In Lieu of US Ban on Online Gaming Transactions, Trinidad & Tobago moves to Ban all Gambling

The Caribbean twin island state of Trinidad and Tobago is about to ban online and land-based gambling and has already banned casino slot machines with almost immediate effect after Prime Minister Patrick Manning said that they encouraged vice. Mr. Manning said at his recent budget proposal speech that gaming activities are a ‘great concern’ to the country. He announced that he would also discontinue the Republic’s national lottery and declared that slot machines and casinos were illegal with immediate effect.

It seems that, unlike the US, Mr. Manning has no intentions of supporting land based gambling activities, especially the state lottery, which in many countries is the source for billions of dollars worth of revenue each year to support the building and renovation of schools and other necessary state expenses. Countries such as the US and Germany could not afford to fund many state expenses in the interest of their citizens without their state lotteries for revenue income.

In the US, state lotteries in 38 states support the funding of new schools, institutional, and educational expenses and in Germany, the million euro state lotteries mostly fund the country’s military expenditures. These are only a few examples.

No final date of implemetation was given for the Internet and online gambling ban by Mr. Manning. This development, which has surprised many in the country, comes just one week after the U.S. passed legislation to prohibit US based players and gamblers from using credit cards, cheques and electronic transactions to pay and play at online gaming establishments mostly based outside of the US.

Although the US has made it only illegal to transfer funds to online gambling sites, with yet the final bill to ban online gambling in its entity still to go through with George Bush’s final approval and signature, and which is expected in just a few weeks, the US has in no way made it illegal to gamble on land. In effect, the US government is forcing its citizens to spend their hard-earned income on US land based gambling such as race track, lotteries and brick and mortar land casinos.

According to the US Government Code Section 8880.5 “the use of (state) lottery funds are limited to instructional purposes and states that”…no funds shall be spent for…any other noninstructional purpose.” Currently, the support budget of the California State University is represented by the four “Program” categories of INSTRUCTION, ACADEMIC SUPPORT, STUDENT SERVICES, and INSTITUTIONAL SUPPORT. Lottery-funded instructional costs can best be defined as the program categories included in INSTRUCTION, ACADEMIC SUPPORT and in very limited instances to INSTITUTIONAL SUPPORT, since they represent costs most directly related to classroom instruction and system wide implementation costs”.

In the US state of Oregon, “Oregonians vote to approve the broad categories that may receive Oregon Lottery funds, and have approved Constitutional amendments allowing Lottery funds to be used for economic development (1984), public education (1995) and natural resource programs (1998). Then, every two years, Oregon’s Legislature and Governor decide which specific programs and projects within those categories receive Lottery profits. During the biennium (2001-2003), almost 63% of all Lottery profits, nearly $430 million were going to public education. The remainder goes to economic development, parks and natural resources, and problem gambling treatment programs”.

38 US states all have and will continue to have state lotteries; mostly supporting various types of educational funding and where voters can also apply for funding via application to each state.

Mrs. Manning, the Minister of Education of Trinidad & Tobago and the wife of the Prime Minister Mr. Manning, seems to have in no way tried to have influenced the Prime Minister in his decision to stop the state lottery rather than direct it towards the country’s own educational and institutional funding purposes. Trinidad & Tobago has apparently only recently opened a new University of Trinidad & Tobago (UTT) which could have well made more than sufficient use of the state’s lottery funds.

On further investigation of Trinidad & Tobago’s state lottery system however, it was not clear that the state lottery supported any public funds as is typical in most countries which operate state lotteries as a means of revenue. In countries where state lotteries are regarded as meaningful revenue, citizens are given the democratic right to gamble, if only to support state institutions; in essence, ‘vice’ is turned into ‘the good’. Through such methods, gamblers are free to engage in a ‘vice’ on their own responsibility whilst supporting state funding for much-needed education and state construction.

To date, our team has not been able to decipher whether the Trinidad & Tobago state lottery was ever mandated to report on its income and what the funds from the lottery were directed to achieve as a beneficial goal to the country’s citizens.

