BVI News

Underground gambling booming: PVIM proposes gaming zone to boost visitor nightlife

PVIM candidates Ronnie Skelton (left) and Lesmore Smith

Following up on a recent proposal to have cruise ships dock overnight in the British Virgin Islands, Chairman of the Progressive Virgin Islands Movement (PVIM) Ronnie Skelton is now proposing to employ ‘gaming’ as a means of improving the nightlife in the territory.

Addressing a gathering at a PVIM rally on Saturday, Skelton said: “We want to make not the Cruise Pier Park – just the pier – a gaming zone so that we can attract ships to stay here overnight.”

He said, in so doing, local restaurants, taxi operators, and the various communities can benefit and “tourists can go to these places and enjoy our nightlife”.

Having a gaming zone would however require the BVI to relax its gambling laws; something a PVIM government would be willing to facilitate.

Illegal gaming already a booming underground sector in BVI

Territorial At-Large candidate for the PVIM, Lesmore Smith — a long-time advocate for the legalization of gaming — said the time was ripe to start harvesting the proceeds of the current illegal yet booming gaming industry.

He said there are a vast number of underground betting and gaming establishments throughout the BVI.

“Right now you have about 200 areas in the BVI where you can go and buy numbers games – every bar in the BVI sells games. They are so sophisticated now that they are walking around with the wireless electronic machines so you could buy the numbers anywhere, any place and at any time,” Smith told BVI News.

“If you put the gaming law in place it would regulate all of these people so the government could get two percent out of every dollar,” Smith reasoned. “When elected, I would really want to look at the arena and help to have gaming a reality because it would really help to streamline revenue into the system. A system where the government can benefit more from the revenues that could be derived from the gaming facilities including all of those lottery tickets [and] all of those number playing tickets.”

Gaming could assist in social development

Smith said funds generated from legal gaming could then be channelled into various sectors and social development programmes such as assisting the single parent families, the elderly, and schools.

“At the end of the day who are the beneficiaries? The people. Those are things that I think are important to all of us and we need to look at.”

He also said pari-mutuel betting is the only way to assist and develop horseracing in the territory. He said the sport would become a lucrative business is the requisite gaming laws are passed.

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  1. Gambling a Sin says:

    I cannot believe Ronnie Skelton would go against our God of Gods. Jesus Christ our Saviour has forbidden us to gamble our lives away as it is a SIN! Gambling is the seeding ground of the Devil’s soul.

    Like 20
    Dislike 49
    • Pastor Speak Now says:

      Pastor Fahie, what you have to say about gambling. You expressed your feelings on gay marriage. Please provide Biblical perspective on gambling. Isn’t it wrong as well?

    • hmm says:

      Lord have mercy for they do not know what they are doing. Bring back the old Ronnie who did a great job as Finance Minister

      Like 2
      Dislike 1
    • Anonymous says:

      The Financial Sector is disappearing. New avenues need to open to provide funds to run the Territory. Gambling and night tourism will help tremendously. If the Jesus freaks of the island don’t like gambling don’t go. Do it like the Bahamas. Locals can’t gamble. It’s only for the heathen white tourists.

      Like 1
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  2. Interesting says:

    Seems to me like at this point. They will sell anything to get elected. Next four years they will be singing the same songs because they got nothing done. Let us not be deceived by these people. I heard a song they released talking about the missing 7.2 million and the wall. But as brother Picko Moff would say, “Ronnie was there!” and so was Mitch. We will not reward NDP 1 or 2 for draining our country’s treasury. Drain the Swamp

    Like 31
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    • Hmmm says:

      You only Half right, Mitch was there, stood up for what he believed and left the NDP, If you people would open your eyes and look at the individuals instead of this party minded nonsense, you could make informed decisions based on the character of individuals…not a soul could pin an NDP label on Mitch. First man i see stand up to his own majority government!

      Like 12
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      • @Hmmm says:

        You mean Mitch the R.t? He stood up but he was still part of the wrong doing.

        Like 18
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      • @Hmmm says:

        Stood up then still contested the leadership seat to be the head of the same crooked party? Does that make sense to you? If he was principled person he would have left after he realized the things that he no longer shared the same vision as them. Not vie for the leadership, lose, then leave to form another party.

        Like 24
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      • February 25th says:

        100% agreed with Hmmmmmm.

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  3. the 4 horsemen says:


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  4. Ls says:

    Your reasoning is politically correct but socially ill. Our young people already don’t like to work but loves fast money. By legalizing gambling you give the drug men a perfect opportunity to launder money. Crimes like robbery, burglary and even murders will increase. Ls remember a piece of legislation has various aspects. If I may cite a couple : social , economic, cultural, psychological,legitimate, and legal. So before you do that think about to staffing the RVIPF.

    Like 26
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    • VI gyal says:

      more work for Top priority

    • CW says:

      You know that statistics from around the world prove that if you regulate it, crime decreases by removing proceeds from the criminal element. This has been proven time and time again. SMH BVI you need to educate people or you will keep having silly discussions like this one that lead to had policy.

