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Pinder: My Ministry Is Ready To Police Gaming Industry

By RICARDO WELLS

FINANCIAL Services Minister Ryan Pinder said yesterday his ministry is ready to police the expanded gaming industry and ensure financial compliance once the Gaming Bill is passed in the Senate.

Mr Pinder told The Tribune that his ministry has the “adequate backstops” in place to ensure transparency and compliance is maintained in the “$600m industry”.

The Gaming Bill was passed in the House of Assembly. The legislation will lead to the regulation of web shops and expand the offerings of hotel-based casinos.

The Elizabeth MP, speaking on the sidelines of a career symposium at the College of the Bahamas, claimed that his ministry is not only prepared to police the new industry, but, with the assistance of what he termed “the best compliance officers in the world” prevent corruption and money laundering activities.

Before the Gaming Bill was passed, some observers had questioned how the government would prevent the country from being “blacklisted” by international financial watchdogs over concerns from possible money laundering from webshops.

Mr Pinder said that his ministry has been readying itself from a compliance standpoint for the numbers industry to be regularised.

“There are a lot of details that go into doing something of this nature,” Mr Pinder said. “The laws have to be in place that clarify the way they operate within their operations and the way those operations affect the country’s financial services industry as a whole.”

Last week, Central Bank Governor Wendy Craigg told Tribune Business that the institution was “still evaluating” the Gaming Bill and accompanying regulations/legislation to determine whether they conform with international anti-money laundering standards.

Ms Craigg said the regulator had only “recently” obtained a copy of the legislation and was still reviewing it.

However, in an email sent to The Tribune earlier this year, Ms Craig worried about the effect that legitimising webshops would have on the financial services industry in the Bahamas.

“To say that the Bahamas is in danger of being ‘blacklisted’ on the issue of web shop gaming alone, does not take account of measures which the jurisdiction has in place to mitigate the potential money laundering risk posed by webshop activities,” she wrote earlier this year.

“However, it remains for the policy makers to address this outstanding issue in a manner that reduces the jurisdiction’s vulnerability to the continuance of unregulated economic activities in the jurisdiction.”

Prime Minister Perry Christie said in the House on Monday prior to the passing of the Bill that the numbers industry could produce “some $25m” in penalties, back business licence fees and application fees payable during the transition period when operators will be required to disclose the revenues generated by their past operations while paying a variety of fees.

Mr Christie added that web shop gaming could generate roughly $30m annually in taxes and other fees. The Gaming Bill has been forwarded to the Senate for debate and vote before it is passed and enacted.

Comments

John 3 years, 2 months ago

Now that the web shop gaming bill is passed, should government put a mortorium on web shop licenses until the existing ones are regulated, else there will be chaos trying to sort out which ones will remain and which ones must close.

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GrassRoot 3 years, 2 months ago

good point. particularely in a country where the police refrains from enforcing he laws selectively and in a country where obtaining a license (from simple work permit to complex insurance company license can take more than one year...

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TalRussell 3 years, 2 months ago

Comrades you wants knows why the more the PM and his cabinet colleagues does talk in defense their terrible numbers "regularizing" actions in the House on Wednesday past does da peoples squint they eyes? The short numbers answer is cause tis' only by squinting we's eyes does it become clearer for all we's see them for what they really are.

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Sickened 3 years, 2 months ago

Is Ryan Pinder serious?? He's been in politics too long now... he's starting to walk and talk like Perry. Not a good thing!

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killemwitdakno 3 years, 2 months ago

he's the smartest one one their side. finance and investments minister remember. he remains quiet for a reason. this should be obvious.

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ThisIsOurs 3 years, 2 months ago

Hmmm...and making this statement? While the Central Bank hasn't even given any feedback yet? Who does he think his team member is? Or does he believe the REGULATOR has no role in the Bahamas in legislation? This is the most weird turn of events I have ever seen....

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Mayaguana34 3 years, 2 months ago

Must be smoking crack - He has four technical officers and two janitress - Cant do what he is mandated now and now this - sounds like fishing to me

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ThisIsOurs 3 years, 2 months ago

How this was even debated much less passed with no input from the Central Bank is simply AMAZING.

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TalRussell 3 years, 2 months ago

Comrades unfortunately "regularizing da numbers plotters" play their roles in both this and the former Hubert regime. How many dozens of web shop licenses were granted, knowingly damn well they were collecting wagering monies behind those security doors and windows. Had the reds been returned to power wouldn't they too have had obligations to campaign donors? It's the whole damn colonial system we inherited that needs doing away with, not just who the next P will be? Money taken get elected is money taken get elected. Matters not damn colours of your shirts.