The opposition party in Trinidad & Tobago, having already delivered its’ response to Mr. Manning’s apparently shocking budget decision via Mrs. Kamla Persad-Bissessar, apparently did not comment on the issue of the intent to make internet gambling illegal as well as to stop all land casinos, gambling for monies ‘paid to the house’ and the state lottery from operating within the country.

Indeed, the Prime Minister seems to be on a hard line political drive to make it illegal for many of the country’s citizens to even gamble at their own homes without question as to the true reasons why other countries, with particular emphasis on the US, may be moving so aggressively against online gambling.

Needless to say, Mr. Manning has appeared to have taken his cue from an apparent incorrect perception of the real reasons why the US is presently cracking down on online and internet gambling (not house gambling); that is, essentially to keep it’s citizen’s money in its own ‘house’ together with all of the $12 billion dollars worth of yearly US dollars in profits which presently go out of the ‘house’ door to foreign-based online gaming companies.

Such a political move which the US has recently implemented has been criticized by many worldwide and in the US, to be fundamentally non-democratic and even socialist.
Many, including Americans, are beginning to ask themselves the question of what the Republicans would request of US citizens next; perhaps forbidding them to drink alcohol or to spend their hard-earned money for ‘foreign’ holidays on ‘local’ soil. Mr. Manning, along with his Budget speech, also delivered his intentions to raise serious taxes on smoking and alcohol products.

What with these new world developments, one is reminded in uncanny fashion of Adolf Hitler’s methods to encourage the German people to promote healthy lifestyles, engage heavily in sports, non-alcoholic consumption and to not partake in all forms of ‘vice’ which affect the body and mind and prevented one from becoming the ‘perfect race’. Hitler also encouraged his citizens to spend holidays on German territory and the like.

Many also expect that political moves such as the complete banning of state lotteries will further encourage governments to get their money from other sources because they are suddenly not able to earn sufficient revenue from its citizen’s activities, and are therefore far more likely to acquire much-needed funds through more illegal channels. In effect, as we have read on one site “such moves may lead to more state-controlled white washing of criminal money”.

It does not take much common sense to know that smoking in open areas on beaches, in parks and in cities much polluted by continuous industrial activity is far less likely to harm the collective health of all US citizens whilst the US government simultaneously moves to lessen or annihilate the much-needed political pressure on oil, gas and industrial companies to finally assume responsibility and finally and literally, pay the costs of cleaning up their immediate environmental pollution.

It does seem, however unintentional, that the politics of some countries seem to create and move more criminal activity into the forefront than foster new opportunities, desperately needed revenue and a basic freedom of choice in the interest of their public and the citizenry of their countries.

Change and the UK National Lottery

Lotteries Commission

Time evolves every second of every day and without us even noticing it. Substantial changes have taken place over the years to lotto and lottery based systems. One example of this is where the independent lotteries commissions throughout the Euro Lotto areas in the larger European countries and states now provides a sound legislative background to the way in which lottery draws are performed. None more so than the UK National Lottery which is fast approaching 20 years of existence. In the UK the lotteries commission is the platform for all the lotto type games to which many organizations are affiliated. This vast global market is experiencing exponential growth and development.

Games “Lotto Type”

Nearly always through time and with great consistency lotto type games have always been around. Today across the entire world and in every continent national lotteries form part of society and its cultural fabric. Surrounding elements which add to this are things like fads and fashions. Society is made up of many factors and influences which often question its direction and plays a big part in formulating its culture. Traditional types such as those tickets you can purchase through appointed ticket sellers as well as the more prevalent internet online e-lottery variations are so easy to get to that it is almost impossible not to be in a place where they are not sold. Choice of course is the option each person within reason has and it should never be said that lotteries and other gambling, betting arenas have to be used or for that matter abused. Given that choice is a great part of the lotto feeling persuasive methods therefore play an important part as well.

Marketing and Promotion

Today lotteries and lotto tend to be offered in many ways using diverse marketing and promotional methods. The use of the internet is massive in this area but the precursor and all time loved favorite is television. Other ways include radio, newspapers and magazines. In the United Kingdom the UK National Lottery and Euromillions draws take place on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday evenings respectively. Each edition is accompanied with artistic and showbiz content, that said, it becomes a very thrilling exhibition of heightened excitement. Television lottery advertisements give a picture of dream land, mystical and magical places designed to capture our minds. Whether it is the recognized traditional route or the more e-ticket online method more and more variations are falling in to place.

