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Wilchcombe: Web Shop Gaming Is ‘Not Off The Table’

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Obie Wilchcombe

By SANCHESKA BROWN

Tribune Staff Reporter

sbrown@tribunemedia.net

OBIE Wilchcombe said yesterday he has begun a series of meetings with religious leaders and those with interests in gaming in an effort to reintroduce the discussion of web shop gaming in 2014.

Mr Wilchcombe, Minister responsible for gaming, said web shop gaming is “not off the table” and is still up for discussion - despite Bahamians overwhelmingly voting against the regularisation and taxation of web shops.

In fact, he said he has already met with several church leaders who have agreed to help him in his dialogue with other influential religious leaders.

“Nothing is off of the table; the referendum is off the table but the Minster can sign it in to law. We had a referendum that has obviously now taken precedence but it’s now all about communication. The church has to understand what you are doing; we must appreciate no matter what we say in this country we are rooted in Christian values whether we like it or not we are and we can not disrespect what happened in that referendum. The Bahamian people voiced their opinion so now we have to create the dialogue and find the regulations that are acceptable to all,” he said.

“I think it is important for the church to understand the complexity of the issue and for the church to understand that we have to govern and we will come and discuss with them and find ways to do it. The church might be able to advance some ideas on how it can be done but what we have to make sure you understand is that you cannot have a referendum one day and then tell the people the next day it didn’t make sense having a referendum; you have to respect the wishes of the people and the voice of the people,  so we have to come back and find the right way to create dialogue.

“To be honest I have started that dialogue with various people. I have done a lot of research and have been taking to people about it. I have been taking to the government about it actually to recognise what is going on because a lot of these operators have gone to other territories to continue their business and open companies, major companies, and are doing very well and we cannot ignore that they exist.”

Mr Wilchcombe said as Minister he can regulate web shop gaming but he thinks it is important to have a dialogue with the church and web shop operators to discuss how gaming with all parties.

He said: “I cannot ignore the fact that there are thousands of people participating in this every day and millions of dollars being made from the business every single day. Shouldn’t some of that money, if it is going to happen, be used for sports, education and culture?  Let’s find a way to do it. Even helping people who have become addicts and even helping the church in its development. There is a way it can work, it does make sense. We have had off-the-record discussions and I have raised points, in fact I have asked one or two of them (church leaders) to assist me in the dialogue.”

Mr Wilchcombe said he intends to take his findings, after his meetings, to the Prime Minister and the Cabinet to show them how web shop gaming can work in the Bahamas.

Comments

B_I_D___ 11 months ago

So despite the resounding NO from the people, the government is essentially saying they are still going to look into pushing for laws to legalize it. Brilliant!!

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MarkTa 11 months ago

Agreed, makes the Bahamian people feel like their voice doesnt matter

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B_I_D___ 11 months ago

apparently it doesn't...just like VAT, the PLP party has bills to pay, and one of those bills is to the webshops that help fund their campaign. They thought it was a slam dunk in the referendum and ended up with mud in their face...still gotta pay back those numbers bosses, so they will pass a law anyways. There was never ANY intention of shutting the places down...EVER.

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concernedcitizen 11 months ago

What he is saying is, i have to find out what cut the church leaders will be satisfied with ...

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TheMadHatter 11 months ago

"and even helping the church in its development" were the exact words. I'm sure the churches have seen a dramatic drop in their "plate" contributions - but have been smart enough to hold out until a deal such as this was presented.

It really doesn't matter what is done here one way or the other. Bahamians will still continue to give generously to the church while their brothers and sisters are gunned down daily in the streets.

There is no greater enemy of the people than the churches. They have simply been smart enough over the centuries to ensure that the people (99.9%) do not realize it. It is a brilliant game and I have the greatest respect and admiration for their ingenuity, just as I have the same for Al Capone, Adolf Hitler, Tomás de Torquemada, and other brilliant historical figures.

You do not have to be morally good to be brilliant, and we see that here every day and esp. on Sundays.

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SP 11 months ago

Residents will NEVER STOP GAMBLING, government cannot stop it and we are sick and tired of this stupid game.

The PLP are just playing with themselves. Bahamians do not want to discuss this nonsense.

SHUT UP Wilchcombe and get on with legalizing and taxing webshops.

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MarkTa 11 months ago

I don't mind them gambling underground, I understand it cant be fully stopped. But seeing one on every corner upsets me to no end especially when it is considered illegal.

Its like a a drug dealer having a store that sells drugs on each corner. Sure people will buy drugs one way or another but we dont have to see one on every block.

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concernedcitizen 11 months ago

legalize it ,tax it ,,all the hat wearing ,sunday church going , bible quoting people gamble anyway ,,geez they expect God to send them the winning number in a dream ,,wonder how the webshops make money w/ god as the peoples handicapper ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

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TalRussell 11 months ago

It is obvious that this minister of the government more than any other in cabinet is either seriously ignorant of the constitutional weight of Bahamalanders vote against the criminally operated numbers rackets, or he has inhaled far too much of that lead poisoning scientifically proven to seriously damage ya damn brain cells.

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ThisIsOurs 11 months ago

Oh I get it, you want the church to bend their principles some. just like you've done. So that we can all make money. Why not invite the drug dealers to the conclave as well?

