0

Flowers Would Offer Deal To Small Webshops

photo

Craig Flowers

By KYLE WALKINE

Tribune Staff Reporter

kwalkine@tribunemedia.net

CRAIG Flowers, CEO of the FML Group of Companies, said yesterday that he would invite smaller webshops to operate under his company if they are unable to meet the regulation requirements the government may put in place. 

During an interview with The Tribune yesterday, Mr Flowers said while he does not know the government’s plans for the industry, he will open the doors of his company to those webshops that need assistance.

With the government set to regulate the controversial industry from July 1, many of the smaller web shop operators have questioned whether they would be forced to shut down or join up with a bigger company if they are unable to meet certain standards. 

“I think they (smaller web shops) have a reason to be concerned on the mere fact that the government and many other persons have taken a position on the fact that there are too many web shops,” Mr Flowers said.

“Now as to how the government should deal with it, I cannot say. I leave that up to the government. What I can say is that my company, FML, has been known for its assistance to new persons coming into the industry. We’ve always taken the position to have open door policies. If the government says they can stay open but there are certain measures put in place that they cannot meet then I would invite them to come and operate under my company. It is what it is. I wish I could offer more.”

However, Mr Flowers said if the government feels the market is over-saturated and some of the smaller ones must be shut down, then he will not allow them to operate under FML. 

“If the government is saying the newer web shops need to close then I will not go against their wishes,” he said. “If the government says that there are too many web shops and they must close down I cannot allow them to stay open under my company. What matters is that we abide by what the government wishes.”

“My argument is that I’m always here to assist,” he added. “If there is anything that I can do to help and assist anyone in the gaming industry I would do that. Primarily in the past, I have taken the role over the years to speak to newcomers in the industry. I try to educate them as to what the industry is about so if they need any assistance whatsoever I’m able to help them. But mostly, for FML we’re mostly concerned with knowing who all is in the industry and what they must do to conduct themselves in the industry.”

Last month, the owner of the Let’s Play web shop, a new entrant to the market, told The Tribune smaller web shops had fears that the government’s plans to regulate the sector will work in the best interests of bigger numbers houses. He referred to the government’s proposed $1 million licensing fee and hefty performance bond as criterion that would make it hard for smaller operators to meet standards for regulation. However, Mr Flowers disagreed with assertions that the government’s plans favours more established operators over new ones. He said the Christie administration has an inclusive approach and has been meeting with representatives from across the sector.

Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe, who has responsibility for gaming, recently told The Tribune that the government is still finalising details for web shop regulation. 

He did, however, note that the government is looking at granting a maximum of eight web shop licenses and is considering a tax rate of 15 per cent on the sector. 

“If the system is not managed correctly then we would probably end up with more underground games going on and that’s not what you want,” Mr Wilchcombe said in an earlier interview. “What’s important for The Bahamas is always the integrity of The Bahamas. We have to ensure that when we put in place the licences and the regulation that the companies that are going to pass through the process are going to be able to maintain and live up to the expectations because we’re going to be closely monitoring”.

According to information from the Ministry of Finance, there were at least 251 web shops in operation run by 35 different companies in 2013. Since that data was released a number of new web shops have entered the market.

Comments

ThisIsOurs 5 years, 3 months ago

So in other words, * I want to carry out the government sanctioned destruction of my competition*, here to assist

0

Fitmiss 5 years, 3 months ago

"What matters is that we abide by what the government wishes.” I had to read that twice. So he will comply with what government wishes but prior to the debacle of a referendum, he was running numbers which I thought was illegal. The only thing which comes to mind with his statements made in this article is "step into my parlor said the spider to the fly". Go under him and see where it gets you.

1

Rinks 5 years, 3 months ago

Just make a national lottery.all profits go to the people of the bahamas.best way to solve this situation.can't have a handful profiting from the numbers racket when we all can.

