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Island Luck Files Bid For Web Shop Licence

By NICO SCAVELLA

Tribune Staff Reporter

nscavella@tribunemedia.net

ISLAND Luck Chief Executive Sebas Bastian yesterday said he was “optimistic” his company would become a “successful applicant” in its bid to obtain a gaming house operator’s licence.

Formally announcing Island Luck’s Request For Proposal (RFP) submission yesterday morning, Mr Bastian said he was “hopeful” his company would be one of those that would, upon receipt of the licence, be allowed to operate legally in the country.

Mr Bastian said his company has applied for the gaming house operator’s licence, premises licence and to be “the agents to operate those licences.”

He spoke at a press conference outside of the Gaming Board.

Mr Bastian said the process of applying for the licence has been the “eight longest weeks of our lives.”

“It’s been a long, long journey, and we’re just excited that we’re at the last phase of our journey now, and we remain optimistic, hopeful that we’ve put together our best proposal,” Mr Bastian said.

“Sixty binders, 35,000 pages later we finally were able to submit our RFP this morning. It was information dating back 20 years that I had to remember, but nonetheless it was part of the process. We’re just excited that this process is now in its final phase, but for us now it’s just a waiting game and hopefully we’ll become successful applicants.”

Mr Bastian’s announcement came on the deadline for web shops to submit their bids for licences, which is part of the transition to a legalised web shop industry. The previous deadline was February 20, but was reportedly extended due to the government and web shop operators not yet resolving their differences on how the sector’s taxes are to be calculated.

Last week, Mr Bastian confirmed that the deadline extension was due to a “discrepancy on the back taxes and the interpretation of what turnover is.”

Yesterday, Mr Bastian said his company had spent an estimated $200,000 just preparing the RFP documents, and millions in back taxes.

Additionally, he said Island Luck had to compile and submit background information, such as identification, ownership structures, the company’s business and community benefit plans, as well as disaster recovery layout and design.

“It was a lot of work,” he said. “At first I was a little bit discouraged by the figures I was getting, I thought I was being taken advantage of. But after seeing 30,000 pages plastered over a room, and the countless hours that went into the process, I think it was money well spent.

“We’ve contributed in the millions and a fair share in our opinion of the process, and like I’ve always said there’s no guarantees, and you have to pay to play,” he added.

In order to remain open during the transitional period, web shops were required to pay their tax arrears for the period July 1 to November 24, 2014, no later than December 1.

Operators were then given until December 8 to lodge sworn affidavits with the secretary of the Gaming Board, in which they disclosed whether they wished to operate their businesses during the transitional period.

Only companies that are 100 per cent owned by Bahamian citizens, who reside in The Bahamas, will qualify for licencing as a gaming house operator.

Last month, Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe said the government expects to announce within a few months the operators successful in obtaining gaming house operator licences.

Comments

John 4 years, 6 months ago

So what happens in the event a company goes through all this work and expense and exposure and their application is denied? They simply close shop and lose all these resources or are they given time to qualify and/or wind up their operations?

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DonAnthony 4 years, 6 months ago

Do not be naive. There is no suspense here, all these operators know if they will get a license. The fix was in before the referendum and it is still in. Nothing is for free and you get what you pay for.

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realfreethinker 4 years, 6 months ago

This whole process is a sham. This stuff is only to distract the public. These guys already have their "unofficial" lincences

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duppyVAT 4 years, 6 months ago

Until the Treasurer of The Bahamas shows the media receipts of monies received that the government actually collected all of this tax/fees from these mafia fellas then do not believe the PR of Flowers, Bastian, Sears etc. This is the latest Mafia ring on the block - like Freeport

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birdiestrachan 4 years, 6 months ago

I noted with interest members of the FNM who were told to vote NO to Webb shops right there front and centre, they use to be Papa's boys.

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ThisIsOurs 4 years, 6 months ago

Does anyone know how many documents would be needed or how much time it would take to defend against a charge of human smuggling in the US? Just wondering ....

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asiseeit 4 years, 6 months ago

The U.S. is a joke. They know what is going on. Why do you think they have not told us who official 8 is. They know that if Bahamians where to know the whole truth there would be a revolution on their doorstep. The U.S. looks out for the U.S., nobody else.

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