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concernedcitizen 11 months ago

@thisisours ,,the church to bend their principals ,,its the only place i know where gay/lesbian people condem other gay people to a eternity in hell ,,geez one of the biggest totes a "vanity " autobiography about what god did for her as she shacks up w young gals ,,hypocrites ,,,the church says nothing about the discrimmination against women in our constitution

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ThisIsOurs 11 months ago

Yeah they may not have absolutely solid principles, but sounds like OW is asking for a compromise. The word doesn't exist in the bible. It's counterintuitive.

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Westpoint 11 months ago

Mr. Wilchcombe, it is a crime to gamble in The Bahamas today's date. The majority of the wonderful people in The Bahamas voted against gambling during the referendum, so why are government leaders not listening to the voice of the people. The Bible mentioned in Romans 13 that the Laws of the Land MUST be followed and those who fight against it is resisting God.. One of the main reasons why crime is at an ALL TIME HIGH in our Bahama Land is because some Church Leaders and some government leaders who swore to uphold the laws of The Bahamas are the one's who are openly supporting crime. Wickedness in very high places. Mr. Wilchcombe, a crime is a crime no matter how insignificant it appears to be. No wonder why crime is so high!

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ThisIsOurs 11 months ago

I wonder if he still wants the US consulate to downplay their reports on crime in the Bahamas ....

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concernedcitizen 11 months ago

THE US as a country has a homocide rate of 4 per 100,000 ,ours is 30 per 100,000 ..The last 10 years serious crime in the US has been decreasing ours is increasing ,,

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concernedcitizen 11 months ago

thats why the count is per 100,000,,and yes in the inner cities in the US its higher ,just like its higher in nassau compared to out islands ..We now have the homcide rate as a country in a civil war ,,ie Syria ,Sudan

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ThisIsOurs 11 months ago

But that's just it, they can do as they like, whether it's a fair assessment or not. Unfortunately, to say that crime is a major problem in the Bahamas seems like a fair assessment. To say crime is a problem in Detroit and Chicago is also a fair assessment.

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Emac 11 months ago

The fact of the matter is that as long as we depend on the almighty tourism dollar it doesn't really matter what their crime rate is. They can be as hypocritical as they like. The point is we need them, they don’t need us. The only thing that will change this is when a new breed of leaders step up to the plate and move the Bahamas forward by empowering its people, which will inevitably increase entrepreneurship , which will create more local jobs. And I am not talking about maids and waiters. I am talking jobs where Bahamians workers can improve in their skills. As is stands, most Bahamians feel like outcasts. Both past governments have adopted this foreign is better policy which is one of the leading causes for Bahamian businesses not being able to survive.

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concernedcitizen 11 months ago

Dread get real ,we need them a whole lot more then they need us ,,also just the payroll from something like Atlantis pumps hundreds of millions into the economy yearly ..We have sun sand and sea to sell ,,thats it ,,we are coral rocks ..The reason tourism is dying here is bad service and high prices ,,DR ,Jamaica and Cuba are all having increases in tourism ,,SH@T DR does 4 mill a year stopover ,Cuba does 3 mill w/ out the US ,,WE do 1, 35 stopover ..Last year our stopover decreased 6%,,,,

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Honestman 11 months ago

Why doesn't this government just grow a pair and legalise gambling? The PLP is so afraid of making a vote losing decision that it has become impotent and can't make a decision without checking which way the wind us blowing. The referendum was a complete waste of public money and the public voted "no" not because it was against gambling but because it recognised the government's lack of transparency on the issue. So do what you were elected to do - make decisions on behalf of the country.

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concernedcitizen 11 months ago

Many of the numbers players voted no b/c they thought if it was taxed the pay outs would be less ,,greed in action once again

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ThisIsOurs 11 months ago

It's a deal with the devil (not in a religious sense) if you legitimize the current bunch, these people have been involved in crimes for years, prostitution, drug smuggling, human smuggling, illegal permits, gun smuggling. Who would make the decision? George "why does it matter how you made your money" Smith?

Start a national lottery and have it audited by Price Waterhouse. And Nottage resigns.

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Emac 11 months ago

Sounds like you are describing the majority of Bahamians.

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ThisIsOurs 11 months ago

I dunno...but certainly a good portion. Like I said to the gentleman trying to find his missing Peruvian friend, you cannot make a deal with a dishonest person and then expect them to deal with you honestly.

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TalRussell 11 months ago

Chief responsibility of a minister of tourism is to ensure we tiny Nassau Town is welcoming to our visitors. By this time next year what will the government's press release be about another another new plan to ignore the "NO vote' to the numbers rackets, by its citizens? Look around our tiny Nassau Town and experience the physical and moral filth, and still you expect this or the past government to understand that our tiny Nassau Town must be kept clean. Obviously tis sad, no Comrade in government has ever read that cleanliness of our tiny Nassau Town is next to godliness. Maybe the minister should investigate what da Bible has say about stench. pretty damn sure if the minister was to read deep he'd also find warnings of the sins of "lead poisoning." Why else would he be so supportive of the numbers "bosses?" He head, got's have clear thinking ability issues, if he really thinks he can negotiation away from a people vote decision.

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crabman 11 months ago

so long as it is on table the politicians will continue to get theirs under the table

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