Sebas Bastian, CEO of Island Luck, at the launch of the company’s new Quick Draw game.
By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE law regulating the gaming industry is “clearly designed” to accommodate “lotto” and other innovative products, the Gaming Board said yesterday.
The board released a statement in an attempt to answer questions about whether Island Luck’s recently introduced Quick Draw game is legal. It stressed that Island Luck’s game is not a national lottery, and is categorised as a “numbers game” consistent with the law.
Meanwhile, Island Luck CEO Sebas Bastian also hit out at critics of his company’s new three-ball game, stressing that it is “obvious” the new service is in compliance with the Gaming Act.
Mr Bastian emphasised that Island Luck has obtained the necessary authorisation to conduct the new game, which has received criticism from some who questioned if the company was violating the law.
The three-ball game, launched last Friday, has been billed as the first live lottery in the Bahamas, offering 32 draws per day.
While the Christie administration eventually legalised the web shop industry in 2014, it has not agreed to introduce a national lottery, causing some to raise questions about Island Luck’s Quick Draw game.
Unconfirmed reports have also alleged that some of Island Luck’s competitors are concerned about the creation of the Quick Draw product.
Through a spokesperson, FML Group of Companies President Craig Flowers declined to speak to The Tribune about the matter yesterday.
“Our proprietary Quick Draw three ball ‘numbers game’ that we recently introduced to the Bahamas and to the Bahamian people is not a new game,” Mr Bastian said in a statement. “The three ball numbers game has been played in the Bahamas since the inception of the domestic gaming industry.
“The primary difference between Quick Draw and the other three ball numbers games offered in the Bahamas, is that Quick Draw is managed and operated locally by Bahamians and the Quick Draw gaming equipment is domiciled here in the Bahamas. The fact that the Quick Draw equipment is domiciled here in the Bahamas enables the Gaming Board to exercise its authority and oversight over the integrity of the equipment, the internal controls, the process and the generated results which is not possible with the other foreign permissible three ball numbers games where the gaming equipment and results are offshore.
“In recent days there have been a number of persons who have ‘questioned the new three ball game and asked if Island Luck got authorisation to run what they perceived as a lottery’. To those protestors who have clearly not bothered or taken the time to read the Gaming Act, we simply say Quick Draw is not a new game, Quick Draw is expressly permitted under the Gaming Act and Island Luck has obtained authorisation to offer Quick Draw to the Bahamian public.”
Meanwhile, the Gaming Board said in its statement that the Quick Draw is not a public lottery, adding that the game is consistent with provisions of the Gaming Act 2014.
“When adopting the legislation that is now transitioning Bahamian web shops into regulated Internet gaming operations, the government made provision for the continuation of the numbers game,” the Gaming Board said. “In specific, the Gaming Act 2014, which generally requires that all Bahamians wager via the Internet, carves out an exception which permits the numbers game to be played in an over the counter, cash-based environment. The definition for the numbers game incorporated into the Act was clearly designed to both accommodate the ‘lotto’ products traditionally offered by Bahamian web shop operators and to allow Bahamian players future access to more innovative offerings by licensed gaming house operators.”
In March, the Gaming Board authorised Island Luck to provide the product, reserving its right to revisit the approval in 90 days.
“In doing so, the Gaming Board recognised that the location of the draw at Island Luck’s South West Plaza location, rather than at a location outside of The Bahamas, did not change the categorisation of this three ball offering as the numbers game,” the Gaming Board said.