ACTING Commissioner of Police McDonald Jacob met on Friday with representatives of the Barkeepers and Operators Association of Trinidad and Tobago (BOATT) to discuss the Gambling (Gaming and Betting) Control Bill, 2021, which impacts their industry.
The meeting took place at the Police Administration Building in Port of Spain and was also attended by acting head of the Legal Unit of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) Allanna Rivas.
BOATT president Satesh Moonasar and adviser Anil Maraj said the association was concerned about certain establishments that are operating amusement machines without having the required licence to do so, the TTPS said in a statement.
Jacob said the TTPS is only able to enforce the existing laws with regard to the Liquor Licence Act and is willing to work alongside BOATT upon the proclamation into law of the Gambling (Gaming and Betting) Control Bill, 2021. The law was passed in the Senate on June 23, 2021 to strengthen compliance.
Once proclaimed, a Gambling (Gaming and Betting) Control Commission would be appointed as a regulatory authority, the TTPS statement noted.
The various offences and their corresponding penalties will be clearly outlined and will allow the TTPS to act accordingly, it added.
Jacob suggested that BOATT partner with the Multi-Agency Task Force of the TTPS to deal with irregularities within their industry.
“He also asked the association representatives to encourage members to adhere to the required regulations upon reopening in the coming weeks,” the statement added.
Moonasar told the Express after the meeting that there are too many supermarkets, mini-marts, parlours, barber shops and lotto booths that operate amusement machines without having the licence to do so.
“The association was pleased with the discussions with the TTPS, which will in turn help eradicate the illegal gaming industry that has been operating for several years,” Moonasar added.