National Lotteries Control Board (NLCB) executives are confused
about the directions for the State enterprise money-spinner announced
in the 2008-2009 national budget.
theyre anxiously awaiting clarification from Finance Minister
Karen Nunez-Tesheira and her ministerial understudy, Senator Mariano
theyre looking on the bright side, hoping that the NLCBs
popular games of chance, like Play Whe, Pick 2, Cashpot and Lotto,
have a shelf life of at least four more years.
fact, in-the-know NLCB executive sources say they are looking at
giving Play Whe a shot in the arm by helping punters counter double-digit
inflation by offering $30 to $1.
will be a 20 per cent hike of $6 on each dollar placed on the winning
mark from a selection panel of numbers, one to 36, inclusive.
PNM stalwart, NLCB chairman Louis Lee Sing was not available for
comment in days since the budget was announced, since he was out
of the country and is due back tomorrow.
not available for comment was acting NLCB director Phyllis Borde.
the executive source, who asked to remain anonymous, disclosed that
the NLCB had on the table plans to raise the Play Whe payout to
counter the competition that bush Whe Whe bankers was
presenting to the boards legalised game, which has been in
operation since 1994.
source acknowledged that the purchasing power of a TT dollar 12
years ago had shrunk by nearly 75 per cent.
are trying to give something back; we are wrestling with it. But
we have overheads and the bush bankers dont, the source
NLCB also was actively reviewing its Cashpot game, in the realisation
that raising the choice of numbers from a pot of one to 20 to one
to 25, in order to widen the base of the payout, had all but crippled
said the NLCB was considering going back to selecting the five winning
numbers from one to 20, but the decisions on both Play Whe and Cashpot
would have to be given the green light by Lee Sing and one of the
budget delivered last Monday stated that the NLCB had been mandated
to review its operations, with the specific aim at reviewing its
operations to eliminate all games of chance in the short term...
the source said in the wake of another threat voiced against the
NLCB by Prime Minister Patrick Manning for the 2007-2008 budget,
G-Tech, the NLCBs technical arm in charge of orchestrating
the televised games, got a five-year contract renewal.
was this contract that gave the NLCB hope that it had at least four
more years of operation.
we have four more years, why not operate all the games right down
to the wire?
dont understand what is short-term.
the Finance Minister meant that she expected the games to be phased
out one by one.
that does not make sense, so we need some explanation, the
Sunday Guardian was told.
budget also stated the NLCB would have the responsibility to regulate
casino gambling, and this is another area that the board is seeking
NLCB had finally ironed out kinks at its play booths nationwide.
For example, after having fielded countless complaints over the
years from punters about excessive problems encountered to collect
winnings (for example the $800 for correctly selecting the Pick
2 numbers drawn), the NLCB had warned booth operators to keep enough
cash handy to pay punters and they were co-operating fully.
punter experiencing problems to collect can call us directly at
623-1831 or 1833 and we will solve their problems in quick time,
the official boasted.
said the NLCB had created more than 100 millionaires through the
board did not keep track of them after giving them their cheques,
but, as he put it, the feedback was for the most part they had done
well for themselves.
board, he revealed, took steps to ensure that big money winners
coming to the Duke Street, Port-of-Spain, head office to collect
their cheques were not readily identifiable by members of the public.