BVI News

Is BVI prepared for gambling law’s pitfalls? It will create loan sharks

Melvin ‘Mitch’ Turnbull.

Opposition legislator Melvin ‘Mitch’ Turnbull has raised questions about what has been put in place to avert some of the likely social ills that will come with the implementation of the territory’s gambling laws.

He raised those questions during the debate on the Virgin Islands Gaming & Betting Control (Amendment) Act, 2021 that passed in the House of Assembly (HOA) yesterday.

Turnbull said that although the territory will likely increase its revenue with the money that will be received from this legislation, there is a very dark side to that same reality.

“It will create an environment where we already have loan sharks,” Turnbull said.

“What will we have in place to deal and combat with the violence that will come with that?” the Second District Representative questioned.

According to Turnbull, there are those who are able to place the occasional bet in a managed and controlled way but he also reasoned that there are those who cannot handle the loss associated with betting and gaming. 

The Opposition legislator, whose clergyman father also opposes the territory’s gaming laws, further questioned what will happen when the rates of violence and crime inevitably go on the rise.

“Can we ignore the families that will be destroyed?” Turnbull asked.

He also posed the question of whether the BVI can assist in the deterioration of the family structure at the expense of simply diversifying its economy.

The legislator argued that while there will be some glamour attached to the new legislation, it is also important that measures be put in place to deal with the social ills that will come out of the gambling industry.

Don’t ignore the reality

Arguing in support of the legislation, Premier Andrew Fahie said there is rampant open gambling and betting already happening in the territory, despite this being illegal.

He said persons even offer delivery services where betting and gambling is concerned.

Premier Fahie contended that gambling needs to be regulated properly and the territory should not continue to be living a lie and ignore the illegality of the situation.

“Let’s not pretend like we don’t know what’s happening,” the Premier said.

“We either shut all of them down and lock all of them up, or you go and do what we’re doing — putting the regulations in place with how it’s going to operate legally and get what is yours and make sure that it’s properly regulated so it doesn’t encourage any negative behaviours,” he stated.


Copyright 2024 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.


Disclaimer: BVI News and its affiliated companies are not responsible for the content of comments posted or for anything arising out of use of the comments below or other interaction among the users.

  1. ? says:

    So we doing this and repenting. Where is that whip that was used in our Lord’s time to clean out the temple?

    Like 16
    Dislike 4
  2. Way to Mitch says:

    Agree with Mitch what do we have in place to the deal with the Social ill contributing from this act. Our leaders cannot continue to turn a blind eye to these issues.

    Like 15
    Dislike 4
  3. Glamour!? says:

    Guess these guys have not been to Atlantic City NJ!?
    I have. Not much glamour in the little towns the real people live in (the workers for the casino). Plus, lots of extra work in prostitution! Maybe the BVI can start taxing that too!

    Like 11
  4. holy water says:

    Mitch sounds smarter than the premier

    Like 19
    Dislike 5
  5. Just my 2 cents says:

    Many times critics use the religious, family values and moral breakdowns trumpcard whenever the issue of legalizing gambling, casinos, homosexuality and prostitution arises.

    If we are truthful to ourselves, we must recognize that these practices are deeply rooted in our society. None are foreign or even recent to us. Many acts have been taking place in and covered by the very same religious,family and political organizations speaking out against it.

    Truth be told, whether legal or not, these behaviours will continue as it cannot be stopped. Our leaders just need to ensure that minors and our most vulnerable are protected and gain some additional revenue for the territory.

    Like 9
    Dislike 4
  6. Limbo says:

    Fast money, but at what expense? Children and the future generations. Where are the leaders? They’ve been beaten by the seven sins. So corrupted in mind the way forward to a sustainable life involves drugs, gambling, and whoredom. Even to the point that a professed man of God would advocate for regularization.

    Do we fight for our dignity and honor? For ourselves and our future. Or do we work to pacify our minds, begging for the scraps of others and selling our children into lives of vice.

    Like 17
  7. St. Croix says:

    Hope all the failed casinos here for the last 20 years can move to Tortola after the UK governor assents to this new BVI gambling law.

  8. Astonished says:

    I am astonished that this is what our Government is promoting or prioritizing when there are some many other important issues to deal with. I hope some good people step forward soon so we can vote the VIP out of office. Both the NDP and VIP are to blame for the mess this country is in.

    Like 16
    Dislike 1
  9. France says:

    The gambling act should only be to allow cruise ships to open their casinos when in port and perhaps allow some level of casino at the pier park to operate ONLY for cruise passengers when they’re in port. I do NOT agree with a free for all casino in the BVI, why? We don’t need it. If we want to do some level of gaming then a local lottery can work but leave the casinos alone, it’s more trouble than it is worth.

    Like 25
    Dislike 1
  10. oh yeah says:

    We can use the Bahamas as an example. Gambling is allowed in the casinos but locals are not allowed to gamble there or any other place within the territory. It seems to be working for them.

    Like 7
    Dislike 1
    • says:

      They’re called Numbers Houses! They are illegal but operate. A couple years ago they became an election issue. Thankfully, the politicians on their own did not decide – they held a referendum on whether they should be legalised or not.

