Current Gambling Law in Trinidad and Tobago has not provided enough control to prevent a boom in the Gaming Industry. The Government is now trying to address that.
Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidad and Tobago are islands in the Caribbean sea lying north-east of Venezuela. Rich with oil revenue, the country enjoys some of the highest living standards of any Island in the Caribbean. The culture is very mixed with a population of Indian and Black inhabitants. Following the abolition of slavery in 1834 a new source of cheap workers was required for the sugar plantations. The solution was migrating indentured workers from India. Thousands were brought in between 1845 and 1917.
Earlier this week, Finance Minister Colm Imbert announced that the annual turnover for Gambling was 12 billion dollars a year. He said if you add revenue from the National Lottery it is at least 16 million dollars. Gambling Law in Trinidad and Tobago has not existed in any controlling form.
He also said gambling has exploded due to high numbers of Private Members Clubs and an amendment to the Liquor Licences Act in 2014. The law amendment allowed businesses with a liquor licence, for example bars, to have 20 amusement games. Colm Imbert said it is estimated that there are 20,000 gaming machines operating in 4,000 bars and 200 Private Members Clubs. Currently 7,000 people are employed in the gaming sector either directly or indirectly.
The announcement followed a new all-encompassing Gambling Bill which is being considered by the Joint Select Committee. Colm Imbert says that regulation of the gaming industry could generate 500 million dollars in revenue for the Government.
There are fears that the new bill, if passed will strangle the gaming industry. The Islands Members Club Association says that it will cause massive job losses. The Members Club Association has carried out a lot of research. Consequently, they say there are many flaws in the proposed new legislation. They hope the Joint Select Committee will produce a law which is fair to stakeholders within the gaming industry, as well as Government.
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