Bahamas MP Protests Discriminatory Online Gaming BillPublished August 27, 2014 by Lee R
Adaptation continues, but favouring tourists over Bahamanians is problematic.
Bahamas MP Leslie Miller has raised vociferous objections over elements of new bill that was introduced that favours foreigners over Bahamanians. The Gaming Bill is on the agenda of the House of Assembly, and will be up for referendum as early as this week.
Gaming Bill Discriminates
Miller has called certain parts of the impending Bill to be introduced as containing “contentious” parts he refuses to support, saying “We will not sit back and allow Bahamians who have gone out there and built an industry to be disadvantaged; that’s my greatest concern.”
Miller was reacting to reports that the bill contains proposals originating from casino operators that would bar Bahamians from participating in online gambling. This fierce debate is another in a series of online gambling debates which have increased tensions in the PLP in recent weeks, alongside other online gambling regulatory issues issues such as Value Added Tax (VAT) and Constitutional referendum bills.
Miller has promised to speak out “hard” against the latest proposal “if Bahamians are disadvantaged in favour of foreigners.”
This is only the latest in a series of setbacks and staunch opposition that the Gaming Bill has suffered since it was originally introduced last October. At that time, the Bill was immediately met with harsh criticism from former Gaming Board Chairman Dr. Andre Rollins as well as other PLP backbenchers.
Delays in introduction of revised Bills revolve around the ongoing challenge for government representatives of providing language and structure that would appease local banks in supporting a gaming regime that would include regulation and taxation of web sites.
Task Force Helps
A Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has been appointed by the government to monitor and provide feedback on each successive bill proposal. The FATF has responded positively to the government's plans in general, and the government has successfully acted upon FATF recommendations for improvements with each new draft. However, getting individual government leaders and banks behind the Gaming Bill is a necessary task as well, and the freezing out of Bahamanians is clearly not a clause favourable to the widespread acceptance of online gambling in the Bahamas, a small nation with a huge tourist industry.