The beginnings which one can read about from ancient Egyptian and Roman times illustrate the drawing of lots which fundamentally has not altered. Bringing this in to the modern era, typically selected rows of numbers with lucky star, bonus ball and complimentary numbers, gives those number tricks which when in the right order or group of numbers can denote a lottery winner.

Computer Age Technology

Today, all sorts of games for assorted events take place; I suppose the raffle ticket is one approach with which most people associate their initial experience. More so in recent times with the age of technology particularly the computer age, it is the e-lottery route which is becoming more known. This has also moved on to the e-lottery syndicate style platform. The communication aspect is also very important. The educational output of schools today is computer based and therefore one would expect the attraction and application methods of lotteries to tie in to this, as is the case in many other walks of life. Taking in information can be more easily distributed in the correct receptive format. Here one can go from paper leaflets to the high end podcasts.

European Community Culture.

Even within our European community of cultures and their euro lotto offerings technology is having a huge part and exerting a great pressure on the behavioral patterns of lotto players. Later articles will examine some of these aspects in more detail. They will attempt to study features within differing socio – economic groups, the female population, moms at home as well as gaming characteristics across different European lotteries including the famed El Gordo which is regarded as the greatest lottery in the world and the mother of all Spanish Super draws.

One can determine your own conclusions as to the substance of information, marketing and the promotion of e-lottery based platforms. It is only when the study has been completed we will be able to make more scientific judgments.

Above all the series of articles will fashion a library of reference material so that most points surrounding the area can be studied and indexed. I often advise on the panel for a well known e-lottery syndicate team as to contemporary trends and bias in that particular market. This serves to be very useful in many ways, particularly where opinion is being sought and direction required. Again I will divulge some of these findings in later articles which I am sure will be of assistance and act as an informative platform.

The Financial Crisis in Greece and How It Affects the Euro

The financial debt crisis that started in Greece has spread like wildfire to countries like Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Ireland. With the future of the European economy becoming increasingly uncertain, it is important for traders and investors to take care of their assets. For this, you need to first know about how the debt crisis in Greece has affected the Euro and how big this issue is for the global economy.

The Greek economy is one of the top 30 largest economies in terms of gross domestic product (GDP) and purchasing power parity. Greece is also a member of the European Union, the OECD, the World Trade Organization, Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization, and the Eurozone.

Greece itself has a considerably high standard of living, and all signs were good for the economy of this historic European country until the early weeks of 2010, when anxiety began to grow about Greece’s ability to pay back its excessive national debt. This immediately led to a sovereign debt crisis that soon plunged Greece into an economic pitfall and political turmoil.

Greek politicians are blaming each other and various other factors and conditions for this sovereign debt crisis, but the fact is that the symptoms were obvious long ago and became noticeable enough for one to get concerned. Unfortunately, the European Union did nothing despite these signs, and the Greek economy’s deficit began to increase exponentially. A mixture of uncontrollable spending by the Greek economy and blind buying of Eurobonds by investors soon resulted in the crisis that has now affected Ireland, Spain, Portugal, and Italy.

The request for the IMF bailout package by the Greek government has not made things any better either. During the end of the first quarter of the year 2010, the Greek national debt was in an extremely bad position as fears of debt default began to grow all over the world. As a result, stock markets all over the world dipped along with the Euro.

With the Greek economy in turmoil, the value of the Euro plummeted, and with the stock market struggling, confidence in the performance of European economies soon took a dip as well. Ireland had a deficit of around 14% of their GDP, Spain had 11%, and Portugal had close to 10%. Due to the circumstances, these three nations were at highest risk of contracting the Greek debt crisis epidemic.

The European Union has already implemented measures to bail out Greece and other affected European countries from their current situation. However, these measures have come at the price of austerity measures for the affected economies. For Greece, this has meant huge budget cuts, exponential increases in taxes and pensions, and structural changes in the public service sector. However, all this has still not helped the economy to come out of debt.

In short, the future of the European economy looks uncertain for now, and as investors, you need to be warned about the possible effects of this on the macro environment.