      Like 2
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  5. Anonymous says:

    The money from this industry is huge. It is large and flows like the Nile river, that also brings much sediment with it.

    We must, therefore, prepare our country to handle both if implemented.

    Like 23
    • Al Capone says:

      Gambling is usually associated with large offshore companies and has close ties to prostitution and organized crime. That’s not what we want for our future.

      Just say no!

      Like 2
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      • CW says:

        Proven wrong a thousand times. When you DON’T regulate, crime takes over, as it already has in BVI. Open your eyes and do a little bit of research before just spouting nonsense that can easily be proved wrong with a simple Google search.

  6. Anonymous says:

    The Honorable Noel Lloyd had some very interesting, workable and reachable ideas for Anegada and the development and growth of the territory.

    It is believed, therefore, that the new parties should revisit his entire manifesto of ideas and ascertain which of them might be feasible today, and perhaps even enact or at least bring them forward for consideration in today’s political development arena.

    • SMH says:

      Strongly Agree! Mr. Lloyd did produce ideas that would have aid in the preservation of Anegada while developing on culture. They blocked him out, but I pray this new generation of politicians would incorporate Mt. Lloyds views into their manefestos.

  7. lol says:

    them say them goin legalize weed from last election…after NDP say them going push for da…. meen see a push yet…. same thing for this gambling scheme…. only breeze passin through them man mouth

    Like 11
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  8. Lily Ann says:

    Yuh was in there, yuh aint do it … SCATTA yoself !!!

    Like 10
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  9. Crazy Loon says:

    You talk of regulating but have now idea how you would enforce it! You can’t regulate or enforce anything here as its stands. You think you’ll be able to enforce and regulate the gaming industry? Furthermore, I am sitting here thinking who the lucky folk will be that get the gambling licenses. That’ll be an interesting point of contention.

    Like 11
    • Anonymous says:

      I’m thinking the investment club will get the licenses. Guess who makes up the investment club. All the d**n politicians that are looking to control the Territory. You people are so stupid

  10. Gone says:

    We should revise the law to allow the cruise ships to open their casinos in port, that’s it. I am not for wholesale legalization of gambling at this point.

    Like 10
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  11. How? says:

    Is this Pillar of the Community aware of the rampant illegal activities and has done nothing?

    Like 10
  12. No vision says:

    I went on a cruise a few years ago, and the ship had all the amenities that Skelton is speaking of.
    Casino at sea
    The best food
    Not sure if your idea is lucrative or making sense.

    Like 7
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    • @ No Vision says:

      There’s a reason people come off the ship. As good as the food is on board, there’s nothing quite like experiencing a whole new culture in the sense of dining, nightlife etc. The nightlife on a cruise is not all that either.

      • Hmhmhm says:

        But you forget the excitement the tourist can have staying over night on Tortola dodging and avoiding being shot . Best let then stay safe during the night hours rather than risk total industry failure

        Like 1
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  13. Longshanks says:

    If you do this, 2% is WAY too low to tax. Think 30-40% and spend it wisely.

  14. Jack Nicklaus says:

    Build a golf course

    Like 2
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  15. USA says:

    Are you really serious? Unless you have some real professional armed security to protect the Tourist at night. People will be getting rob left and right when they leave the casino with their winnings.

    Like 10
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  16. Oh i see says:

    He want Casino in Tortola. The crime rate will soar. The gangsters from ST.Thomas and ST.Croix will have a field day in that Casino.Ronnie,leave that alone. Tortola is not equipt to handle a Casino and I donot see it happening.

    Like 12
  17. Ally salt fish says:

    All I want them to do is build back the hen house rooster cold…lol

  18. Cock Fight says:

    Isn’t this the same man who has the i——l and in—— c—————-? Please keep this man away.

  19. Gordaguy2 says:

    Don’t permit gambling – every jurisdiction that does ends up with more crime, drugs and money laundering.

  20. Concerned says:

    It is nice to generate revenue but has to be from a right source.
    I am not surprised,this is a gambling party that migrated from the ruling party.
    Gog will help the country to select the right party.

  21. Empathy says:

    What happened at the Bank? What happened to the illegal controlled substance? When Mr. C can discuss those issues as a man then he can seek a reputable position, and even after that he does not have the ability to represent a district. For every three words that come out of his mouth, two are expletives. As for now, he should sit down and tried to redeem himself.

  22. Listen! says:

    Step the nonsensical plans.

    its already hard in the economy. People already loosing some of their money with the illegal gambling

    you will legalize it so that they can legally loose all of the money and be unable to pay their bills and take care of themselves and their families?

    do you think gambling addiction is a myth?
    are you going to bring in the experts to deal with that problem?
    will the government create the budget to educate people about the horrors of gambling addiction?
    to include theft and other crimes so they can support the habit?
    what studies have you done to support that this would be a good idea for a small and currently struggling economy such as ours?

    It is not sustainable!!!!

    Come up with a realistic contribution to the rebuilding of our economy please.

    we already have a section of the population suffering from other types of addictions, you will add the temptation of this one?

    come on!!!

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