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Web Shop Gaming Impact Is A Lottery

An Exuma businessman examines the impact of gambling’s proliferation, and what can be done to control it

By ​Kenneth​ ​Delano​ ​Bowe Sr

kb@chatnchill.com

ELECTIONS ​have​ ​consequences. The​ ​Free​ ​National​ ​Movement​ ​(FNM) won​ ​the​ ​recent​ ​election,​ ​so​ ​Prime​ ​Minister​ ​Hubert​ ​A.​ ​Minnis and​ ​his​ ​Cabinet​ ​must​ ​now​ ​make​ ​decisions.

The​ ​first​ ​crucial​ ​decision​ ​should​ ​be​ ​whether​ ​web​ ​shops​ ​should​ ​be​ ​allowed​ ​to​ ​continue​ ​to​ ​exist. Keeping​ ​in​ ​mind​ ​that​ ​a​ ​‘referendum​’ ​held​ ​by​ ​the​ ​previous​ ​PLP​ ​government​ ​rejected​ ​the legalisation​ ​of​ ​web​ ​shops​ ​or​ ​‘numbers​ ​houses’ ​as​ ​they​ ​were​ ​previously​ ​known.

By​ ​whatever​ ​name,​ ​the​ ​web​ ​shop​ ​industry​ ​is​ ​destroying​ ​the​ ​banking​ ​system ​and​, ​at​ ​the​ ​same time​, ​wreaking​ ​havoc​ ​and​ ​breaking​ ​down​ ​the​ ​social​ ​fabric​ ​of​ ​marginalised​ ​communities​ ​across this​ ​country.​ ​This​ ​is​ ​evidenced​ ​by​ ​the​ ​exit​ ​of​ ​commercial​ ​banks​ ​from​ ​the​ ​Family​ ​Islands​ ​in​ ​the case​ ​of​ ​Scotia​bank’s​ ​closure​ ​on​ ​Long​ ​Island​ ​and​ ​North​ ​Eleuthera,​ ​and​ ​Royal​ ​Bank​ ​of​ ​Canada’s closure​ ​in​ ​Bimini.

The​ ​primary​ ​purpose​ ​of​ ​a​ ​bank​ ​in​ ​any​ ​community​ ​is​ ​to​ ​provide​ ​services​ ​such​ ​as​ ​chequing​ ​and savings​ ​deposits,​ ​and certificates​ ​of​ ​deposits,​ ​all​ ​of​ ​which​ ​are​ ​packaged​ ​and​ ​offered​ ​as​ ​loans​ ​to qualified​ ​customers​ ​and​ ​entrepreneurs once​ ​risks​ ​are​ ​assessed​ ​and​ ​interest​ ​rates​ ​are calculated.

Since​ ​legislation,​ ​or​ ​regularisation​ ​as​ ​it​ ​was​ ​called​ ​to​ ​by​ ​the​ ​previous​ ​government,​ ​web​ ​shops are​ ​now​ ​sucking​ ​up​ ​the​ ​limited​ ​savings​ ​and​ ​funds​ ​from​ ​Bahamian​ ​communities​ ​by​ ​offering games​ ​in​ ​the​ ​form​ ​of​ ​entertainment,​ ​which​ ​often​ ​offer ​customers​ ​little​ ​chance​ ​of​ ​winning.​ ​They also​ ​offer​ ​free​ ​money​ ​transfer​ ​services​ ​from​ ​customer​ ​to​ ​customer​ ​as​ ​an enticement​ ​to​ ​gambling, and​ ​presumably​ ​without​ ​Central​ ​Bank​ ​approval.​ ​Funds​ ​are​ ​siphoned​ ​from​ ​marginal​ ​communities and​, ​what​ ​is​ ​even​ ​worse,​ ​this​ ​new​ ​gambling​ ​addiction​ ​undermines​ ​the​ ​work​ ​ethic​ ​of​ ​many Bahamians​ ​who​ ​believe​ ​they​ ​can​ ​‘get​ ​rich​ ​quick’ ​by​ ​gambling.

