By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
Just one of the nine applicants was yesterday denied their conditional web shopgaming licence, with one of the successful applicants adding: “We have to continue to be prepared.”
Pete Deveaux, head of Percy’s at the Island Game, one of the eight companies that has been granted a conditional gaming house operator license, said reaching this stage in the legalisation process had been “a long road with many bumps along the way”.
Of the nine licence applications submitted to the Gaming Board on March 10 this year, only the one by Bet Vegas appears to have been denied.
Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe, who has responsibility for gaming, said in a statement that eight companies have been awarded conditional gaming house licenses.
The eight companies are: the FML Group of Companies Limited trading as (t/a) FNM Webshop; GLK Ltd t/a A Sure Win; Jarol Investments Ltd t/a Chances Games; Paradise Games Bahamas Ltd t/a Paradise Games; Playtech Systems Ltd t/a Island Luck; T.I.G Investments Ltd t/a Percy’s at The Island Game; The Four Point Group Trading t/a Asue Draw + Spin; and Bahama Dream Web Café Ltd t/a Bahama Dreams.
The nine applicants will receive confirmation that they have either been awarded a licence, or been disqualified, on October 19.
Then, on November 2, conditional gaming house operator licenses will be issued to the successful eight companies. The disqualified applicant, Bet Vegas, will have until October 26 to shut down their operations.
An operator’s fee is assessed at $250,000; the premises fees are at $2,000 per location; and the operators must also pay $1,000 per agent.
Successful applicants must now complete a “series of regulatory requirements before being granted a plenary license”, said Mr Wilchcombe.
Mr Deveaux told Tribune Business: “I think it’s been a long road with many bumps along the way. The Government and the Gaming Board worked really hard; so have our company and our employees.
“We will continue to work hard moving forward. We know it’s still long process. This is only a conditional license. We have to continue to be prepared.”
Mr Deveaux said Percy’s at the Island Game employs between 180-220 people, and was always looking to grow.
Nine companies had initially applied for web shop licenses: Bahama Dreams, FML Web Shop, Bet Vegas, A Sure Win, Paradise Games, Island Luck, Percy’s at the Island Game, Asue Draw + Spin, and Chances Games.
They were approved to operate during the transitional period. To remain open, web shops were required to pay their tax arrears for the period July 1 to November 24, 2014, no later than December 1.
They were then given until December 8 last year 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. The Government previously projected that it would collect $20 million in web shop taxes annually.