The Bet Vegas store on Baillou Hill Road.
By KHRISNA VIRGIL
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE Supreme Court has granted web shop chain Bet Vegas Casino permission to remain open after it was ordered by the government in October to shut down its gaming houses because it did not meet criteria to qualify for a gaming house operator’s license.
On Friday, Justice Roger Gomez placed a stay on his earlier ruling against the company – which set aside the web shop’s ex-parte order – until the Supreme Court has heard an application for leave to apply for judicial review, according to court documents obtained by The Tribune yesterday.
Earlier this month, Bet Vegas closed 10 of its 11 gaming houses after it was ordered to do so by the Gaming Board after an earlier ruling by Justice Gomez.
Anthony Brown, Bet Vegas’ president, told The Tribune at the time that only the company’s Mackey Street location remained open “to pay out outstanding winning tickets”.
He said the company’s 86 employees were paid for the final week of work and “put on notice” in case the chain reopens.
However, yesterday Mr Brown said four web shops have now been re-opened with plans to have the remaining seven operational this week. He said the chain was in the process of contacting staff that were sent home earlier this month to ensure there is sufficient manpower to run all the web shops.
Bet Vegas was one of nine companies that applied for a gaming house operator’s license, however its application was rejected and the business was ordered to cease operations in October.
At that time, Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe said the company did not meet the “critical standards and benchmarks” that related to “each applicant’s qualification and eligibility to hold a gaming house operator license,” as well as “attributes central to the current and prospective financial viability of the applicant”.
However, one week later, the web shop filed court documents against the attorney general, the commissioner of police and the minister of tourism, preventing police from closing them down.
On December 3, a statement from the Gaming Board said that on December 1, the Supreme Court ordered the ex-parte order filed by Bet Vegas should be “set aside with immediate effect.” The franchise was then ordered to shut down its operations by December 7.
After the order to close was handed down, Mr Brown said it was a “slap in the face” for his business, which he said was the only web shop chain established after the sector was made legal.
“This is ridiculous. We’re the only company that really met all of the requirements,” Mr Brown told Tribune Business earlier this month.
“We’re the only company that came in after the industry was legalised. This makes no sense.”
The eight companies that received a conditional web shop license are FML; A Sure Win; Chances Games; Paradise Games; Island Luck; Percy’s at The Island Game; Asue Draw + Spin; and Bahama Dreams.