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Bahamian Remote Gambling Bill Tabled
Monday April 29, 2013 : BAHAMIAN REMOTE GAMBLING BILL TO BE TABLED?
Excludes Bahamian citizens from gambling
The Bahamas Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe is quoted by the Nassau Guardian as saying that a new remote gambling bill is likely to be tabled in The Bahamas House of Assembly this week.
The draft bill is a controversial one that targets the tourist industry and lifts a ban that disallowed work permit holders and permanent residents from gambling but it specifically excludes Bahamian citizens.
A proposal submitted to The Bahamian Government by industry stakeholders titled "Guide to modernization of casino regulations in The Bahamas" requested the Government to "allow permanent residents, holders of short- and long-term work visas to participate in casino gaming, subject to payment of an appropriate levy to the government" using the rationale ""allowing wealthy permanent residents to gamble locally would keep gaming taxes in the country".
Wilchcombe noted that the law needs to be equitable saying: "We haven't yet signed off on what we are taking to Parliament. We have to make sure it's done in a way that it is equitable, so even if we decide [to allow it], it may not be done tomorrow. Matters are still being discussed," he said.
While Bahamian citizens will be prohibited from gambling, the law does not stop them from applying and receiving casino licences, Wilcombe added. "Nothing stops Bahamians from owning casinos and jumping into the industry. That's where they ought to be thinking now. How can we pool our resources?"
Should the bill become law, players outside of The Bahamas will be able to gamble online or via mobile on a platform established, maintained and operated by the holder of a local gaming licence, provided those players are situated in a country or jurisdiction that allows online gambling.
According to the article, several classes of licences under the new Gaming Act would include gaming, proxy gaming, restricted interactive gaming and junket operator licenses.
Potential gaming licencees would have to have proven expertise in the management and operation of casinos in a regulated environment, or demonstrable access to such expertise. The potential licencee would have to be in good financial standing and have adequate means to undertake and sustain the activity for which the licence is awarded.
A proxy gaming license would allow the operator to conduct gaming using any communications technology, including over the Internet.
A restricted interactive gaming license would allow for people outside The Bahamas to gamble via a website established by the holder of a local gaming license.
And the junket operator license would facilitate visits to casino resorts of 20 or more "junket visitors" -- that is, visitors on an excursion to a casino resort.
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