The Gambling and Betting (Amendment) Act, 1996


The Act deals with the promotion, organizing and conducting of contests by a registered business.Businesses sometimes promote a contest in which purchasers are eligible to participate with the view to winning prizes offered in such contest.

The contest is a device whereby purchasers of goods or services from a business are given entry forms which are completed and deposited at specified locations and thereafter at a stipulated time and place are randomly drawn to determine the winners.

Since the method of determining the winner of a prize in such a contest is based on chance it is not clear as whether as the law now stands it is or not unlawful.

The contest envisaged by the new Part 11a is one which is not within the contemplation of the phrase �game of chance� or which falls within the definition of a lottery, gambling or betting, under the Gambling and Betting Act but is rather a commercial device which affords a purchaser of goods and services a chance of winning a prize.

This practice has been in vogue for quite sometime and is a recognisable and acceptable form of marketing strategy dealing with the promotion of sales in a free market economy. As such, there is nothing inherently wrong with such a device but as the law now stands it is considered unlawful.

The Act therefore, seeks to regularise and present commercial device and to put the law on an authoritative footing by making such a device lawful and at the same time prohibiting its promotion, organisation or conduct where such promotion, organisation or conduct is similar or equivalent to a lottery promoted, organised or conducted by the National Lotteries Control Board, thus confining such a device within the context of a commercial transaction.

Act No. 1 of 1997

An Act to amend the Gambling and Betting Act,


[Assented to 17th February, 1997]
Enacted by the Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago as Enactment follows:-

1. This Act may be cited as the Gambling and short title Betting (Amendment) Act, 1997.

2. The Gambling and Betting Act is amended by adding immediately after section 40 the following new Part as Part 11A:

“Part 11A



Interpretation 40A. In this Part-“Board means the National Lotteries Control Board established under the NationalLotteries Act;
Ch.21:04 “business”means any trade or profession registered under the Value Added Tax Act;
Act No. 37 of 1989 “conditions” includes orders or directives issuedby the Board;”contest” means any contest, competition, method or device organised on a sales promotion activity whereby prizes are distributed or allotted in any manner depending upon, or to be determined by, chance or lot, but does not include any contest, competition, method or device organised for profit;”customer” means a person who has purchased goods or services from a business;“device” and “method” include any system which allows a customer to participate directly in that system with the hope of winning a prize;“document” means a receipt or bill or any other written instrument, or any article or token, acknowledging the purchase of any goods or services from a business;

“entry form” in relation to ant contest or proposed contest, means any entry form to which there is attached a document evidencing the claim of a customer to participate in the

chances of the contest;

“money” includes any banknote or other negotiable instrument used or circulated, or intended for use or circulation, as currency;

“person” and “applicant” mean a person carrying on a business;

“prize” includes money or money’s worth;

“sales promotion activity” means any activity which stimulates, or is intended to stimulate, the purchase of goods or services from a business;

“to promote” includes to organise or to conduct.


Registered Business May Promote contest 40B. Notwithstanding the provisions of this Act,or any other written law respecting gambling,betting or lotteries, any person may, subject

sections 40C and 40D, promote a contest, and in

particular may-(a) issue entry forms for the contest(b) fix the number and value of the prizes to be apportioned; and(c) determine the time when, the place where, and the manner in which, drawings shall take place for the allotment of prizes.

Business to obtain permission From the Board to Promote Contest 40c. (i) No person shall promote any contestwithout first obtaining the permission of theBoard.

(2) Any person who contravenes subsection(1)

is liable on summary conviction to a fine of one hundred thousand dollars or to imprisonment for two years.

Permission to Promote contest 40D (1) Any person who wishes to promote acontest shall apply to the Board for permissionto do so.

(2) On receipt of the application, the Board shall, within two weeks, inform the applicant of its decision.

Board to grant Permission Only in cases Where goods Or services are Purchased 40E The Board shall grant permission topromote a contest only in cases where thecontest is related to the purchase of goods or


Board to Stipulate Conditions for Promoting contest 40F (1) Where the Board grants permission topromote a contest, the Board shall stipulatethe conditions under which the contest shall

be promoted.(2) Where a person fails to comply with the conditions stipulated by the Board, the Board shall serve notice on the person to discontinue the contest.(3) Any person who refuses to discontinue a contest after having been served with a notice to do so is liable on summary conviction to a fine of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars and to imprisonment for two years.

Conditions to Be stipulated By Board 40G Without restricting the generality of thepower of the Board under section 40F (1) theBoard may, in addition, stipulate the following conditions:(a) every contest shall be published in a daily newspaper circulating in Trinidad and Tobago stating that customers shall be eligible to take part in the contest;(b) entry forms for that contest shall be free of charge;

(c) the date and place for the drawings of prizes shall be published in a daily newspaper circulating in Trinidad and Tobago;

(d) the contest shall not be promoted for profit, but for the sole purpose of enabling a customer to win a prize;

(e) the drawings of prizes shall take place in the presence of a member of the Board or a person designated by the Board; and

(f) the name of the customer winning a prize or prizes shall be published in a daily newspaper circulating in Trinidad and Tobago.


Persons Refused permission may apply to Minister 40H (1) Where the Board refuses permissionto promote a contest,the applicant may, within two weeks apply to the Minister to review such decision.

(2) The Minister, on receipt of the application, shall, after consultation with the Director of Public Prosecutions affirm, vary or set aside the decision.”

Back to Top