Some stakeholders in the horse racing industry are saying that when the Gambling and Betting Bill becomes law, the Arima Race Club (ARC) should pursue staging racing on a Sunday.
Sunday racing is part of the draft legislation in the Gaming and Betting Control Bill 2016 – a report of the Joint Select Committee was laid in the House of Representatives by Finance Minister Colm Imbert recently.
This is one of the initiatives that the ARC can pursue to lure race fans and their families back to horse racing at Santa Rosa Park.
In most developed countries around the world, horse racing is staged on a Sunday.
Imbert had said previously that not a dot or a comma was changed in the Gaming legislation which was drafted when the Kamla Persad-Bissessar PP government was in office.
The Bill was passed in the House and was sent to the Senate where it was referred to a Joint Select Committee (JSC).
But before the JSC could start to examine the legislation, Parliament was prorogued in 2015 to make way for the General Election.
When the PNM government came into office in 2015 the Bill was sent back to the JSC to prepare a report which took more than four years which Imbert presented in Parliament to be debated.
Imbert focused more on the appointment of a Commission and the members who would be appointed to the Board and the heavy fines in the report.
Some observers are saying that it appears that the Government is more focusing on regulating the casino industry, curbing fraud and money laundering and other criminal activities since Imbert made no mention of horse racing.
Attorney General Faris-al-Rawi said the provisions in the report were necessary to strengthen the ability of the police to pursue criminals who may be using casinos to launder money.
This rush to bring the report of the JSC to regulate the gambling industry comes on the heels of Al-Rawi going to Paris this week to try to get Trinidad and Tobago removed from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) blacklist.
T&T and 15 other countries were blacklisted by the FATF because it was not compliant with Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism.
Al-Rawi said T&T’s inability to be prepared to undergo its evaluation five years ago resulted in its lack of success.
He said T&T, in failing its January 2015 assessment, entered into that enterprise unprepared. T&T is now going in its fourth-round assessment.
The AG will argue before the FATF that T&T is putting legislation in place to combat money laundering and terrorism financing by regulating the multi- billion-dollar gaming industry.