Just as the internet disrupted other business models, it is also changing the gambling industry. In fact, at one time, the biggest Numbers boss on the island was the treasurer of the PLP. Password Confirm password Email. Insights The compromise was based on a number of insights and had various components. Those opposed to prohibition point to concerns about enforcement costs, not to mention the huge incentives to lobby and bribe public officials to allow illegal gambling to continue unmolested. Let us come together to work out a plan of action, as promised by the government. Only a handful of Las Vegas-style casino zones are now allowed in isolated areas.

Pandora’s Box: Why residents should not be allowed to gamble in casinos

Gambling In The Bahamas

Once legalized, whether it is a national lottery or web cafe, there will have to be a systematic way to regulate the amount of revenue being generated by each franchise holder or licensee. To achieve this will require a robust telecommunication broadband infrastructure that the government will use to determine on a monthly cycle how much revenue has been earned in regards to taxation. This network will also have to be certified for security and assurance of any type operational delays similar to the network currently used by the government for services such as finance, police and the Road Traffic Department.

Much focus will have to be on the marketing and promotional aspect of a national lottery or web cafes. There will be a need for web sites and marketing firms to promote this new industry to the world and visiting tourist who may also want to participate in local gaming.

It will also require national gaming officers to travel daily to ensure there are no unauthorized cafes operational, or who are not in compliance with the laws. This will be the key to success, as online cafes can turn up in so many ways within short periods of time.

The banking laws of The Bahamas will also need to be subjected for review. As it stands to date, only so much money can be deposited or transferred from personal accounts in the commercial banks. A national lottery of web cafes will have to issue certified checks the banks will accept as legitimate checks. While many Bahamians over 50 have some memory of and others over 60 may be somewhat nostalgic about Hobby Horse Hall, many older Bahamians recall the downsides.

Racing was seasonal and when in season it was not daily. Even with limited opportunities for gambling, quite a number of families suffered as scores of gamblers placed bets on the horses in person or by proxy. A friend recalls that his grandmother rarely missed an occasion to bet on the horses, much to the dismay of his grandfather. The usually sober-minded lady and daily churchgoer was obsessed with the races.

Vastly more Bahamians than tourists attended Hobby Horse. During the relatively short season grocery stores reported a drop in sales, mortgage payments fell off, and many essential family obligations were neglected, because many breadwinners were chasing the dream of easy money.

Quite a number of working people exhausted their weekly pay check in a single day of betting. The Pindling administration resisted calls to reopen the track. As casino gambling expanded and with the experience of Hobby Horse Hall in mind, the UBP and the PLP agreed that residents should be restricted from casino gambling, because they feared the social and economic havoc it might wreak on the country.

Many church leaders were opposed to gambling. A sort of historic compromise was reached in which visitors would be allowed to gamble, but not those ordinarily resident. The compromise was based on a number of insights and had various components. Casino gambling was not an end in itself as the vision was not to make The Bahamas a gambling Mecca.

That was not our brand. Licences were granted as incentives for investors seeking to build resorts of a certain size on New Providence and Grand Bahama. Importantly, the restriction on casino gambling was placed on those ordinarily resident, both Bahamian and non-Bahamian. Visiting Bahamians and non-Bahamians living overseas are allowed to gamble in the casinos, an essential distinction largely obscured in many discussions on the gaming bill. The question is not about foreigners versus Bahamians.

It is about residents and non-residents. Residents who are nationals of another country are also barred from casino gambling. It is essential that journalists and others get the distinction correct. There is a question as to whether those ordinarily resident should be allowed to gamble in casinos. Some use the language of discrimination, going so far as to compare the issue with the fight for gender equality. It is a specious argument in significant ways. For now, one example: The restriction on Bahamians owning handguns is viewed as discriminatory by some.

For many others, including this writer, it is a reasonable exception in order to avoid the development of a broader gun culture which would have negative social consequences. Residents gambling in the casino and restrictions on gun ownership are not based on biological givens, such as race, gender or sexual orientation. Instead the former are reasonable exceptions based on possible wide scale social harm. As noted in a previous column, there are three broad philosophical clusters constituting the body of opinion on gambling, ranging from the prohibitionist viewpoint to that of the libertarian.

Prohibitionists would ban all forms of gambling. Libertarians would allow for all forms of gambling.

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