More inspections on hotel gambling

The Abu Dhabi Economy and Planning Department has intensified inspections at game and video parlours situated within hotels across the Middle Eastern emirate in a new crackdown on gambling activity, according to reports in the newspaper Khaleej Times this week.

The renewed enforcement activity follows the confiscation of 190 gambling devices and the arrest of 19 people for allegedly taking part in gambling games at parlours in some hotels in the capital last week, the newspaper reports.

Mohamad Al Rumeithi, Director of the Commercial Protection Department, said that the department would ensure that the game centres do not use machines for gambling games to get teenagers' pocket money which is against the law, and that officials in his department are paying inspection visits in coordination with warrant-armed police.

Owners of game centres caught breaching the permit conditions would be referred to the prosecutor's office on fraud and practising an unlawful business charges, he warned.

Al Rumeithi reminded all interested parties that gambling games are banned in the Emirate, and that this ban includes hotels. Hoteliers found running gambling operations will have permits withdrawn and the establishments closed, he said.

Lieutenant-Colonel Ibrahim Hamad Al Hana'i, Head of the Organised Crime Section, Criminal Investigation Department (CID), said owners of the hotels from where gambling machines were seized had managed to earn a lot of money by conning gamblers, offering cash and other prizes for winners.

"They had converted legal video game machines to gambling machines. The seized machines were imported by a trading company operating in the country under a false category," he said.

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