By Esther Durand, BVI News Staff
Government is planning to introduce laws to legalize gaming and betting in the British Virgin Islands.
Governor Jaspert gave that indication while delivering his Speech from the Throne address in the House of Assembly on Thursday, November 14.
He said: “Government will put forward legislation to introduce and regulate the gaming and betting industry to provide for the establishment of the Gambling, Gaming & Betting Control Commission.”
With the commission in place, the Premier further said it will establish “a licensing framework that will avert criminal or illegal activities”. He added that the gaming and betting industry will cover sectors such as horseracing, the cruise industry, among other areas.
The Governor stated that these areas will now provide added revenue and employment to the territory.
Over the years, there have been continuous calls from the Virgin Islands Horse Owners Association for parimutuel betting legislation to be implemented in the territory.
One of the most recent calls came from Association President Lesmore Smith in August last year.
Smith said legislating parimutuel betting (betting on horses), gaming and a national lottery are now more critical given the territory’s financial challenges post hurricanes Irma and Maria. He also said gaming laws in the BVI would attract more investors and a new tourism niche to the British Virgin Islands.
Sports Council in the pipeline
Meanwhile, Governor Jaspert said the Andrew Fahie-led administration is also planning on introducing the Virgin Islands National Sports Council Act to provide for the establishment of a National Sports Council. He said this is being introduced because of the significant international successes of local athletes in recent times.
“The Act will also provide for comprehensive management mechanism to support all sports and recreation in the territory,” he noted.
“Also in the area of sport, there will be the introduction of the Horseracing Act to provide for the establishment of a Horse Racing Commission. This will better regulate the sport,” the governor added.
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