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Web Shop Licence Winners Named

Former Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe.

Former Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe.

By NICO SCAVELLA

Tribune Staff Reporter

nscavella@tribunemedia.net

ONLY eight web shop operators have been awarded conditional gaming house operator licences, with the “disqualified” applicant ordered to close its business in less than two weeks, Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe announced last night.

Mr Wilchcombe, the minister with responsibility for gaming, said of the nine web shops that submitted requests for proposal (RFPs) to the government, Bet Vegas 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”.

And, by virtue of its disqualification, Bet Vegas was also found lacking the “capacity to create and maintain employment and generate tax revenue”.

The effective closure date for Bet Vegas is October 26, 2015, Mr Wilchcombe said.

Meanwhile, the list of successful applicants are: FML Web Shop, A Sure Win, Chances Games, Paradise Games, Island Luck, Percy’s at the Island Game, Asue Draw + Spin, and Bahama Dreams. According to Mr Wilchcombe, those companies must now complete a “series of regulatory requirements” before receiving a “plenary” gaming house operator licence.

The conditional licenses, he said, will be issued on November 2, 2015, marking the end of the review period.

Mr Wilchcombe said that the annual license and monitoring fees would be $250,000 per operator, $2,000 per premises and $1,000 per agent.

A notice of an award or disqualification will be served to each applicant on October 19, Mr Wilchcombe said.

In yesterday’s statement, Mr Wilchcombe outlined seven “eligibility standards” by which the nine applicants were graded throughout the duration of the RFP process, which included “qualification: the probity investigation; Bahamian ownership; financial stability; compliant server location; compliance with the December 2014 affidavit on premises and agents, and sufficiency of contributions required by the Gaming Act.”

“In order to ensure a uniformed, objective and measurable approach to licensure, the Gaming Act, by and through the RFP process, identified critical standards and benchmarks that related to each applicant’s qualification and eligibility to hold a gaming house operator license as well as to attributes central to the current and prospective financial viability of the applicant, and, as a corollary, to its capacity to create and maintain employment and to generate tax revenue,” Mr Wilchcombe added.

“On October 19, 2015, notice of an award or disqualification to each applicant, as appropriate pursuant to Section 85 (22) of the Act will be given. On November 2, 2015, (the) statement of condition review period ends and gaming house operator conditional licenses will be issued by the Gaming Board under Section 32(5).”

Marking the end of a lengthy process, Mr Wilchcombe added: “As minister responsible for gaming, I am pleased that the professional and diligent work of senior policy advisor in the Office of the Prime Minister for Tourism, Sir Baltron Bethel, and the secretary of the Gaming Board Verdant Scott and his team of Bahamians and AG Consultant, Gaming Integrity Services and White Sands Gaming have reached the next and important stage in interactive gaming.”

Ahead of the licensing phase, nine operators 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, 2014.

They were then given until December 8, 2014 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.

As part of the RFP process, web shops were required to provide their financials, and the Gaming Board has been investigating these applications since March 10.

The government previously projected that it would collect $20m in web shop taxes annually.

On Tuesday, Island Luck CEO Sebas Bastian said he was confident that his company would be among the chosen few to receive the conditional gaming house operator licenses, insisting that his team had put together a “best in class” RFP.

His comments came as Prime Minister Perry Christie accepted a donation of $250,000 from an association of web shop bosses for Hurricane Joaquin relief efforts.

Comments

B_I_D___ 3 years, 10 months ago

Man that 250,000 donation worked great!!

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jackbnimble 3 years, 10 months ago

I agree. Trust me. They knew before the press release.

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bahamian242 3 years, 10 months ago

So how many licenses are to be given out? 5? Well maybe they should just give 4, and have the 8 pair up just to make it 4!

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DillyTree 3 years, 10 months ago

Winners? It's the Bahamian people who are the losers in this deal.

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proudloudandfnm 3 years, 10 months ago

I'd like to see a list of owners. I read right in this newspaper that the only truly 100% Bahamian owned web shop was Sebas. The others all have foreign owners.

So what gives Tribune?

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sealice 3 years, 10 months ago

“capacity to create and maintain employment and generate tax revenue”. means sorry suka you didn't vote for us!

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TalRussell 3 years, 10 months ago

Comrades a smiling from ear to ear Obediah or not, am I the only one confused as to why a minister responsible for tourism, would be the substantive crown minster responsible for issuing the eight numbers licenses - when its illegal for numbers be sold to tourists?

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Well_mudda_take_sic 3 years, 10 months ago

The only "eligibility standard" that mattered to Christie, Wilchcombe and Baltron Bethel was the answer the racketeering numbers' bosses gave to the following question: "Now just how much did you say gonna come our way each year?"

