Casino industry faces closure

Local casino workers are blaming their foreign colleagues for bringing the industry back into the Government’s focus.

Brian Phillip, president of the Association of Members Clubs (AMC) of Trinidad and Tobago, said concerns over illegal and immoral activity in local casinos and members clubs have come as a result of an influx of foreigners entering the industry.

Phillip said that local owners are open to regularisation which allowed the relevant authorities to monitor tax return and money transfer within their businesses but many foreigners are opposing regularisation for their own reasons.

The AMC‘s mission statement says its members work in full compliance of with all local legislation and aim at protecting the industry and its employees, he said.

„However we have realised that we cannot do that if some members are opposing the regularisation process, so the local clubs are now standing alone and in opposition to the opening of new foreign-owned clubs.“

Phillip said he was strongly opposed to the opening of the two most recently approved foreign-owned clubs. He said the AMC created self regulatory controls which stated they would not increase the numbers of members clubs as a result of the government’s concerns.

„We want regularisation much like the systems which exist in other islands like Barbados, St Lucia and St Kitts and we have complied to stop advertising and the proliferation of gambling but the foreign club owners did not comply.“

He said they were hurting the case of the AMC which is now involved in discussions with Minister in the Ministry of Finance Conrad Enill to finding a solution which did not involve eliminating the industry which provided jobs and safe entertainment for thousands.