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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