December 5, 2020

Gambling touted for Cayman

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casino_largeWith gambling (gaming) being one of the subjects tackled by the Cayman Islands Tourism Association (CITA) at their General Meeting on January 9th it also featured in the Cayman Business Outlook (CBO) Question and Answer Panel on January 24th.

At the CITA GM a casino was discussed as a method of injecting much needed cash into the economy.

Proponents of gaming argued that it would provide a revenue stream to the government coffers, create new jobs, add another attraction to Cayman, help fund projects, increase construction jobs and attract a wider demographic to the island.

The CITA proposed sending out a country wide survey to get the pulse of the people on whether gaming should be allowed in Cayman and if so, in what form(s).

See iNews Cayman story dated 8th January “2013 CITA General Meeting on Wednesday publish Agenda for 6 tourism issues” at https://www.ieyenews.com/2013/01/cita-general-meeting-on-wednesday-publish-agenda-for-6-tourism-issues/

At the CBO both Deputy premier Rolston Anglin and Opposition Leader Alden McLaughlin advocated holding a national referendum and let the people vote on it.

Anglin even said he would support casino gambling as a way to enhance Cayman’s tourism product. He cited all the other countries in the Caribbean saying, “look at how those have completely changed and revolutionised their tourism products.”

Although McLaughlin fully supported holding the referendum he said he himself did not support gambling and agreed with the third panellist, Ellio Solomon’s stance that gambling could eventually cost Cayman more than it would earn government in revenues because of the addiction problem.

“No one’s going to tell you what you’re going to have to push out in terms of programmes for those who are addicted to gambling,” he had warned.

McLaughlin admitted that there were members of his party, the People’s Progressive Movement, who were more liberal on the subject of gambling.

He also said there had to be a distinction made between a lottery and casino gambling.

“I believe that Cayman’s population simply would not sustain [the lottery] without being affiliated with a lottery somewhere else,” he said.

This was borne out by a report headed up by Rotarian and Businessman, Robert (Bobby) Bodden, executed some years ago that concluded there was not enough people to make it worthwhile because the overheads to implement a national lottery were so high.

However, a later consultant’s report in 2010, said legalised gambling would likely succeed in Cayman mostly because such “below the board” operations were rife in the islands, citing the numbers and other gaming systems that were increasing here.

“The issue with casinos is the same one that Bahamas have contended with: Should you or should you not let your local population play?” McLaughlin said referring to countries like the Bahamas where their own nationals are banned from casinos.

The CTA said they wanted to be involved in the decision-making process of whether or not to introduce gaming, in which island(s), and what form(s) of gaming would be introduced; and to be involved in the development of key laws, strategies, policies and initiatives relating to gaming.

“If gaming is going to be introduced in Cayman, CITA member(s) would be involved in the planning and creating of the gaming laws and policies of Cayman,” they said.

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