70 Finches Seized at US Airport – Would Have Been Part of Guyanese Betting Game
A man was recently caught at JFK Airport in New York attempting to smuggle South American finches into the US. The man had dozens of birds, and the finches are coveted property in his native Guyana. Guyanese people love the birds for their melodious chirp. However, officials are fearful that the birds could spread disease.
How the Birds Were Smuggled
Around 70 finches were hidden in a shipment of hair rollers at JFK Airport. A US Customers and Border Protection specialist inspected luggage from an unidentified male and found the birds. A few of the birds died in route.
It is believed that the birds were going to be sold to immigrants from Guyana. Guyanese people often play a game that involves betting on how much the finches chirp per minute, according to Custom spokesman, Anthony Bucci.
Bucci stated, “they may ultimately wind up as a pet, but within the Guyanese community [betting] is the primary purpose.” Bucci also confirmed that the passenger was sent back to Guyana without being admitted into the United States.
The finches were euthanized after being quarantined by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Veterinary Services. The organization is an USDA agency. Photos were also released on the CBP Twitter page. The photos showed the birds squeezed into hair rollers; small nets covered each end of the rollers.
The finches can spread infections including avian influenza, also known as bird flu. This sickness was an epidemic in 2015, and resulted in the culling of 50 million commercial chickens and turkeys. The epidemic also cost $850 million in damage, according to the CBP officials.
Gambling in Guyana
Guyana is only behind Suriname, French Guiana, and Falkland Islands (also known as Islas Malvinas) as South America’s smallest country. Guyana is a tourist attraction because of its rainforests, British colonial architecture, calypso music, and rich Caribbean culture. Gambling was introduced to the country early. However, the practice is not as common as foreigners may think.
Guyana is divided into three regions: Essequibo, Berbice, and Demerara. These regions were colonized by the Dutch in 1616, 1627, and 1752, respectively. In 1796, the regions were taken over by the British; the Dutch left Guyana in 1814. The country was ruled by the British Empire until Guyana gained its independence in 1966. Guyana became the Co-operative Republic of Guyana in 1970, but gambling was introduced to the country before its independence.
Gambling was practiced in Guyana even when it was not legal. The Gambling Prevention Act was effective in the country as early as 1902. The act has undergone several modifications. The most recently amendment was made in 2007. This led to the formation of the Gaming Authority.
The Gaming Authority regulated casinos in Guyana. Initially, natives of the country were not permitted to enter casinos. The entire country was only permitted to have three casinos, which were created as tourist attractions. Although Guyana can have three casinos, there are currently two casinos in the country. This is largely because Guyana is governed by strict gambling regulations.
Small betting games like the ones that involve finches are common in Guyana. The overall gambling climate is moderate. The Guyana Princess Hotel offers limited gambling, as does the Sleepin Hotel and Carnival Casino.
Visitors can also go to online casinos while in Guyana to gamble in the comfort of their hotel rooms. Casinos and gambling are lawful, regulated, and licensed by the Guyana Gaming Authority and according to the Gambling Prevention Act.
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As an avid video poker player and lover of real money online blackjack, Thomas is the founder and guiding voice behind the Top Casino Picks community. A project manager at a London based Fortune 500 tech company, Thomas is an online casino enthusiast who founded TCP as a hobby to help other players avoid the headaches and hassles he has encountered when trying to find the best real money online casinos.
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