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National Lottery Still An Option For Bahamas
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Minister of Tourism Dionisio D’Aguilar.
By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Deputy Chief Reporter
WHILE the Gaming Board is still considering options for a national lottery, a recommendation on a way forward has not yet been made, Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar said yesterday.
The minister said the Gaming Board was mulling over whether the national lottery would be outsourced to a private company with experience or ran in house.
However, Mr D’Aguilar said he would not recommend the latter option given the government’s poor track record of running businesses.
In January, he said the body was compiling a report on the prospects of introducing a national lottery.
He made his comments yesterday as the House of Assembly debated amendments to the Gaming Act.
“…The amendment proposed in this bill will provide the Gaming Board of the Bahamas, as the regulator of all licensed gaming activities in the Bahamas, with latitude to approve or disapprove for the gaming house operator licensees, after testing and certification by the internationally recognised testing and certification laboratories registered here in the Bahamas, a wider range and variety of numbers game offerings,” the Freetown MP said yesterday.
“Specifically, the proposed amendment expands the definition of ‘numbers game’ to ‘any single combination or series of numbers, symbols or letters as may be approved by the board, may be wagered upon by a player at odds which are fixed at the time of conclusion of the wager.’
“Governments may use this amendment of the definition in the ‘numbers game’ as a first step in establishing a national lottery involving four ball or five ball or six ball.
“However, the government has not advanced, at this time, its thinking on the establishment of a national lottery and is still considering whether this would be something that it would wish to operate in house given the government’s poor track record of running businesses, something I would strongly recommend against or would this be something that it would wish to outsource to a private company with experience in operating lotteries or outsource to a licensed operator or licensed operators and simply increase the rate of tax on this particular stream of business to yield more to the Treasury.”
He continued: “I would like to emphasise, however, that the Gaming Board is still considering all of its options and has not, yet, made any recommendation to the government on the best way forward.”
Government discussions on a national lottery have been ongoing since 2017.
In 2013, the Christie administration held a referendum to determine whether it would regularise and tax web shops as well as establish a national lottery. The public voted against legalising lotteries. However the Christie administration went ahead with plans to tax and regulate the web shop sector.
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WHILE the Gaming Board is still considering options for a national lottery, a recommendation on a way forward has not yet been made, Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar said yesterday. The minister said the Gaming Board was mulling over whether the