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Webshops 'Accountable' For Effects Of Gambling'

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Melanie Griffin

By NICO SCAVELLA

SOCIAL Services Minister Melanie Griffin yesterday said the Gaming Bill will now hold web shop operators accountable for ensuring that “counselling, education” and “assistance” are provided for “compulsive gamblers”.

While speaking with The Tribune during the luncheon recess of the House of Assembly yesterday, Mrs Griffin could not say if the Gaming Bill would cause more dependence by gamblers on Social Services.

However, she said, the Bill contains provisions for web shop owners that would “greatly assist” the government in helping people with gambling addictions.

Her comments were in response to Bahamas Christian Council President Rev Dr Ranford Patterson’s recent claims that the enacting of the Gaming Bill would result in a greater proliferation of gamblers in the country.

“We have in this (Gaming) Bill the opportunity for provisions to be put in place, I believe, that will assist us greatly in dealing with those persons who are involved and who have problems as compulsive gamblers or what they call problem gambling,” Mrs Griffin said. “It makes the persons who are gaming operators accountable for dealing with those persons. I think over the years the problems have always existed, but there’s been no one being held accountable to ensure that these persons get help. So with this Bill we have an opportunity to do that.

“We even have a provision from the Bill where such persons could be excluded from gaming, whether it’s the person himself who goes to the court and says to the court ‘I have a problem, I need help – I’m placing myself as one who wants to be excluded.’ Or whether it’s a family member who goes to the court and indicates that ‘A member of our family has a problem, please assist us.’

“Once those orders are in place the gaming operators have to respond, in addition to which they must provide counselling, education, and must be able to enforce the provisions of the legislation that will assist persons who have a problem with gambling.”

On Monday Dr Patterson warned the Christie administration that a greater proliferation of gamblers would emerge in the country subsequent to the enactment of the Gaming Bill.

He contended that with more people seeing the need to gamble, a “greater number of persons” would seek assistance from Social Services, which would subsequently be “further stretched” as a result.

Dr Patterson said, however, that the church would remain there to “support those who fall through the cracks” and are negatively impacted by gambling addictions.

Mrs Griffin yesterday could not say whether the number of persons seeking assistance from her ministry would increase as a result of the passing of the Gaming Bill, but said that as “Social Services is taking a hit right now,” Dr Patterson may not have been misguided in his allegations.

“All I know is there are persons right now who come to Social Services for assistance who may well be persons who have problems with gambling or with gaming,” she said. “We don’t have any scientific figures to show that, but from time to time we’ve had that experience. I’m hoping that we’ll be able to decrease it by being able to make gaming operators accountable and put in place the provisions of the Bill that seek to help such persons.”

The Gaming Bill was passed in the House of Assembly Monday evening and now moves on to the Senate for debate. A vote will be taken before it is passed there and later enacted.

Comments

Sickened 3 years, 2 months ago

Let me imagine how this will work. I have a gambling problem and run up tens of thousands of dollars in debt to these gambling houses. I go to the court and say I'm an addict, I can't afford to pay my debts. The court will advise all of the numbers houses that I am an addict and that I am no longer allowed to gamble. The numbers houses will then take me under their wing and pay for me to go to counselling etc. and what, also forgive my debt or interest on my debt until I am better? Does anyone really think that the people I owe money to are going to help me get better so that I will one day, hopefully, be able to pay them back?

Who, other than the government and Melanie Griffin, live in this world?

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GrassRoot 3 years, 2 months ago

I am relieved to see that the numbers boys now also run social services after running the Police, the AG's office, the courts and of course the rest of the informal economy.

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ThisIsOurs 3 years, 2 months ago

the opportunity for provisions to be put in place I don't understand this statement, why can't these legislators speak plain English? The "opportunity" for provisions to be put n lace??? What dies that mean exactly?

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Sickened 3 years, 2 months ago

It means that the politicians now have the opportunity to amend the already approved bill to add more benefits for their fellow web shop bosses!

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Well_mudda_take_sic 3 years, 2 months ago

Is the Government next going to try and legalize whatever it is this Griffin lady is smoking?

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jackbnimble 3 years, 2 months ago

Idiots! How stupid does this sound. Gambling was initially outlawed by our forefathers for a darned reason because people were becoming addicted and it was effecting their families and their livelihoods. Tell me who the hell deliberately opens a wound and then turns around and tries to heal it......Oh my God. Can you spell s-t-u-p-I-d and h-y-p-o-c-r-i-s-y!!!!

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UserOne 3 years, 2 months ago

The numbers people are going to help addicts? Really? Their business thrives on gambling addicts.

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ThisIsOurs 3 years, 2 months ago

As someone said today, the bartender knows his best customer is the man who suffers from cirrhosis of the liver. The bartender shakes the man's hand every time he sees him, asks how he's doing, then offers him him another drink.

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duppyVAT 3 years, 2 months ago

How can something that was illegal be accountable? Is this the "noble pirate" syndrome?

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Bahamas676 3 years, 2 months ago

all the rich will be targets once this economy collapse n people cant afford food and water. Most Bahamians just dont see the repercussion of making gambling legal yet, but once IMF stop giving us money then reality hits in..robberies going up,, less money to be spent,banks closing, this will be haiti #2 its all glory now thought because things look good from the inside out.raiding number shops then they stopped cuz the commissioner started getting his kick backs, the politicians voting for it cuz they getting their share..now leslie miller can pay off his 225k bill its all glory for them but their day shall come!

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observer2 3 years, 2 months ago

...maybe the gambling tax receipts can be given to social services and law enforcement to offset the cost of rehabilitation.

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ThisIsOurs 3 years, 2 months ago

Ahh, set fire to the house so the family gets some nice drift wood for sculptures...create a problem with a really nifty solution

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observer2 3 years, 2 months ago

Correct, as there are webshops and liquor stores on every street corner of poorer areas, social services and the police will need more offices as well.

The churches are being proactive as I see allot more churches in poorer areas.

We seem to have enough schools all that is needed is to attempt to graduate some students who can read and write. However, we really don't need to know how to read and write for hotel jobs.

For the biotechnology jobs created in the brave new stem cell industry, we call always import qualified foreigners for them.

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sansoucireader 3 years, 2 months ago

MP Griffith, do you know any drug addicts of alcoholics? First step in recovery is realising you are an addict/alcoholic and want help. YOU are responsible for yourself, not the dope dealer, liquor store or bar-room! So why do you think it is different for a compulsive gambler? Why are you making the web-shop responsible for the gambler's actions? You're saying this compulsive gambler can run around doing what they want like a spoiled bratty child, who doesn't have to face the consequences of his actions. Wrong, wrong, wrong! Don't sound like you thought this out thoroughly at all!

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