By Kamal Haynes, BVI News Staff
Once the government’s proposed gambling legislation becomes law, persons who fail to abide by the local gaming regulations can be fined up to $20,000 and spend up to five years in prison for a single gambling offence.
This is according to Part VIII of the Gambling (Gaming and Betting) Control Act, 2020, which outlines the offences and penalties of the Act.
Section 70 of the Act states that persons who conduct gambling or facilitate the act of gambling without a valid appropriate license under the Act commits an offence and is liable to face either of the aforementioned penalties.
Cheaters will face stiff penalties
The Act also outlines that cheaters of any kind, whether a licensee or associate of an employee or patron, will not be tolerated in the territory.
Section 72 of the Act says, “a person shall not instruct another person in cheating or in the use of any equipment for that purpose, with the knowledge or intent that the information or use so conveyed may be employed contrary to the provisions of this Act.”
It continued: “A person who contravenes any provision of this section commits an offence and shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding $10,000, or a term of imprisonment not exceeding two years.”
Betting in streets and public places prohibited
Provisions are also in place for persons caught gambling in a street or public place. This is an offence. Such persons can be fined up to $5,000 or face up to six months in prison or both, once convicted.
Under the Act, a police officer will also have the authority to seize and detain any item found on persons caught gambling in a street or public place and can take such persons into custody without a warrant.
Minors nor permitted to gambling
The Act also states that minors (persons under 18 years) are prohibited from participating in any form of gambling — including for employment purposes — and persons who encourage such activities by minors will face criminal charges.
“A person who knowingly invites, permits or causes a minor to enter licensed premises, other than a racetrack, commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding $10,000, or to a term of imprisonment of two years, or to both such fine and term of imprisonment,” Section 78 states.
Copies of rules of games should be on display in establishments
Meanwhile, Part IV of the Act speaks specifically to the regulations regarding gaming.
It states that establishments should have on display the copies of rules of all games played within the entity, to allow patrons to properly decide whether they want to engage in the gaming system.
It also says that persons should not participate in gaming if not physically present on the premises where the gaming is taking place.
Private gaming legal
The Act, however, states that private gaming is exempted from all the regulations of the Act, once it takes place in a private dwelling and members of the public have no access to the place where the gaming is in progress.
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