Categorized | National News

Number Business Could Get Green Light

The legal operation of the local numbers business could soon become a reality if the majority of Bahamians back the controversial move.
Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Chairman Bradley Roberts recently confirmed that the government will follow through with its promise to put the issue to the people.

“The PLP in its Charter of Governance has undertaken to put in place a referendum to allow Bahamians to decide whether the government should legalise what we commonly refer to as the numbers business. The FNM did not put that in their platform, but Mr. Ingraham said that he would hold a referendum. So, it appears that there is not a major difference between the two major political parties on this matter,” Mr. Roberts said.

“A referendum will allow those who oppose to conduct a campaign and those who support can also conduct a campaign. Now, when the votes are taken, if there are more votes to legalise the activity then it will proceed, if there are insufficient votes to do so, then it will not.”

The illegal practice of playing numbers has long been a thorny issue.
While quite a number of Bahamians support the idea, charging that if properly controlled, it can be helpful to the economy, many religious groups staunchly oppose it, arguing that it can be harmful.
Others believe the practice undermines the importance of work and savings.

But, not all gambling is illegal in The Bahamas. While Bahamians are banned from participating, tourists are free to do so.
However, Mr. Roberts admitted that even if any government wanted to curb the illegal numbers business, technology has made it next to impossible to stamp out.

“Gambling has been a perennial problem and technology has overcome the situation, making it almost impossible for the government to control. Because of technology, one does not need to go into a web shop to make a wager, you can do it from your cell phone and even your computer,” he said.

But Mr. Roberts was quick to point out that no matter what the majority of Bahamians decide, the government will honour that decision.

“Whoever wins the majority vote when the referendum is proposed, that is how the Christie administration will be guided,” he said.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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