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Gambling a major worry


marciadottin, [email protected]

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GAMBLING among schoolchildren on school premises is a cause of serious concern. Acting Prime Minister Freundel Stuart revealed this in the House of Assembly yesterday during debate on the Betting and Gaming Duties (Amendment) Bill, 2010. Suart said it was a practice that had to be brought to an immediate halt.He drew attention to the recent death of a schoolboy at Lightfoot Lane, St Michael, during a gambling game and said that was an unfortunate example of what could befall children who indulged in such behaviour.Stuart stated that churches and sporting organisations sometimes resorted to forms of gambling to earn income or keep themselves viable, but this should not be taken as licence for children to become involved in gambling activity.Looking at gambling within the context of economic necessity and ethics, Stuart said the practice had always been a tightrope on which social leaders walked.However, he stressed Barbados was not a society built by people who surrendered their lives to “luck and chance”. He said Barbados had been built by hard work, planning and financial prudence. Stuart said there were wealthy people who could afford to lose money through gambling but the poorest sections of the community could not afford to.“People have to be taught from at school the virtues of saving, planning and working hard as the most desirable route to success in Barbados,” he said.The amendment brought by Government will allow for greater legislative control over video lottery terminals without apertures which feature at locations other than arcades and hotels.No licence fees similar to those paid by arcades and hotels have been previously paid by owners of video lottery terminals.Stuart explained that the Comptroller of Customs previously granted licence for the importation of 349 gaming machines by a company but they were not released immediately because of a restriction by the Betting and Gaming Committee that they should only be placed where existing slot machines were located.He explained that restriction was removed in 2008 by an administrative decision that allowed importers access to the machines following the removal of the apertures into which money was inserted. The machines were then placed at locations other than those to which slot machines were legally allocated.
(WG)

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