  11. Father Time says:

    The BVI already has one loan shark. He sits up in the big office of that one insurance company.

    Like 13
    Dislike 1
  12. watchman says:

    The BVI needs revenue. FACT
    The BVI is void of entertainment. FACT
    The BVI has to be able to compete with other ports of travel. FACT

    How can we ignore the fact that there must be income for other projects to be financed. I’m not sure who applied for the ‘loan shark’ business license but seems to me the BVI already has sex addiction, drug addiction, alcoholism, horse racing, etc
    Some of these religious folk just hate change but guess what, there is no progress without change. Turnbull himself will be demanding that his projects that he deems good for the people be financed. That revenue has to come from somewhere. Every good investment group has a diversified portfolio, the BVI must do the same. This is a good & necessary legislation.

    Like 4
    Dislike 11
    • 284 says:

      I wouldn’t really call gambling entertainment, and while I agree that these thing are already happening a proper plan should be put in place to support the gambling act, educating people on the dangers and support groups. I do not believe the solution here is a yes or no extreme nor do I think religion should be a reason not to have gambling here.

      I would take a leaf out of Monacos playbook and only allow tourists to gamble, that way locals benefit through job creation and an influx of funds while they are protected from the proven addictive nature of gambling, or they choose to gamble illegally.

      I also feel that this gambling law does not fit very well with nature’s little secret unless the secret is how well we wash money?

      Like 8
      Dislike 1
    • I see says:

      Ever heard the end does not justify the means?

      This is the basis of your argument. While all of the things you listed are true and the BVI does need to diversify its portfolio….at what cost?

      In the end, if we have all the money in the world but our society is rampant with uncontrollable ills that destroy its fabric….will the means still be worth it?

      Food for your thoughts.

      • watchman says:

        Are you in denial about what already happens here?

        They play dice in HS, they gamble on the horse track every August Easter & Boxing Day, they sell lottery, need I say more? Rum shops are already in every neighborhood? Sports is big, there are Football pools at work. Dominoes in every village.

        To each their own but there’s nothing wrong with taxes, and the activities are here. Being an ostrich won’t change that now or ever.

        Like 1
        Dislike 3
        • cancer says:

          is bad to encourage, even if this government can see a short term gain. Gambling corporations cynically manipulate punters into addictive behaviour, at enormous social cost when it’s the family food and rent money at stake. This isn’t a game of dominoes buddy. It’s industrialised theft from poor people.

        • BuzzBvi says:

          Guess you mean that all these illegal acivities are happening a crack down through enforcement would be a good way forward. Or should we just make all illegal activity here legal and so at the same time get rid of he need for the COI. 2 Birds!

  13. What double standards says:

    1. Where is the Christian council to point out the sinfulness in all of this?
    Answer: The twenty thousand has quiet the pulpit
    2. Are some sinful acts considered righteous ?
    Answer : The churches is silenced by the package
    3. Is gambling ? What do
    The PASTORS say?
    Answer : You do not mingle church and state … dangerous!!!
    Ouch that is why they are afraid to speak or !
    What a shame

  14. heckler says:

    The churches were given stimulus money to keep them quiet

  15. Unconventional leadership says:

    It does not surprise me that our Christian prayer fasting Premier would opt to introduce and legalize such vice in our communities. Neither am I surprised by honestly speaking men of rads spewing weekly filth on the airways. Not at all surprised that it would have been passed in the out house by spineless men and women. And definitely not surprise the the silent pastors will not rise up and condemn. The voice of God is amazingly silent in the bvi. Churches are no more than clubs where certain people go to be entertained. The Premier is now leading the activities of the church, calling for week of pray, that is the responsibility of the church. The Premier is a clever man, he can fool the people but he cant fool God. Bvi is sliding and sliding fast into a hell hole nation. May God raise up righteous men and women to bring back the fear and reverence of God back to the bvi. Despite how the out house votes righteousness still exalts a nation. When the Premier quote the bible he should be mindful of that quote. It needs to be framed and put in the out house so the legislators will see it as they deliberate. Will we ever have a Christian nation ever again.

  16. Lol says:

    Gamble on cruise ship no gamble on land…and we good to go. No local casinos or slot machines please. We have enough drinking, whoring, and thieving.. we don’t need any more vices.

  17. No Longer Surprised. says:

    So we worrying about gambling now??? I am SURE can find something else more pressing to worry about. Strupes.

    Like 1
    Dislike 1
  18. Lets try it B4 we fail it says:

    I like the Idea of Gaming. The time has come for us to have our own “BVI Lottery”.We are big supporters of Virgin Island and Puerto Rico Lottery, we sent lots of money out the BVI playing those Lotteries, Time for our own.. Also, Lets Start with Just One Casino at the Pier Park, assess it, see how its working then we decide the way forward…Dont fail it. Lets try it first..

    Like 2
    Dislike 2
  19. Mr Mike says:

    Save the nature from the local negative impacts to wildlife and trees and coral from the added carbon fuel and traffic…..Sailng, snorkle, the island’s and belongers natural beauty is the draw without gambling- in fact no casinos has been the draw for all the vacationers to Virgin Gorda that we know.

Leave a Comment