By DANA SMITH
Tribune Staff Reporter
MORE than just “a limited number” of web-shop owners could apply for a license to operate if Monday’s gambling referendum passes with a majority “yes” vote. It is a “misrepresentation,” said Prime Minister Perry Christie, to believe there are only four operators.
Speaking outside the House of Assembly on Wednesday morning before hundreds of web-shop employees and their supporters in a demonstration march to Rawson Square, Mr Christie said as many as eight web-shop operators had told him they plan to apply for a license.
“When I started off, I actually made the mistake of speaking about four web-shop operators who are major web-shop operators,” he said.
“Since this process has began, I have seen seven or eight of them now and all of them making representation that they have the capacity to meet any conditions for licensing, that they have the store fronts, that they have the money.”
“It’s more than a limited amount of people who will make applications for licenses in this country,” Mr Christie said.
“Those who are able to qualify may well be eligible for licensing... It’s a misrepresentation to believe there are only four.”
Last week, campaign coordinator of the Vote “Yes” Bahamas campaign, Philip Galanis said Bahamians would be allowed to purchase shares in web-shops if the referendum on gaming is passed.
“Just as was done with the Port on Arawak Cay, just as was done at Commonwealth Brewery as has been done at Cable Bahamas. They are doing this because they want to encourage persons to participate in gaming at another level and so they will put aside a percentage, say 30 or 40 per cent of the company, because naturally they would want the majority,” he said
“What I have gathered is that they may come together and join one entity or maybe several entities, it really depends on what makes the most sense. Of course it will be regulated and it will all be transparent and monitored by the securities commission. They will have to do audits, they will need to be scrutinized but what they are saying is ‘we have no objections to offering our shares to the public’.”