Guyanese using loopholes to access Princess casino
- Gaming Authority eyes controller at doors
By Leonard Gildarie
The country’s regulator for casinos is contemplating placing controllers at the doors to prevent Guyanese from illegally entering.
The admission from officials of the Gaming Authority comes amidst increasing complaints that locals have been allowed to enter the casino at the Princess Hotel in Providence despite being barred by the laws.
While the casino management made it clear yesterday that only guests of the hotel and foreign nationals are the ones allowed in, there have been reports that loopholes are being used to allow Guyanese to enter.
Some enterprising Guyanese are now booking rooms for a day thus qualifying as guests. Others are reportedly tagging along with the casino members who have privileges of taking guests into the hotel.
While the hotel and casino’s General Manager, Nuri Konuralp Tufekcier, was unavailable for comment, another manager insisted that only guests and foreigners are allowed in the casino.
The casino has been a popular spot for especially the Chinese and Brazilians.
Speaking with Kaieteur News yesterday, a member of the Gaming Authority indicated that the regulatory body has been considering placing personnel at the doors of the casino. However, the authority’s hands are tied since it is short-staffed.
Gambling in Guyana, as far as casinos are concerned, is a complex matter, the official said.
The issue has been a troubling one for Guyana with the religious bodies strongly against it when the idea of casinos was first publicly introduced in earnest.
However, legislation had been tabled that blocked Guyanese from flocking the casinos.
There are, however, still arguments that Guyana should move more in line with other Caribbean territories, like Suriname for instance, where several casino licences have been granted in recent years.
In January 2009, the authority held its first meeting under the Chairmanship of former Public Works Minister, Anthony Xavier.
Other members of the authority named at the time were Roxanne Reece, Captain Gerald Gouveia, Oscar Phillips and Willet Hamilton, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Industry & Commerce.
The authority considered applications by The Georgetown Investments and Management Services Inc for a Premises Licence and an application by Princess Hotel – Casino Guyana for Operator’s Licences.
The Authority was established on December 1, 2008, by the Minister of Home Affairs in accordance with Section 32(1) (c) of the Gaming Prevention (Amendment) Act.
According to the Regulations made under the Gambling Prevention (Amendment) Act, the Gaming Authority shall be the body responsible for the issuance of licences under section 32 of the Act; the monitoring of casino operations in Guyana; the administration of regulations made under the Act and advising the Minister with respect to the administration of the regulations or any other relevant matter.
In February, the Guyana Government announced that former Minister of Tourism, Manniram Prashad, will be heading the new Gaming Authority Board.
Other members of the board include Oscar Phillips, former Minister of Labour, Manzoor Nadir and Indranuath Haralsingh. Another person is also to be named as a board member.
Under regulations, hotels with 150 rooms can apply for a casino licence.