The government has released regulations (see Nassau Guardian 17th and 19th August) concerning web shops and I wish to share with you a few of them, along with some information I have researched in Abaco:
1. Distance between web shops from church, schools and residences to be within 100 feet. When I was younger I could have kicked a soccer ball almost that distance. Shame Mr. Minister. Come one Christian Council, what actions will you take?
2. I can take you to two web shops in Marsh Harbour within 100 feet of two churches.
3. The annual turnover in the web shops gaming section exceeds $700,000,000. This sum is equal to more 30 percent of the 2016/17 national budget. I find it difficult to accept the sum, as it calculates to $2,000 per head of population (350,000 from 2010 census). This must be incorrect? Certainly frightening.
4. There are 28 web shops in Abaco and growing. Too late for the moratorium Mr. Minister.
5. Where does this money come from? Who benefits from the majority of it? I have been informed that less than 10 percent goes to treasury.
6. There is no VAT on gaming but it applies to school supplies (very current).
Now to a few questions:
a. Who will oversee that the regulations are enforced: Number of web shops, licensing, opening times, underage etc?
b. Will local government have a say or will it be like at present, where licenses are approved in Nassau?
And so my fellow Bahamians, here is some information and questions for you to digest.
Will you read and to sleep or stand and demand changes to some of the regulations? The decision is yours.
For what it’s worth.
Patrick J. Bethel