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Government legalizes casinos

Dili Weekly - March 15, 2017

Venidora Oliveira – Police have ended their operations targeting illegal casinos in Dili after the government, through the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Environment, legalized the gambling venues.

Second General Commander National Police of Timor-Leste (PNTL), Commissioner Faustino da Costa said under the law, the government previously banned casinos.

He said police decided to end operations after discussions with the Public Ministry as the majority of casinos were now legally allowed to operate. He said the government made the decision to better control security and generate state revenue through taxes.

However, he called on the government to provide the PNTL with data on the number of casinos operating so that it was easier to control. He said police were currently only aware of two casinos: one in Dili and another in Covalima.

Meanwhile, MP Jacinta Abuc Cau Pereira acknowledged that illegal gambling venues in Dili had continued to thrive despite the government ban. "It has been legalized now as based on experience it is very difficult for the government to control this type of gambling," she said.

While she supported the government's decision, she also called for adequate regulations to prevent young people and children participating in gambling. "Otherwise it may ruin their mentality and their future," she said.

National MP Arao Noe also agreed with the decision, but said stronger controls and security were needed.

He said, gambling had an integrated impact on families, particularly if the head of the family was involved. "If he spends a lot of money on gambling, how can he save money for his children's schooling?" he said.

Source: http://www.thediliweekly.com/en/news/14413-government-legalizes-casinos