Atlantis Says Locals Welcome In Casino But It’s Not An Option

Tuesday 17th, July 2012 / 09:09 Published by

Casino at Atlantis

While the government is not currently considering whether to change the law that prohibits Bahamians from gambling in local casinos, a senior official at Atlantis Resort said the property would welcome the move if it ever happened.

“Obviously, we will conduct our operations according to the laws of the country that we’re in,” said George Markantonis, president and managing director of Kerzner International Bahamas.

“We’d be delighted if there was a method to allow locals to participate in games of chance in the casinos, but realize that there are reasons why the rules are in place today.

Public debate on gambling heightened in recent weeks after Prime Minister Perry Christie said he intends to call the referendum before the end of the year.

But Christie reiterated last week that casino gambling for Bahamians in The Bahamas is not up for discussion.

“The referendum is about whether or not we have a national lottery, whether or not we legalize the web shop gambling, full stop. It’s not about whether Bahamians gamble in casinos,” Christie said.

Robert Sands, senior vice president of administration and external affairs at Baha Mar, told The Nassau Guardian he is an advocate of “limited and not complete relaxation” of regulations prohibiting locals from gambling in casinos.

In 2009, the Bahamas Hotel Association (BHA) presented a list of recommendations to the government to ease stringent requirements on gaming.

The proposal, however, did not call for the government to make it legal for Bahamians to gamble in local casinos.

The association asked the government to widen the net of people who can gamble legally, including permanent residents and people on short-term work permits.

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