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Judge okays Piarco lotto machine

News day / Justice Frank Seepersad ordered the AATT to allow the vendor, Shaffie Mohammed, to reopen his lotto booth in an injunction lawsuit which he filed against the AATT.

Mohammed, of Arima, had filed the lawsuit against the AATT claiming that he took over operation of a lotto booth from a tenant on the airport’s ground floor just after the old terminal building was condemned upon a construction of the new airport in 2001. Following the formal opening of the new airport, Mohammed stated in his lawsuit that he was in the process of transferring the lotto machine to a new space at the airport when he received a letter from the AATT.

It cited the section 20 regulation which states that no person shall at any place at the airport operate any gambling or gaming device.

The letter, however, admitted that the section 20 regulation was an outdated law because there are legal forms of gambling in Trinidad and Tobago which are controlled by the National Lotteries Control Board (NLCB).

Senior Counsel Anand Ramlogan and attorney Alvin Pariagsingh argued Mohammed’s injunction before Justice Seepersad, in which they contended that the AATT ought not to have refused Mohammed to continue with operating a lotto machine based on the fact that it had allowed the previous operator to do so. Senior Counsel Elton Prescott represented the AATT.

Justice Seepersad stated that there was evidence which could lead a court to conclude that the AATT knew of the operation of a lotto machine since 1995, and permitted same despite the section 20 regulation. In fact, the judge added, the said lotto booth was advertised on the AATT’s website.

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