High Court Judge Jo-Ann Barlow has issued an order compelling the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) and the Guyana Gaming Authority (GGA) to process the application for Betting Shop Licenses for the years 2018 and 2019 for Guiana Holdings Inc., the company which operates Superbet. Earlier this year, Superbet had filed legal proceedings against GRA and the Guyana Gaming Authority (GGA) over its refusal to issue the company with a betting shop license demanding that it obtain a Certificate of Good Standing as a pre-condition.
During a ruling this afternoon, Justice Barlow noted that GRA and GGA received and acted upon poor legal advice in demanding that Superbet obtain a Certificate of Good Standing from the GRA and Gaming Authority before being issued with a Betting Shop Licence. According to a statement issued by Superbet’s lawyer, Anil Nandlall, “This poor legal advice applied more to the Gaming Authority than the GRA as this is the second time in two years that the Court has ruled that the Gaming Authority acted unlawfully and illegally in the manner in which they have treated the Applicant (Superbet).”
Further, Justice Barlow granted a Writ of Certiorari directed to the Commissioner-General of GRA and GRA quashing a decision made during the month of January, 2018, requiring from Superbet, a Certificate of Good Standing, as a condition precedent to the issuance of a Betting Shop Licence under the provisions of the Tax Act, Chapter 80:01, on the grounds that the said decision is ultra vires, capricious, arbitrary, unlawful, illegal, influenced by irrelevant considerations, null, void and of no effect.
The court also granted another Writ of Certiorari directed to the Second and Third named defendants, the Chief Executive Officer of the Gaming Authority and the Gaming Authority, respectively, quashing their decision to impose a requirement of a Good Standing Certificate, as a condition precedent to Superbet obtaining a Betting Shop Licence under the provisions of the Tax Act, Chapter 80:01, on the grounds that the said decision is ultra vires, arbitrary, unlawful, illegal, influenced by irrelevant considerations, null, void and of no effect.
GRA and GGA were each ordered to pay $100,000 in court costs to Superbet, while the third and fourth named defendants were each ordered to pay $150,000 in court costs to the company.
Nandlall added, “As a result of this ruling, Superbet should now be issued with its licence for the years 2018 and 2019 by GRA, especially since its Affidavit before the Court, GRA intimated that Superbet has satisfied all the legal requirements to be issued with this licence. This ruling also would constitute conclusive basis or the dismissal or discontinue of all pending criminal charges against the agents of the Superbet in the Magistrate’s Court.”
The GRA and its Commissioner-General were represented by State Counsel Judy Stuart-Adonis. The Gaming Authority and its Chief Executive Officer, Lloyd Moore, were represented by Senior Counsel Rex McKay and Neil Boston.