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Consultants advised against online gaming

Guardian Staff Reporter

Published: May 07, 2013

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Consultants from a South African firm advised the government against online gaming because so many other countries have outlawed it for their citizens, Prime Minister Perry Christie said last night.

Christie said the firm warned the government that it should never agree to do anything regarding gaming that other countries have outlawed.

This comes after a copy of the government’s proposed Gaming Bill revealed that local casino operators would be able to facilitate online and mobile gambling.

The leaked bill, which has not been tabled in Parliament, has caused widespread public debate.

During his contribution in the House of Assembly, Christie said casinos in the country have been conducting research into casino gambling for years.

“And the compilation of their results, through their attorneys, was given to this government in a bundle,” he said.

“When we asked our English consultants as to their position, because it involved online gaming, they recommended a number of firms worldwide.

“We selected one from South Africa who were acknowledged international experts.”

Principals from A and G Consulting, a firm from South Africa, visited the country from January 18 to 22, 2013, according to a statement from the Office of the Prime Minister earlier this year.

According to the statement, the consultants also met with the deputy prime minister, minister of tourism, attorney general, minister of state for legal affairs, Gaming Board officials and casino operators.

“We retained them to come out and examine the proposals,” Christie said last night.

“They appeared before the government and they explained the positions as they saw it, the contradictions as they saw it and the difficulties as they saw it.

“One of those difficulties and contradictions is that the government of Antigua and the United States of America have had a major problem in connection with online gaming.

“All of that was pointed out to us.

“We in fact should tell you that we were advised that our government, in giving any consideration to it, must recognize that there [are] some governments that outlaw online gaming and we should never agree to do anything with respect to gaming that other countries have outlawed their citizens from dealing with online.

“But we then thanked them for their contribution, folded up our documents and I indicated to the minister responsible for gaming, in a few weeks’ time we will examine it to make the decisions with respect to those matters of controversy that have been referred to.”

Christie said the government has made no decisions concerning the issue of online gaming and whether Bahamians should be able to gamble in casinos.

“We would have to address it and we will,” he said.

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