gaming commissions can be released.

Due to the very limited funds available for its operations, the NGCB is unable to assist its stakeholders without a rescue package from the National Government.

Although, the Gaming industry may not be considered a vital or essential industry in comparison to others, it however has contributed more than K2 billion in gaming taxes to the country’s economy since 2007 and provided thousands of people with employment thus contributing to the improvement of their livelihoods.

Freddy Mou