Galanis senses buyer’s remorse months after failed referendum
Guardian Staff Reporter
Published: May 04, 2013
Former co-ordinator of the Vote Yes Campaign Philip Galanis suggested that some people are now suffering from "buyer’s remorse" following the failed gambling referendum.
Galanis said he finds it "ironic" that some of the people who led the charge against web shop gambling in the run-up to the January 28 referendum are now pushing for Bahamians to get the opportunity to gamble in casinos.
"They were saying on the one hand that [Bahamians] shouldn't have this opportunity [to gamble] and now they are saying, in a complete about face, that they should," Galanis told The Nassau Guardian on Thursday.
Last week, The Nassau Guardian revealed details of a proposed Gaming Bill, which in its current form would continue to prohibit Bahamians from gambling legally in The Bahamas but would allow work permit holders and permanent residents to do so.
As it stands now, work permit holders and permanent residents are also prohibited from gambling.
"I think what happened unfortunately is that a lot of people might have been confused and maybe we did not do a good job in selling the ideas of why people should vote yes (to the referendum questions). We thought we did but perhaps we didn't,” Galanis said.
"I think perhaps there is a bit of buyer’s remorse among those persons who voted no and persons who did not vote... Many persons, we are told, felt like this was a shoe-in, that this was a sure thing and they thought that their vote wasn't necessary. That is clearly an erroneous position and one I think that they are now regretting.
"And so, the buyer’s remorse that you now see is reflective of that or the manifestation that they ought to have been more proactive, or they ought to have been more assertive.”
The majority of people who voted in the referendum voted no, but it was less than 50 percent of the electorate.
Earlier this week, Dr. Hubert Minnis, leader of the Free National Movement, said any proposed gaming legislation presented to Parliament should ensure “fair play” for Bahamians.
When asked whether that meant Bahamians should be allowed to gamble in casinos, Minnis said, “In terms of [whether] Bahamians should be in casinos, I feel yes, but that is my personal view.”
However, during the run-up to the referendum, Minnis urged voters to vote against the regularization and taxation of web shop gaming and the establishment of a national lottery.
Prior to that he had said he supported the legalization of web shop gambling.
Galanis said Minnis’ latest position is evidence that his stance he took against web shop gambling was "purely politically motivated".
"It was a duplicitous position that he has taken," Galanis said.
The Gaming Bill in its current form would also allow people outside The Bahamas to gamble on a website established, maintained and operated by the holder of a local gaming license.
But they must be in a country or jurisdiction that permits online gaming.
Galanis said the government would be ill-advised to proceed with the bill, adding that he would use every ounce of his strength to persuade the government against doing so.