Trinidad Express / The Whe Whe gamble, which was made illegal and driven underground, is set to make a come-back.
On social media and on the street, punters are vilifying Government for its decision to take a 10 per cent bite out of all National Lotteries Control Board (NLCB) winnings, which includes the Lotto Plus jackpot, Cash Pot, and the popular Play Whe.
The NLCB tax was one of most talked-about measures coming out of the 2017-2018 Budget presented by Finance Minister Colm Imbert on Monday.
When the State employed the Whe Whe concept and made it the NLCB’s Play Whe in 1994, many saw it as the end of the village gamble and “buss mark” in the bush.
But whe whe, introduced by the Chinese in the 19 th century, and which made millionaires out of people skilled at nothing else, never went away.
The bankers adapted, offering a 30 to 1 pay out on the winning mark announced on television. The legal version only paid 24 to 1.
The “runners” (those who collected the bets) never lost their jobs visiting homes and businesses to offer capiche advice.
And to this day, the whe whe is still played, with a version available at some Chinese supermarkets where the pay out is as high as 34 to 1.
Betting and Gambling Act penalises any person caught with “the mark” with a $3,000 fine or year in jail.