Man fined $10 for lottery tickets

Fine is maximum allowed by The Gambling Law

A man found in possession of two lottery tickets was fined $10 last week by Magistrate Nova Hall.  

She said Chris Robert Welcome was charged under section 6 of the Gambling Law, so that was the maximum fine she could impose. “I know every time section six comes up I wonder, are they going to amend the law?” she asked. Section 6, in general, deals with people who buy lottery tickets. A guilty person is liable to a fine of $10 or to imprisonment, with or without hard labour, for two months. 

Welcome’s case was different from that of a lady who was fined $350 earlier in the week; her conviction was for selling numbers. She was charged under section 4, which has a penalty of up to $400 or imprisonment for 12 months (Caymanian Compass, 9 August). 

Both penalties have been in effect since 1963. The Gambling Law was revised in 1996, but the revision process does not allow for changes in substance. All it can do is consolidate the main law with later amendments and make an alteration to bring the law into conformity with the circumstances of these Islands. 

In this case, the change of circumstances was the change of the Cayman Islands’ currency from British pounds to CI dollars. Ten dollars was considered to be the equivalent of the 1963 fine of five pounds (and $400 the equivalent of 200 pounds). 

Welcome pleaded guilty to possession of the lottery tickets after an incident that occurred during a traffic stop on 29 November 2010. Crown Counsel Laura Manson and defence attorney John Furniss provided the background to the charge.  

They said officers were conducting the check along West Bay Road and stopped Welcome’s car. They questioned him about the degree of tint on the windows; an argument developed and “things went a little awry,” Mr. Furniss said. Officers subsequently requested a search. As one of them began to search Welcome, he pushed the officer’s hands away. This resulted in a charge of assaulting an officer in the execution of his duty. A search of the vehicle resulted in the finding of the two lottery tickets. Mr. Furniss said Welcome, 29, regretted the incident. “The last thing he wants to happen is to ever be back before the court again,” he said. 

The fine for assault was $400 or 40 days in custody; the fine for the lottery tickets was $10 or one day. 


  1. It is absolutely amazing that the judicial system would take up its time with the prosuction of an individual for the possesion of 10 worth of lottery tickets. To think that a magistrate, the courts time and the manpower used to process this useless crime against society would even get recognized is mind blowing.

    Maybe Mr. Bush could dedicate a moment of his precious time and change the law as he usually does when something doesnt fit his eye.Never mind sir, he would think this is a great use of the taxpayers money.

    Please tell me Mr. Editor that this story does not get seen in other parts of the world. I would dread to think that people would see this and wonder if we here in Cayman have all become demented.

  2. Not to mention a waste of everyone’s time. What bird-brain would lay these charges for such a ridiculous law in the First place ??? Well, I guess the guy was being belligerent and rude. But really — it’s time to get rid of this law — there is no need for it. Lottery tickets are sold all over North America and there’s nothing illegal about them.

  3. When I was a student in Catholic grammar school, the nuns could take a look at us in class and tell that we were harboring impure thoughts and punish us with a pointer stick. This shojuld be a lesson for government as there are untold impure thoughts and acts that are just waiting to be discovered and legislated against resulting in a good, severe, punishment. If tinted windows are illegal, issue a citation accordingly. There’s no need for a search, an arrest, a trial over something so petty. Too bad the officers could not have determined an impure thought.

  4. Sometimes you have to read deeper, not just skim across the article.

    The man did not have lottery tickets like the ones sold at gas stations in the states. He had tickets for a back door lotto, numbers as we call them here. Lottery tickets for US lottos are not illegal here as someone here won a US lotto a while back.

    It was not 10 worth of number tickets, it was a 10 fine for having the number tickets.

    That being said, 10 is nothing to pay for a fine, it really should be 1500 or more to deter people from buying them and to make it worthwhile for Govt to prosecute them.

  5. Sorry Bubba – but we can see the articles outside of Cayman. I live in Canada and follow the Compass stories regularly.
    This is a riduculous waste of resources to prosecute someone for the possession of tickets. And a 10 fine? Can that even buy anyone lunch anymore?
    Revenues that result from the sales of lottery tickets sold here in Canada (and in the US, Europe etc.) are used to build schools and hospitals and do a great deal of good for many communities.
    The circumstances with Mr. Welcome just prove that people are going to gamble – whether it is deemed illegal or not. At least if the Cayman Government legalizes it, they can set standards, age limits and put the revenues to things that can benefit these beautiful islands. And then maybe the police can focus on more important matters.

  6. Hey,
    The US intended that money to go to education but IT NEVER GETS THERE! We don’t know where it is.
    Schools are being closed because THERE’S NO FUNDING?!

    Ya Think the lottery is still a good thing and can do great things?
    think again. Just draws more crooks that’s all.

  7. Do you actually realise the hypocrisy of your statements and the law regarding possession of lottery tickets and gambling in general, in the Cayman Islands ?

    How is buying tickets for the US lottery, which is quite legal in the USA different from buying tickets for the numbers game which are sold in Cayman but the games are played in Honduras, Colombia or elsewhere ?

    I’ve never bought a piece of numbers tickets in Cayman in my life but I do know that the games are played in other countries and not in Cayman.

    At the end of the day, the only reason lottery gambling (numbers buying, same game, same difference) is still illegal in Cayman is because it is run by little people for little people; it is not a ‘big man’ racket…

    And, it cuts into the church and civic clubs gambling of throwing raffles for big prizes, much more in value than what a little numbers player will make on their little bets with the numbers man.

    This hypocrisy makes Cayman a truly sickening place.

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