2

Well_mudda_take_sic 5 years, 3 months ago

Christie stands up on the floor of the House of Assembly and claims he must ignore the outcome of our most recent referendum, duly held at his instigation, because he considers it in our national interest for him to do so. He claims to have only just found out about the concerns our Central Bank has about how the numbers' bosses are now using the proceeds of their illegal activities given that they do not have any legitimate access to our normal banking system as a result of the global anti-money laundering standards to which our banks are obliged to adhere. Yes, Mr. Christie, the numbers' bosses have a significant book of mortgage business in Bahamian dollars and this is causing a problem for our local banks. And yes, Mr. Christie, to the extent they can do so, our numbers' bosses are illegally exchanging their illegally obtained Bahamian dollars for U.S. dollars which they can then bank in other jurisdictions that do not have or enforce ant-money laundering laws as stringent as ours and this in turn is wreaking havoc on our Central Bank's ability to control the level of our foreign currency reserves. Where have you been Mr. Christie for the past decade....most bankers have known of these issues for ages now....none of this should be news to you, especially given the type of horse you apparently have in the race to now try and legalize the illegal activities of the numbers' bosses. Here's what you need to do in our national interest to address the concerns of our Central Bank and our many senior bankers in the private sector: Shut down the illegal operations of the numbers' bosses (any business licenses they may now hold could not possibly have been legally obtained); confiscate all of their assets (including their book of mortgage loans) for the benefit of our Public Treasury (it is not an unreasonable presumption in law that all of their assets were obtained from the proceeds of crime); give the confiscated book of mortgage business to the Central Bank to administer over the lives of the mortgage loans; stop making a fool of yourself by ignoring the will of the Bahamian people as already expressed by them in the democratic processes of this country that they hold so dearly; stop making us look like fools in the eyes of international agencies whose mission it is to uphold anti-money laundering standards to keep out of the banking system the proceeds of crime that all to frequently find their way into the pockets of terrorist organizations; WAKE UP MR. CHRISTIE! THAT HORSE YOU HAVE IN THE RACE IS NOW IRREPARABLY MAMED AND YOU HAD BETTER DO THE RIGHT THING OR THERE WILL NO PLP TOMORROW....perhaps you're now too old to care and simply hold the view that your seriously flawed and impaired decisions made today are for the younger members of your political party to worry about after you ride off into the sunset. What a destructive legacy you seem hell bent on creating for those who try to follow in politics under the PLP banner...

2

mangogirl01 5 years, 3 months ago

Your want the PM start talking gobbledygook eh, that's way tooooooooooo much hard work for him to even attempt!!

0

Sickened 5 years, 3 months ago

Excellent! Christie's sun is indeed setting. Sad to say but I think the effects of his stroke are now really taking their toll. His mind is certainly not as sharp as it used to be. Looking at him you can see the blank stare that is so common with stroke victims in their later years. His party needs to retire him before it is BLATANTLY obvious that his mind is no longer fit to lead. It is cruel to let him continue to think that he is fine.

1

The_Oracle 5 years, 3 months ago

"What matters is that we abide by what the government wishes.” But not abide what the law demands and clearly states. Herein lies the real issue, allegiance to personality, not the rule of law. How telling.

0

GrassRoot 5 years, 3 months ago

Of course mobsters look out for each other. The Honorable Society.

1

sheeprunner12 5 years, 3 months ago

Yep, the Bill not even brought to Parliament yet and Flowers done cutting deals with fellow junior criminal bosses

0

Reality_Check 5 years, 3 months ago

Shutting down the illegal operations of the numbers' bosses and setting up a National Lottery is the only way forward; but with extreme care to ensure that no one who was ever involved in the illegal activities of Flowers et al becomes associated in any way with the National Lottery. We can ill-afford having a newly established National Lottery tainted in any way by the mobster racketeers who are behind the illicit operations of the numbers' shops/houses.

0

Purcell 5 years, 3 months ago

Flowers simply wants to gobble up the locations of the smaller shops. Who has the most saturation has the most money. He knows that the police will be just as effective shutting down illegal gambling as they are now after the licensing so it is either up to him to shut them down (expect some executions to take place) or he will try buying them out. He will try the bloodless way first then move on to messier solutions. I am still saying there will be no legalization though, nobody wants that. It would cost numbers bosses too much, the politicians and police would lose out on the welcome bribes. The only way the Bahamian people win is through the establishment of a national lottery.

0

Reality_Check 5 years, 3 months ago

The fact that BJ Nottage and Commissioner Greenslade have not shut down the numbers' shops speaks volumes about their integrity......Greenslade has allowed Nottage to keep him on a short leash but Nottage will be the first one to throw Greenslade to the wolves in the public domain when it becomes politically expedient for him to leave Greenslade's integrity and reputation in tatters for time eternal. Greenslade would have absolutely nothing to fear by doing his job in the current political climate; but he has everything to lose reputation wise by not proceeding against known criminals no matter who they may be.

0

sheeprunner12 5 years, 3 months ago

Reality ......... you made TWO very insightful commentaries. This a messy situation regardless of which side you take .............. politicians, police or numbers bosses. Either way its only the ordinary man on the street who will LOSE in the long term.

0

Reality_Check 5 years, 3 months ago

Like BJ Nottage, Allyson Maynard-Gibson (Attorney General of The Bahamas), may be an impediment to Commissioner Greenslade's ability to enforce the law; but he should be able to get around AG Maynard-Gibson who has a track record for ..........well, too many things to mention here!

0

DillyTree 5 years, 3 months ago

What part of NO is hard to understand? The Bahamian people voted NO on the referendum, so why isn't the government closing the webshops down? The government works for US, the people of the Bahamas, not the damn webshops.

0

Sign in to comment