Friday August 23,2013 : BAHAMAS TO DISCUSS ONLINE GAMBLING POSSIBILITIES
Legalisation could assist in promoting tourism
The Bahamas tourism industry gathers together next month for a conference titled “Shrinking The Global Divide: Synergy, Service and Sustainability" and on the agenda is a discussion on the legalization of online gambling and the tourism benefits that could bring to the nation.
Proponents of internet gambling claim that the country's gaming laws have not kept pace with significant technological progress and need revising, and that legalization could help promote and develop the tourism and hospitality business.
Prime Minister Perry Christie has already conceded that gambling regulatory legalization needs to be re-visited.
Uri Clinton, a senior legal executive for the huge Baha Mar resort and casino development on the island of New Providence in the Bahamas, will be a speaker at the conference, and says that a modern regulatory gaming regime is essential in securing international market and allowing operators to compete on a level playing field.
“One way that you differentiate yourself from the global competition is to understand what types of gaming products and best practices will appeal to your market segment. Understand who the market is [and] what they look for in a casino; and then we should write regulations that not only properly support the oversight of gaming operations from a regulatory perspective, but also allow the operator the flexibility to provide gaming products, which the market is looking for,” he says.
Clinton predicts that legalised online gambling will tide the land industry over seasonal declines like the hurricane season when tourism tails off, as well as creating new tax income for the government and jobs.
He also sees online gambling driving more short term tourism, suggesting that because in-play sports betting is not available on the US east coast, it is not outside the bounds of possibility for US punters to take the 30 minute flight to the Bahamas for an online flutter on events like the Superbowl, along with a short R and R break.
Other speakers scheduled to address the conference are: Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace, former Bahamas Minister of Tourism and Secretary General of the Caribbean Tourism Organization; and keynote speaker Patrick McCudden, Senior Vice President, Real Estate and Development, Latin America, Hyatt.