If​ ​banks​ ​have​ ​no​ ​deposits,​ ​then​ ​they​ ​exit​ ​communities.​ ​Moreover,​ ​their​ ​absence​ ​deprives communities​ ​of​ ​other​ ​services​ ​such​ ​as​ ​reliable​ ​money​ ​transfer,​ ​cheque​ ​cashing,​ ​loans ​and credit​ ​card​ ​processing.​ ​​Potential​ ​investors​ ​will​ ​not​ ​consider​ ​projects​ ​on​ ​an​ ​island​ ​without standard​ ​banking​ ​services​ ​for​ ​the​ ​purchase​ ​of​ ​goods​ ​and​ ​supplies​, ​and​ ​the​ ​payment​ ​of​ ​salaries. Otherwise​ ​all​ ​transactions​ ​would​ ​need​ ​to​ ​be​ ​done​ ​on​ ​a​ ​cash​ ​basis​, ​which​ ​becomes​ ​problematic and​ ​can​ ​result​ ​in​ ​the​ ​possibility​ ​of​ ​robbery.

Web​ ​shops​ ​add​ ​zero​ ​dollars​ ​to​ ​the​ ​Gross​ ​Domestic​ ​Product​ ​(GDP).​ ​These​ ​web​ ​shop​ ​operations are​ ​practicing​ ​a​ ​reverse​ ​Robin​ ​Hood​ ​game​ ​of​ ​taking​ ​from​ ​the​ ​poor​ ​to​ ​enrich​ ​a​ ​few.​ ​​​In​ ​fact,​ ​the previous​ ​government​ ​selected​ ​and​ ​created​ ​a​ ​new​ ​class​ ​of​ ​oligarchs​ ​to​ ​amass​ ​wealth​ ​while destroying​ ​poor​ ​communities.

If​ ​it​ ​happens​ ​that​ ​web​ ​shop​ ​licenses​ ​are​ ​locked​ ​in​ ​for​ ​some​ ​period​ ​of​ ​time,​ ​then​ ​consideration should​ ​be​ ​given​ ​to​ ​a​ ​‘Bahamas​ ​National​ ​Lottery’ ​that​ ​would​ ​operate​ ​parallel​ ​to​ ​the​ ​already​ ​existing​ ​‘web​ ​shop’ ​groups.​ ​In​ ​so​ ​doing,​ ​a​ ​‘Bahamas​ ​National​ ​Lottery’ ​would democratise​ ​the​ ​process​ ​by​ ​opening​ ​up​ ​the​ ​purchase​ ​of​ ​lottery​ ​tickets​ ​to​ ​a​ ​broad​ ​spectrum​ ​of retailers​ ​such​ ​as​ ​gas​ ​stations​ ​and​ ​‘Mom​ ​and​ ​Pop’ ​operators​ ​throughout​ ​the​ ​country. The​ ​revenue​ ​from​ ​the​ ​Government’s​ ​‘Bahamas​ ​National​ ​Lottery’ ​should​ ​have​ ​specific allocations​ ​to​ ​targeted​ ​activities​ ​such​ ​as​ ​education,​ ​sports​ ​and​ ​culture.

In​ ​conclusion,​ ​increased​ ​taxation​ ​on​ ​web​ ​shops​ ​may​ ​not​ ​be​ ​sufficient,​ ​as​ ​it​ ​still​ ​allows​ ​the enrichment​ ​of​ ​a​ ​chosen​ ​few​ ​whose​ ​power​ ​will​ ​increase​ ​in​​ ​society,​ ​and​ ​who​ ​over​ ​time​ ​can influence​ ​the​ ​political​ ​process.

The​ ​Prime​ ​Minister​ ​and​ ​his​ ​Cabinet​ ​should​ ​recognise​ ​the​ ​wisdom​ ​of​ ​crowds.​ ​This​ ​is​ ​most brilliant​ ​in​ ​a​ ​book,​ ​The​ ​Wisdom​ ​of​ ​Crowds:​ ​large​ ​groups​ ​of​ ​people​ ​are​ ​smarter​ ​than​ ​an​ ​elite few),​ ​written​ ​by​ ​James​ ​Surowiecki​

Comments

JohnDoe 4 years ago

"If​ ​banks​ ​have​ ​no​ ​deposits,​ ​then​ ​they​ ​exit​ ​communities" says Mr Bowe. When I first read this statement I thought it was a joke. But then I read in another article where Mr. Bowe claims to have a degree in economics. Well, all I can say is that if he has a degree in economics then he must have missed the semester when they offered Econ 101. Mr. Bowe for the record banks do not make money from deposits, in fact deposits attract a carrying costs for banks. Banks make money from the spread earned on loans compared to the costs of their deposits.

I can explain to you exactly what that mean and why your statement is mischievously and patently false especially in light of the record levels of liquidity held by most of these banks but I suspect you already know and your article was merely a paid propaganda response to the factual observations of Mr. Simms from the Chamber of Commerce stating the the foreign commercial banks have fallen down with respect to the Family Islands.

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