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NCFC warns against allowing children to gamble

Ordinarily, gamblers are left to their own vices and there is not much ado over the various forms.  Belizeans are known for being avid boledo buyers while some are very much into the Fantasy 5 and Pick 3.  Of recent, the Scratch and Win gambling game is gaining ground and while it is not illegal for adults to take their chances, the National Committee for Families and Children has taken issue with children taking part.  Ava Diaz-Sosa is the Information, Education and Communications Officer, at NCFC; she told Love News that parents need to keep in mind the message they are sending their children when they are allowed to purchase any form of gambling game.

Ava Diaz- Sosa, Information, Education and Communications Officer, NCFC: “The National Executive Committee of the National Committee for Families and Children met and at that meeting, we were looking at issues affecting children and children’s wellbeing. One of the concerns that came out was that of children purchasing lottery and scratch, that is in direct contravention of the laws of Belize. The lotteries act, chapter 151 section 14 speaks specifically to that issue that any person that sells lottery to a child under 16 commits an offense and it’s an offense that is liable to a fine not exceeding a thousand dollars or imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or it can be both. We felt that maybe the public might not be aware that there is indeed such a law and so we thought by sending out this press release, it’s a reminder for those who might know and information for those who might know that the law exists. In fact, it was brought to our attention that there are instances where children take their lunch money to buy scratch, again against the law and that is the reason for us issuing that statement.”

Diaz-Sosa explained that the shopkeepers need to realize that they are committing an offense by selling these tickets to children. Alex Gamero is the Director of Scratch and Win.  Love News spoke with him today to get his feedback on the release by NCFC regarding children and gambling.

Alex Gamero, Director, Scratch and Win: “We already publish it on the back of every ticket that says you must be eighteen to play. Every time we put up any kind of marketing material, whether it’s on Facebook or posters that say you must be eighteen to play, all our agents have been informed and over informed that they need to follow the law. I mean we’ve done everything that we could possibly do to try and make sure that our agents are following the law and that these tickets are not being sold to children that are under eighteen. The law is very clear, you have to be eighteen years or older to participate in any type of lottery or any type of gambling, there is no ifs ands or buts about it. This is not a game for children and we want to put our voice together with NCFC’s memo that they put out that we condemn any children playing these types of game

NCFC calls on the Belize Police Department to look into this issue on the parenting and shop keepers’ standpoint.