The government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago is sprinting ahead to introduce a new policy, regulating and taxing the casinos. The Joint Select Committee (JSC), which is specially assigned the task to overview the Gambling (Gaming and Betting) Control Bill is to hold public hearings, considering the stakeholders’ opinion on the matter.
Being on the brink of regulating its casinos, Trinidad and Tobago seeks to introduce an adequate legal framework to control the gambling business. For that purpose, the government should also establish a gambling regulatory authority, which is to watchdog the gambling operations. As part of the first stage of the bill, the 12 JSC officials already came up with a proposal for the establishment of the so-called Gambling Control Commission, which task is to introduce a licensing framework and minimize the potential illicit activities.
It is expected that the establishment of the Gambling Control Commission will be possible by the next year, when all the preliminary details should be already arranged. Prior to the establishment of the regulatory body, the JSC called for public hearings, which will discuss the proposed Gambling Control Bill with the stakeholders, who are expected to submit their comments on the matter.
Besides the establishment of a regulatory body, the piece of legislation seeks to introduce a legal framework and strict requirements for obtaining a license, but that is to happen after appointing the Gambling Control Commission.
The Joint Select Committee was created at the beginning of this year. Its 12 members have the task to overview and consider the Gambling Control Bill. In an interview with the Business Express, Finance Minister Colm Imbert, who is also the Chairman of the committee, refused to provide any details regarding the current stage of the Bill.
JSC member Senator Wade Mark commented that the committee is expected to hold a meeting before the MPs return for the next Parliament session, which is to take place on 6th September.
The gambling sector of Trinidad and Tobago remained unregulated for many years. This did not stop the development of the casino industry, which is currently flourishing in the Caribbean country. Becoming witnesses of the thrive of the industry, in 2014 the country’s officials started to eye the opportunity to regulate the casinos and tax them.
It was recognized that the casino trade has the potential to generate a solid amount of revenues and boost the country’s economy. At present, the officials seek to introduce a coherent policy to control the gambling operations. By regulating the gambling trade, the government will ensure not only a steady income for its treasury, but also a fair gaming environment for the players and the creation of more job opportunities.