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GOVT TO LOSE $1B

Friday, October 6 2006

click on pic to zoom in
READING THE SIGNS: This man takes a look at the Play Whe Winning Numbers chart fixed on a wall at a Play Whe/Lotto booth in Port-of-Spain yesterday, t...
READING THE SIGNS: This man takes a look at the Play Whe Winning Numbers chart fixed on a wall at a Play Whe/Lotto booth in Port-of-Spain yesterday, t...

GOVERNMENT stands to lose over $1 billion in revenue and about 3,000 workers would be out of a job, if Government moves to phase out its National Lotteries Control Board (NLCB) online gaming activities. Cultural groups would also suffer a great loss as millions of dollars are donated annually to these groups by the NLCB.

An official of the NLCB, who wished to be unidentified, said that there are over 350 online gaming booths for Play Whe, Lotto, Pick Two and Cash Pot, established throughout Trinidad and Tobago. He said that each booth generates a minimum revenue of $35,000 per week. “Those online booths give employment to about 3,000 employees — both men and women, the majority, being the latter,” the official said.

“This is going to have a negative impact on the country’s economy. I really don’t know what is happening. I hope the Government really knows what it is going to embark on and what impact it is going to have,” he added.

The official could not give an exact figure for the funds given to charity and cultural groups by the NLCB but confirmed that it runs into the hundreds of millions. During Wednesday’s Budget presentation, Prime Minister Patrick Manning, in his capacity as the Finance Minister announced that online gaming would be eventually eliminated.

Chairman of the NLCB, Louis Lee Sing chose not to comment on the matter.

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