Referendum could result in national sports lottery
NG Columnist/Sales Executive
The Progressive Liberal Party government, according to one of the big political campaign promises, will bring to the Bahamian people a referendum on gambling in the immediate future.
Prime Minister Perry Christie is on record most recently saying "I will wish it to be so, before the end of the year" in reference to the referendum on gambling.
In the Bahamian sporting circles throughout the many inhabited islands there is optimism about another prospective source of revenue.
If the majority of Bahamians vote in favor of the government legalizing gambling, a national sports lottery should be one of the by-products.
Such a development would most likely be fully supported across the board.
Sebas Bastian who heads the "We Care Coalition" group that advocates the legalization of gambling said on Wednesday that a primary focus of those he is associated with is to assist in the general educational process.
"Certainly, we would not have a problem with a national sports lottery. Sports (programs) are a part of the educational system. We would want funds directed for sports and all other areas that enable the country to advance positively.
"We want to educate people about how to determine their destiny. We want the funds to be distributed equally so that people can be educated in all of the ways to cause this country to progress.
"I don't like the term 'gambling' because I think it puts a negative spin on what we do. I prefer cultural wagering," said Bastian.
He holds strongly to the view that the business is a part of the national culture and Bastian doesn't see it as an abuse of the personal funds of our people. He pointed out that by records of his company, in many instances, people wager very small amounts.
It is quite refreshing to see young, eloquent individuals like Bastian coming to the forefront of the issue. It certainly adds a new dimension to what has evolved into a huge 'numbers' industry.
With Bastian and colleagues of his ilk getting prominently into the conversation about legalizing gambling, a much nicer picture of the business is being painted. I believe that once the referendum process is completed, if the government is then charged to legalize gambling, a lot of "positives" will result.
One of them should definitely be a national sports lottery.
The legalizing of gambling would be a shot in the arm economically for this country. This seems the way to go.
The suggestion here is that the Christian gentlemen and ladies in our midst would have a much more balanced outlook if they weigh the good of legalized gambling against the bad.
Bastian hopes that in general the collective mindset of the Christian leaders would relate more to what society is today rather than yesteryear.
I support him in that the issue should be approached realistically. Legalizing gambling seems the best option for us as a nation.
* To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at firstname.lastname@example.org.
© 2012 The Freeport News