By LAMECH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
A BAHAMIAN, caught playing Blackjack in the Atlantis Casino, was given probation by a magistrate yesterday after he pleaded guilty to illegal gambling.
Trevor Thompson, 21, of Sea Beach Estates, stood before Magistrate Samuel McKinney on a charge of illegal gambling which carries a fine of up to $5,000.
It is alleged that Thompson was found gambling illegally at the casino on Paradise Island on Sunday, December 27.
Thompson pleaded guilty to playing Blackjack “at table MD301” of the casino.
Police prosecutor Sergeant 1406 Philip Davis informed the magistrate that this was Thompson’s first run in with the law.
After taking Thompson’s youth, remorse and lack of antecedents into consideration, Magistrate McKinney placed him on six months probation during which time he must not run afoul of any law.
Failure to do so would result in Thompson receiving a $500 fine or three months at the Department of Correctional Services.
In January 2013, a gambling referendum was held to determine if Bahamians supported the idea of regulating and taxing web shops and the creation of a national lottery. The question of allowing Bahamians to legally gamble in casinos was not put on the ballot.
Most voters said no to both questions on the ballot, although less than 50 per cent of the country’s registered voters showed up at the polls.
However, the government has since regulated web shops in spite of the results of that referendum, through an amendment to the Gaming Act.
However, the law change did not address the issue of legally allowing Bahamians to gamble in hotel casinos.