Simon’s Guide to Gambling in Trinidad and Tobago

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This is a picture of the beach of Trinidad and Tobago. The most unregulated gambling market in the Caribbean.

Gambling in Trinidad and Tobago

Trinidad and Tobago is a small Caribbean twin island country off the northern edge of South America.

The gambling sector of Trinidad and Tobago is exceptionally unregulated, but nevertheless a thriving industry. No government since 1955 attempted to create a coherent legal framework for controlling and overseeing gambling operations and issuing licenses.

Betting shops and betting activities are regulated in the Gambling and Betting Act*, last amended in 2014, but over a dozen casinos operate on the islands of Trinidad and Tobago basically without any regulations.

So called Private Member Clubs, regulated by the 1955 piece of legislation, Registration of Member Clubs Act also started to offer slot machines and other gambling machines to their visitors in recent years. Gambling in these venues is not properly regulated either. Nevertheless, in 2012, it was estimated, that Member Clubs maintain employment of some 7000 persons with an associated weekly wage bill of $6.7 million, and also provided increased tax revenue – 2012 excise taxes alone amounted to $28 million*.

In 2013, Finance Minister Larry Howai called for the much needed regulation of the industry in order to reduce social harms and money laundering and increase tax revenues from the sector*. The draft legislation was first introduced into the House of Representatives on May 22 this year. While there are many concerns in relation with the draft, including the alleged excessive criminalisation of some gambling related activities, it would, for the first time provide a proper legal framework for controlling the gambling industry in Trinidad and Tobago as well as the licensing and taxation of casinos and other gambling facilities.

The legislation would address online operators as well. For now, online gambling too is unregulated, and although the state does not issue licenses, residents are free to play on foreign platforms as much as they want. However, this might change in the near future, when the The Gambling (Gaming and Betting) Control Bill currently being discussed in the parliament is enacted.

 

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*1. Source: The Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago – Gambling and Betting Act 2015 with amendments

*2. Source: The gaming industry… making it relevant (Trinidad and Tobago Newsday)

*3. Source: Media Release: Private Members Club (PMC)

 

Summary:

 

 

Casino gambling in Trinidad and Tobago

 

Online casino gambling in Trinidad and Tobago: not regulated

 

Casinos are not specifically authorized by the current gambling legislation, but that doesn’t stop over a dozen such venues from operating on the islands of Trinidad and Tobago. Approximately 90 of the so called Private Members Clubs are also in operation in the country. These clubs offer slot machines and various kinds of gaming machines to their visitors. The legislation expected to be put in force in the near future would tighten the governments control over these, but for now, they run in a largely unregulated manner.

Online casinos are not specifically mentioned in the regulations and under current laws foreign operators are free to offer their services to residents of Trinidad and Tobago and players from the country are free to participate in any such game.

 

 

 

Bingo in Trinidad and Tobago

 

Online Bingo in Trinidad and Tobago: not regulated

 

Brick and mortar Bingo halls are also allowed to operate on Trinidad and Tobago under the current legislation. There are quite a few such venues scattered across the islands.

For now, online Bingo halls are unregulated and therefore are free to access for residents of Trinidad and Tobago. This might change, however when the new Bill is enacted.

 

 

 

Poker in Trinidad and Tobago

 

Online Poker in Trinidad and Tobago: not regulated

 

Most of the over a dozen brick and mortar casinos on the islands of Trinidad and Tobago offer Poker games, and some of the over 90 Private Member Clubs also have operating Poker tables as well as video Poker machines.

Online Poker, just like all other forms of online gambling is unregulated under current law, therefore most major Poker sites accept players from Trinidad and Tobago.

 

 

Sports Betting in Trinidad and Tobago

 

Online sports Betting in Trinidad and Tobago: unregulated

 

Sports betting is regulated and licensed according to the Gambling and Betting Act of 1963, last amended in 2014. Land based betting shops are legal and quite few can be found around the islands of Trinidad and Tobago, although recently they’re loosing ground to their foreign online counterparts.

Although the state doesn’t licence online bookmakers, it is also not prohibited by the current legislation.

Residents of Trinidad and Tobago are free to use these platforms.

 

 

 

Lottery in Trinidad and Tobago

 

Online lottery in Trinidad and Tobago: state monopoly, no online platform

 

The National Lottery of Trinidad and Tobago is conducted under the National Lotteries Act of 1970. All other lotteries are outlawed by the Gambling and Betting Act of 1963. The national Lottery does not currently offer an online platform for players to participate in its games, which include lottery, instant win games and scratch cards. Playing on foreign online lotteries doesn’t seem to be an offence, however.

 

 

 

Bitcoin Gambling in Trinidad and Tobago

 

Bitcoin Gambling in Trinidad and Tobago: not regulated

 

Transactions in Bitcoin are legal in Trinidad and Tobago, no specific restrictions regarding the cryptocurrency currently exist in the country. Although the Central Bank did issue a warning about the risks of using Bitcoin last year.

There are no restrictions on foreign online casinos specialising in the digital currency, currently. They will more than like fall under the scope of the forthcoming Gambling Bill, but for now, Bitcoin casinos are not specifically regulated and therefore residents of Trinidad and Tobago are free to use such platforms.

 

 

 

Online gambling websites accepting players from Trinidad and Tobago

 

Online gambling is not regulated in Trinidad and Tobago – until the currently discussed draft regulation is signed into law, anyway. In the meantime, the vast majority of foreign gambling operators accept players from the country.

 

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BGO casino – accepting players from Trinidad and Tobago

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BGO online bookmaker accepting players from Trinidad and Tobago

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32 Red casino accepting players from Trinidad and Tobago

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32 Red online bookmaker, sports betting website accepting players from Trinidad and Tobago

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Black Lotus casino accepting players from Trinidad and Tobago

 

 

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This page is part of Simon’s List – Legal Status of Online Gambling – a definitive guide to the legal status of all forms of online gambling activities in every country around the world.

 

Last updated: 2015 October 8

Summary
Article Name
Simon's Guide to Gambling in Trinidad and Tobago
Description
An overview of the legal status of the various form of online and offline gambling in Trinidad and Tobago. For now, gambling is largely unregulated on this Caribbean island nation, but this might change with the impending legislative overhaul of gambling laws.
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