by Linda Straker
- Importation of new slot machines currently banned
- Slot machines are often referred to as one-armed bandits
- Gambling Legislation became enforced in 2017
Rolanda McQueen, Opposition Senator in the Upper House of Parliament, is concerned about what she described as an increase in the number of “gambling houses that are popping up in every street corner in our communities.”
“I would like to say today, if we do not do something about it, it will be one of the biggest cancers. Grenada is going to suffer and I do hope that we are putting in place facilities to help these young men when they get addicted to the one-arm bandits,” she said during the recent sitting of the Senate.
Slot machines are often referred to as one-armed bandits, and several of these machines are located at different locations throughout the state. Before the 2016 Gaming Legislation was approved, there was no law to regulate that sector. The Gambling Legislation became enforced in 2017. That law establishes the Gaming Commission whose task is to inspect and licence all places with gaming facilities as well as issue licences to those who are engaging in ‘game of chance’ events.
The work of the Gaming Commission is separate and different from the Casino Commission. “That’s two different laws, and some might not be clear about that,” said Franklyn Redhead, Chairman of the Gaming Commission.
There is currently a ban on the importation of new slot machines, but a technical licence is issued for the importation of parts for repair of the machines that were already on the island when the law went into effect.
The law forbids the placement of these slot machines close to schools and churches, and the officials from the Gaming Commission are responsible for approving locations and conducting continuous inspections of these locations.
“Before an individual or company receives a licence to operate as a gaming location, there is a process because the gaming legislation provides guidelines as to where these gaming machines can be placed, so they cannot be popping any and everywhere,” said Redhead.