BVI News

Proposed gambling law: Commission to oversee gaming sector, issue licenses

As Minister of Finance, Premier Andrew Fahie has portfolio responsibility for gambling in the BVI.

By Esther Durand, BVI News Staff

The proposed Gambling (Gaming and Betting) Virgin Control Act of 2020, which seeks to legalise gambling in the BVI and ‘provide for the regulation and control of gaming and betting and matters, has been drafted and published in the government’s official Gazette for public viewing.

The proposed billl, states that a special Gambling Control Commission will regulate the operation of gambling in the territory.

The gambling Board

The Act states that the Commission shall be managed by a Board appointed by the Minister of Finance, and this board will consist of a chairman and eight other members. One of the members will be appointed on the recommendation of the BVI Chamber of Commerce & Hotel Association and the BVI Tourist Board.

“Members of the [Gambling Commission’s] Board shall be appointed on such terms and conditions as the minister shall determine. Persons shall be qualified to be members of the Board by reason of their work and experience in the gambling industry or fields relating to law, finance, information technology, economics, management, social work or law enforcement,” the Act states.

Notably, the Chairman, a Deputy Chairman and two other members, will be appointed for a four-year term, while other members will be appointed for two and three-year terms.

Commission issues gambling licenses

The Commission would also be tasked to provide information to other regulatory and government agencies including the Inland Revenue Department, the Financial Investigation Agency, the Commissioner of Customs, and the Commissioner of Police.

It will be able to grant gaming licenses without prejudice, impose conditions in the granting of licenses, engage in consultations in accordance with prescribed regulations, conduct studies, prepare reports, and generally make recommendations relating to the gambling industry in the British Virgin Islands, the Act stated.

In addition, the Commission is responsible to verify the background, character and reputation of a person applying for a gaming license and that person’s relative or associate as the Commission deems necessary. The Commission will also be able to perform regular reviews of a licensed gaming operation and collect fees and levies.

Gambling license categories

Under this Act, there are several categories of licences that one can obtain.

They include a Gaming Operators Licence, which shall permit the licensee to operate a gaming establishment for the purpose of conducting gaming; and a Gaming Owners Licence, which shall authorise the licensee to own a gaming establishment. However, the Act states Game Owners licensees cannot operate such as establishment without first having obtained a Gaming Operators Licence.

There is also a Bookmakers Licence, which shall permit the licensee to conduct betting activities other than pool betting; a Promoters Licence which shall permit a licensee to stage live racing and conduct pool betting (pari-mutuel) activities; among other licence types.

Powers to suspend and revoke license

In the meantime, the Commission also has the power to suspend or revoke a licence if, after review, a license holder is not conforming to the law. However, before doing so, the Commission must give notice in writing detailing the reasons for the suspension and the grounds that it intends to do so.

A response from the license holder challenging the Commission must be submitted within seven days of receiving the notice.

“Where a decision is taken to revoke the licence, notice of revocation shall be sent to the address of the licensee and published in the Gazette,” the Act said.

Copyright 2020 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

30 Comments

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  1. no don't tell me says:

    Is the VIP gambling away the BVI future ?????

    Like 12
    Dislike 14
    • Corruption says:

      Can’t wait to see the corruption within the Government with crap. Which Belonger is capable of counting to 20 without the use of hands and toes are going to run a gaming establishment. Better contact Sol Kirsner over at Atlantis in the Bahamas. Otherwise this will be a s**t show.

      Like 3
      Dislike 2
    • Clearly says:

      If gambling is allowed and casinos are opened it should be like the Bahamas where gambling is an activity to draw in tourism and tourist dollars. Under no circumstances should the local population be allowed to gamble. If allowed to do so it will ruin families, create crime and despair for the people. Gambling should be legalized to boost the economy by drawing in outside money and providing local jobs. Keep it legal. Keep the safe. Keep it out of the hands of the locals.

      Like 8
      Dislike 2
      • Jane says:

        I think gambling is insidious, I support its continued ban. Morally how is it acceptable to say non-residents can destroy their lives but we will only protect our people from destroying theirs. What is wrong is wrong.

  2. oh ho says:

    All gambling places will require arm guards

    Like 8
    Dislike 5
    • :) says:

      Don’t be so naive places are already doing various types of gambling including sports betting for years. None have any kind of security. One in the heart of town have been around for over 20 years, robberies have occurred but hey even churches and schools have been robbed so crime isn’t strictly limited to those kind of businesses.

      Like 12
  3. wow says:

    Crime will be on the rise…The BVI doom now…Thank you VIP

    Like 9
    Dislike 22
  4. First Reading says:

    The Bill has only been brought to the House for First reading, and has not yet been assented to by the Governor….

  5. Guest says:

    I wonder if any of the people from his other boards will be sitting on this board also collecting checks. And I do hope that they will not have a vested interest in the proposed businesses to come. If that ever happens in some countries that is called a conflict of interest or might I say corruption. This board will be a whose who of …..

    Like 13
    Dislike 1
  6. bvi says:

    THERE GOES OUR FUTURE AND NATURE’S LITTLE SECRETS

    Like 7
    Dislike 17
  7. LOL says:

    And the Chairman will be the Gas Man?

    Like 7
    Dislike 1
  8. Woww says:

    St Thomas and others already legalize gambling tortola we behind yess VIP thank You

    Like 14
    Dislike 7
  9. Leave Andrew alone says:

    Andrew is on a roll.He is building up the BVI. If we want to be competitive and not be left behind certain things have to be done.