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Biblebased 3 years, 10 months ago

BAHAMIANS EVERYWHERE SHOULD BE PROTESTING..WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH YyOU PEOPLE...YOU LET THIS GOVERNMENT DO WHAT EVER THEY PLEASE, AND YOU VOTED THEM IN POWER. YOU SAID NO TO LEGALIZING GAMBLING, AND THEY GO AHEAD AND DO IT ANYWAY! Young punks who have been stealing from the poor all these years, living it up in Ocean Estates, when they still live in the Ghetto! The license fee was intentionally set high, so that no one else can get in the game....really dirty politics! God help this nation.... the numbers boys are only donating to make you get on their side, its a ploy and s a smoke screen to sucker you in. Where are the Christians in this nation! So people who voted this gov't in....you mean to tell me...you don't care what they do, you just give them card blanch to tax us to poverty, and make themselves rich, and the other opportunist people, like their voters and numbers bosses. We are ofiically a "Mafia" town, that Al Capone would have nothing over....keep being silent Bahamians, for when the bomb falls, we will all be casualties

https://www.gamblingtherapy.org/onlin...">https://www.gamblingtherapy.org/onlin...

.

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Biblebased 3 years, 10 months ago

BAHAMIANS EVERYWHERE SHOULD BE PROTESTING..WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH YyOU PEOPLE...YOU LET THIS GOVERNMENT DO WHAT EVER THEY PLEASE, AND YOU VOTED THEM IN POWER. YOU SAID NO TO LEGALIZING GAMBLING, AND THEY GO AHEAD AND DO IT ANYWAY! Young punks who have been stealing from the poor all these years, living it up in Ocean Estates, when they still live in the Ghetto! The license fee was intentionally set high, so that no one else can get in the game....really dirty politics! God help this nation.... the numbers boys are only donating to make you get on their side, its a ploy and s a smoke screen to sucker you in. Where are the Christians in this nation! So people who voted this gov't in....you mean to tell me...you don't care what they do, you just give them card blanch to tax us to poverty, and make themselves rich, and the other opportunist people, like their voters and numbers bosses. We are officially a "Mafia" town, that Al Capone would have nothing over....keep being silent Bahamians, for when the bomb falls, we will all be casualties

https://www.gamblingtherapy.org/onlin...">https://www.gamblingtherapy.org/onlin...

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Biblebased 3 years, 10 months ago

To all posters, do you realize that posting here does nothing to help this country. We should take all our posting to Rawson square, article to article. Start a campaign to rally all families to come out and save this country!!!! IF Bahamians do not want to fight for their country, then they do not deserve to have it!

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Sickened 3 years, 10 months ago

The PLP is so proud to be in bed with known criminals. Another proud moment in Bahamian history. The criminals are now the most powerful Bahamians in history. They now control Christie and our dim witted leader hasn't got a clue! He thinks that he will still be calling the shots. All these guys have to do now is back Brave or Wilchcombe for leader and Christie is out the door. Christie is a dumb as he looks!

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marrcus 3 years, 10 months ago

Only in the 3rd world do you see the private sector running national lotteries. 1st world countries manage it "in house" with transparency and accountability." 3rd world uses it as cover for payoffs. Much easier to get paid in cash from the "private" sector than to rob the public sector bank. Although this government seems to be adept at both. PLP forever. Get used to it.

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jus2cents 3 years, 10 months ago

And Bahamians Still can't gamble in the Casinos...what a debacle.

They should have had a national lottery That would have been the sensible & honest thing to do. But now just a few will get rich and the majority will carry on being exploited.

These 'web shops' will only destabilize the whole banking system, watch the other Legitimate banks (That are recognized and accepted worldwide) They'll start to leave the Bahamas in droves and take the big international investors with them.

Bahamas will have a lot of money launderers coming to the Bahamas from Russia, China and wartorn Arab states etc. Well done PLP, you have dug a great big hole & now for us to fall into it.... and be buried.

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TalRussell 3 years, 10 months ago

Welcome to the new brand of the political elite but this time they come to the parties, all armed with lots "poor peoples" cash.
Comrade Just2cents unfortunately, there the pickings are slim in the visible numbers citizens who are prepared to stand their ground against the government bypassing a taxpayers owned National Lottery, in favor of known money donors to both the governing and official opposition parties.
Note: Neither Minnis, nor Loretta, have ever denounced the numbers licensing political donors game.
Why not give voters the simplified option mark their X's on one line for both the PLP and red party? If you vote for one you end up getting both - so why even bother to vote in the 2017 General.
Why even both as taxpayers to fund the House of Assembly and Senate Chambers, when neither side isles won't listen to the citizens wishes - well a few they sure seem listen with both ears and their respective political parties pockets - wide open for cash donations - all wagered from and by the poorest among us. they must have no shame at all.

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TheMadHatter 3 years, 10 months ago

2 weeks - wow - so they can't even give their employees the required legal notice. They will be at least 1 day short in that regard.

2 weeks - I mean why not just give them 48 hours instead - there is no difference. These lawyers have no idea what it takes to start and stop a real business.

TheMadHatter

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