BVI News

Gov’t introducing legislation to accommodate, regulate gambling and betting in the BVI

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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20 Comments

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  1. HRMPH says:

    I bet that all the usual suspects hollar and moan about this, and will be first in line when a casino opens!

    Like 29
    Dislike 2
    • BigEars says:

      Don’t bet on anything … it aint legal yet!

    • Nope says:

      No casino will be opened. This is to set the stage so that cruise ships can open their casinos while at our dock, meaning we would be able to tap into those tourists at night time as well, along with enabling para mutual betting at the horse track. I don’t envision having full fledge casinos here in the BVI.

      Like 14
      Dislike 2
    • Just saying says:

      Lottery tickets – gambling – sold openly all over the place. Had anyone ever been arrested? Do you need a trade license to do something illegal? Gambling takes place in private clubs ad on the race track. So nothing will change in our daily life.

  2. about time says:

    We are way behind the 8 ball

    Like 11
  3. Shark says:

    If you think money was being laundered before. Lol. Now you will see money laundering

    Like 7
    Dislike 9
  4. Thinking says:

    Great initiatives.. wait! St Thomas has gaming, St Croix has, St Martin has, Puerto Rico has..I guess as Virgin Islanders we are too “holier than thou” to gamble.Gaming make $$$$$,and is an excellent revenue earner.

    Like 18
    Dislike 2
  5. My take says:

    This is a good move.

    Like 6
    Dislike 1
  6. Jane says:

    There is nothing “holier than thou” about not wanting gambling. It is insidious and there are no winners. When you smoke crack at least you get a high; when you gamble all you get is broke. This is a Pandora’s Box that the BVI doesnt need to open and will regret it when it does. You will not be able to turn back time. Don’t do this.

    Like 3
    Dislike 10
    • @jane says:

      The BVI is one of the biggest hypocrites that I have ever seen. They are gambling every day in the public buying PR lottery tickets although it is illegal. All the bars & rum shop have gaming and gambling almost all day. All this happening in the BVI daily and we turn our head and pretend otherwise so why the hell we can’t legalize it then regulate it and help to build our country from the revenues that keep going outside the Territory.

      Like 18
    • Hah says:

      Do you realize how stupid you sound? So many lives were changed for the better because of playing the lottery and winning. The BVI doesn’t have a market for Casinos so I’m sure that there will not be a casino anytime soon. Betting on horseracing on the other hand has always existed and will become bigger when it is legalized.

      Like 7
      Dislike 1
  7. true says:

    hope sports betting is allowed in the BVI, love my football betting and its a great Saturday afternoon in a bar with the horse racing

    Like 6
    Dislike 1
    • Just saying says:

      Lottery tickets – gambling – sold openly all over the place. Had anyone ever been arrested? Do you need a trade license to do something illegal? Gambling takes place in private clubs ad on the race track. So nothing will change in our daily life.

  8. Hmmm says:

    You are about to create the platform for criminal activity .

    Like 2
    Dislike 11
  9. Musa says:

    O boy bvi gone down very sad gambling is a big disgrace but as the pastor say it go hand in hand legalization of marijuana

    Like 1
    Dislike 7
  10. Dman says:

    Take the revenue but remember gambling can be a disease and programs need to be in place from the beginning to help those who need it.

    Like 1
    Dislike 1

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