    Like 22
    Dislike 6
  10. LOL says:

    Well done to the government, forward thinking and will bring revenue into the government funds. Now continue with this forward thinking and allow same sex marriage – we could be making a lot of money!

    Like 11
    Dislike 6
  11. Diaspora says:

    I’m not averse to legalizing gambling, for illegal gambling is already occurring, ie, racktrack betting, dice games, domino games, card games, cock fighting, dog fighting, USVI and PR lottery …….etc. Nonetheless, it must be acknowledged that gambling is a game of chance wherein the house always wins and people at the lower end of the economic ladder often times play the most and loses relatively the most trying to hit it big. What is next casinos, cruise liners being allowed to gamble within the territorial sea ( up to 12 nmi from shore), national lottery……etc

    Moreover, Gambling Commission members must undergo a strict and thorough criminal background check, and a thorough financial disclosure and interest check (all interest in assets must be disclosed) investigation. And Gambling Commission members must submit an annual financial disclosure statement to the Commission. The VI leak like a sieve in regards to protecting secret, sensitive and confidential information.

    Thus, personal financial information provided to the Commission must be protected and treated with the utmost care and only person(s) with a need to know should have access to the information. Commission members must see and don’t see and hear and do not hear. The information seen as a member(s) of the Commission should be treated with the utmost professionalism even after leaving the Commission ;unless requested by a court, it should not be revealed to anyone and taken to one’s grave. There must be severe penalties for leaking private, sensitive and confidential information.

    Like 12
    Dislike 2
    • Triple Edge Blade and Doulble Barrel Shot Gun. says:

      Triple Edge Blade and Doulble Barrel Shot Gun.

      Enforcement of a law is hopeful, averting and or controlling the stiffling organized and white collar crime is quite another unwinable and daunting task. Good luck there.

      On the other thought, the initiative can generate tremendous revenue and hopefully jobs for the territory, but the accompanying maladies and pathogens, if not carefully considered and averted may be counteproductive to the economic, social and cultural being of the territory.

      As such, this initiative, though potentially lucrative for the territory, must be thoroughly thought out to avoid the negative accompanying effects and consequences.

      Meanwhile, though is not and has created a single job, the religious entity of this nation will be its greatest opposer.

      Create a crime, corruption and embezzelmet free gambling scheme and it might work and produce. However, religion and human nature will be its greatest challenges.

    • Disinterested says:

      “The VI leak like a sieve in regards to protecting secret, sensitive and confidential information. Thus, personal financial information provided to the Commission must be protected and treated with the utmost care and only person(s) with a need to know should have access to the information.” Really! It is the BVI you talking about where bring cum carry, licking melee and gossiping is a favorite past time. It is a means of entertainment in an entertainment starved community. It can be a costly means of entertainment.

      If it were not so serious and harmful at times, it would be humorous. Nonetheless, we must protect the information. However, given the strict rules that you are advocating and if adopted, will it scare off many potential candidates for a seat on the Commission?

      Anyway, the commission must promote counseling for gamblers. Gambling can get addicting and has the potential to ruin individuals and families. A gambler is always of the mind set that all it takes is one last hand and the last hand turns into another last hand and another……. Gamblers borrow at exorbitant interest rate to play that last hand. The lenders(loan sharks) do well and gamblers endures much pain and grief; ie $50 for a $1000 is good return for a week or two weeks.

      In gambling there must be losers and winners just like the stock market. However, the losers are often more than the winners. If that were not true, how else could the house always win. The silver lining is that the house will win, government will collects some dearly needed revenue and a few players will win to keep players coming back. What does the clergy have to say on all this? Suspect they are livid about this particular sin.

      • Disinterested says:

        Correction:$50 for $1000 should have read $50 for $100. $*0 for $100 is good but $60 for $1000 would be awesome.

  12. 007 says:

    This is good. The businesses and people that were hiding and doing it will now be taxed and we will collect some revenue via trade licenses. Some people think legalizing gambling means big casinos opening all over the BVI but we don’t have a market for that here so I don’t expect that anytime soon. The cruise ships will also now be able to enter the port any anytime without fear of breaking our gambling laws.

    Like 5
    Dislike 1
  13. UM says:

    Desperate times call for desperate measures! However on what basis was this decided? Surely not revenue generation alone? what social impact assessment have been done?

    Like 2
    Dislike 3
  14. Dman says:

    Oh Boy!Another avenue for graft and corruption.

    Like 4
    Dislike 3
  15. Guest says:

    …and where does that leave the ‘lottery ladies’ ???

  16. EU citizen says:

    Gambling (casinos) is clearly the best source of revenue for the BVI. Look at Monaco, St Martin,…
    Much better than tax evaders and drug lords.
    Also, it’s fun to gamble!

    Like 2
    Dislike 2
  17. mafia says:

    All will fall under the umbrella of the Mafia with associated crime and corruption. ‘O CRY FOR ME BVI’

    Like 2
    Dislike 2
  18. Jah bless says:

    The Puerto rico lottery isn’t that gambling. The spanish lottery isn’t that gambling. Is there any tax collection from them I dont think so. So it’s time to upgrade the island with our own

  19. Chad says:

    I hope the Government considered the possibility money laundering risk associated with gambling.

  20. Outsider says:

    Gambling is a predicate to money laundering. I hope the Government took this into consideration when they decided to allow gambling in the BVI.

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