Bahamas PM explains new gambling stance

Prime Minister Perry Christie speaking with the media.

NASSAU – Prime Minister Perry Christie said yesterday the government would consider approving new entrants into the web shop industry if the gambling referendum is passed, but only after his administration figures out how many participants the market can sustain.

When asked if people who are not currently running numbers houses would be given licences if the sector becomes regulated, Christie said: “At some stage, yes.”

He said the government has to place a cap on the number of web shops that can operate legally in order for the sector to be properly policed, similar to the rules placed on casino gaming.

“The question as to how we regulate and who we regulate, we will make that decision because the government has to – whether it’s four, five, six, seven, eight, that is yet to be determined,” Christie said. “But we cannot license an unlimited number of people because it will make regulation impossible.”

In the House of Assembly last week, Christie said not all current owners of numbers houses would get licences from the government if Bahamians vote to make web shops legal.

“In order to qualify for a web shop licence, applicants would have to meet stringent criteria including possessing the necessary experience, integrity and expertise, as well as possessing the necessary financial resources and having organization capacity and internal controls needed to operate in an efficient, responsible and transparent manner,” he said. (Nassau Guardian)

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