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killemwitdakno 3 years, 2 months ago

numbers boys didn't know who was going to win so it's obvious who they donated to for their own campaign since Hubert presented a competing transparent national lotto.

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duppyVAT 3 years, 2 months ago

Policing numbers will be no different from policing VAT, real property or all other taxes .......... the police will get their cut and the government agents will get their cut and then the government will get shit

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ThisIsOurs 3 years, 2 months ago

What is a "debate" for? Everyone stands up, drones on for ages and then the ruling party goes against the wishes of the people and does what they want to do to put more money in their pocket. This has happened over and over and over again over the past forty years. What is the purpose of these fat off the land suits who love to flaunt fake British accents with their exaggerated S's

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duppyVAT 3 years, 2 months ago

The people get their say every five years ...................... with little to choose from

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Well_mudda_take_sic 3 years, 2 months ago

Christie said to that doofus Pinder fella: "Ryan my man, you've been quiet up to now on important matters relating to the legalization of the web shops that will fall within your portfolio. I have done the heavy lifting, but now I must know that I can count on you to say the right things in public to help take some of the public heat away from me." In promising that he can rein in criminals like Craig Flowers, Pinder has foolishly taken the bait set for him by Christie showing why he, as a lackey of Christie, has been a miserable failure from day one. While he has been kowtowing to the IRS, FATF, OECD, etc. our financially services sector has contracted to the smallest it has ever been. Thanks to the failings of Pinder, many financial institutions have shut their doors and exited the Bahamas, leaving many unemployed people who previously had good paying jobs with health benefits. And this Pinder fella now thinks he can regulate the crooked likes of Craig Flowers! Yep, what a doofus this fella has become!

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killemwitdakno 3 years, 2 months ago

"bait set for him by Christie" ? HA. i think you need to look for the potential puppeteer again. He knows more than all of them..and remains quiet.

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ThisIsOurs 3 years, 2 months ago

That's the definition of "complicity"...as Hubert Ingraham would say he eat his mutton and kept his moth shut

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John 3 years, 2 months ago

Do you really think the numbers game is a black/white issue? For example they are saying legalizing numbers will empower too many black people and make them millionaires. They don't want Bahamians gambling in the (foreign owned) casinos because they still think the presence of too many (black) Bahamians will cheapen their (casino) product. (this was part of the reason it was done in 1967. Then the all- inclusive resorts feel that since they bring the tourists here they should be their guests exclusively and only gamble on their property. Can you imagine what can happen if tourists started coming over the hill with thous$and$ of dollars in cash to play numbers in the local web shops? (crime).

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ThisIsOurs 3 years, 2 months ago

Empower who? They're granting 8 licenses to the same crooks who been getting a pass for the past umpteen years. They will not be paying out many million dollar prizes if any. If they ever do it will be a honeypot trap to suck in more gullible Bahamians. Which tourists going over the hill with thousands of dollars after being warned by the US government and the cruise ship? The only ones I could see doing that would be the ones who would get fleeced either way...

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killemwitdakno 3 years, 2 months ago

online guys online. web gambling is illegal in the states so that web traffic now goes to Ryan Pinder and his number boys.

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killemwitdakno 3 years, 2 months ago

Blockquote

in place to ensure transparency and compliance

Blockquote

So where is the transparency for government overall ?

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killemwitdakno 3 years, 2 months ago

That's “$600m industry" local industry , please make everyone aware of foreign internet traffic and it's particular potential revenue since you are so aware of the Antigua situation with the WTO Mr . Pinder

There are about 1,000 that popped up in strip malls across Florida over the last five years, but a new law shuttered them. The governor's office estimated they did about $1 billion in business. If slot machines were taxed at 35 percent, the state would be provided $350 million in tax revenue. http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2013-08-17/news/fl-how-much-gambling-20130816_1_card-rooms-taxes-gambling

exactly which games are internet gaming cafes allowed? since this is supposed to be an opportunity for anyone to apply.

..because no one's even estimated the lotto side as yet...which was supposed to be national

what's Pinder's plans for the international market's legal compliance outside of WTO?

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killemwitdakno 3 years, 2 months ago

risks, regulation , compliance . here's where the JOBS should come in duh ..or did you not think about that because you don't really plan to police this thoroughly. or policing never gets a budget.

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