Trinidad Gov’t tightens regulations governing gaming industry

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) – The Trinidad and Tobago Government Friday announced plans to strengthen the gaming industry on the island saying it would be guided by three main principles.

Finance Minister Larry Howai, tabling the Finance Bill 2014 in the Senate said that the principles would ensure that the “vulnerable would be protected; that gaming should in all respect be fairly and openly conducted and the operations must be within the ambit of the law”.

Howai told legislators that the gaming industry employs an estimated 35,000 people and that there is a great demand for it in Trinidad and Tobago, indicating that this was all the more reasons for strict regulation.

“While this growth suggests that there is a public demand for gaming services there are inherent dangers that must be addressed.

“The gaming sector can only be a legitimate source of prosperity and entertainment if it is effectively regulated to deter crime, protect the vulnerable and promote fair treatment for the customer. These provisions are the first step in the implementation of a very strict regime which would ensure that this country’s regulator environment meets acceptable international standards,” he said.

Howai, also informed legislators of the coalition government’s short and long-term measures targeting the gaming and private members club.

“This is a new requirement of a deposit of TT$500,000. This deposit will be mandatory for all private members clubs with a certificate for gambling activities on their premises.

“This TT$500,000 seek to protect the consumer while imposing regulatory parameters on those who offer casino-style games. We have also ensured that in the event of a claim being successfully made against a private members club, that club cannot enter into any further gambling transactions until and unless the deposit has been replenished with the controller of accounts to restore it to the required TT$500,000,” he said.

Howai said that a gaming authority will also be established, responsible for licences and other monitoring initiatives.

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