October 17, 2021

The Editor speaks: Gambling

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The Cayman Islands Government’s plan to to increase the penalties for gambling and to review the existing law that goes back to 1964, has stalled.

In a press release, see iNews Cayman story “Cayman Islands Gambling Law Amendments under further review” published on December 2nd, Attorney General, Hon. Samuel Bulgin, QC. said:

“….the Gambling (Amendments) Bill, 2018, sought to steeply increase penalties to make them more of a deterrent. As provisions of the law have remained unchanged for 54 years, the current penalties are woefully inadequate and fail to reflect the present ramifications of illegal gambling.

“The Attorney General emphasises that the Gambling Law and its current provisions against illegal gambling remain in full effect in the Cayman Islands.”

The draft bill had proposed to increase fines considerably. Stiffer penalties were included for not only the organisers of gambling but the players as well. Fines for those convicted of running gambling rings arose from $400 to $10,000 and prison terms increased from one year to three years.

This would immediately mean our two existing prisons would have to be increased a hundredfold and the staff tripled because of all the convictions!

I don’t believe we could afford it.

I have to agree with Leader of the Opposition, Ezzard Miller, when he was quoted recently as saying the proposed legislation was “draconian” and “a hopeless solution to the wrong problem”.

He thinks the time is right to legalise lotteries but doesn’t say which one or …more?

It has been proved that a Cayman Islands National Lottery would not work. This is because there are not enough people to make it a realistic alternative to all the ones in the US that are played here in large numbers by the locals with some dizzying numbers in the payout.

I cannot see why legalising lotteries is a problem as it is, in my humble opinion, on a par with local raffles.

Saying this I know my local church members will come down on me like a ton of building blocks!

I have not, however, found any proof that buying a lottery ticket for a few dollars turns somebody onto the downward slope of becoming a compulsive gambler.

The staggering increase in fines and threats of imprisonment is definitely not the answer.

My mother, a staunch Christian lady, did like in her own words, “a flutter twice a year on the gee gees.”

“Gee gees” are horses and she meant the British ‘Derby” and “The Grand National”. Horse races.

Doing this did not make her a compulsive gambler.

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