After decades of pleadings for pari-mutuel betting at the Ellis Thomas Downs racetrack and the lifting of gambling laws to enable cruise ships to remain overnight, action is finally being taken.
This was made clear by an announcement on Thursday which stated that legislation to harmonize betting and gambling is in the pipeline.
The announcement was made by His Excellency Governor Augustus Jaspert in the Speech from the Throne that was delivered today, November 14 in the House of Assembly.
In the speech, the Governor explained that the legislation being considered will tie those two areas together.
“Our government would put forward legislation to introduce and regulate the gaming and betting industry to provide for the establishment of the gambling, gaming and betting control commission," the Governor stated.
According to the Governor, the Commission will examine the matters of betting and gambling to put together a more streamlined approach.
“The Commission will establish a licensing framework that would avert criminal or illegal activities. The gaming and betting industry will and among other areas cover sectors such horseracing and the cruise industry. These are areas that have not been structurally targeted to encourage revenue and employment,” the Governor said.
The Governor’s announcement brings welcomed news to many who have called into various radio programmes to urge government to consider allowing pari-mutuel betting and forms of gambling. The argument has always been that these areas can be beneficial to the Territory’s economy as revenue generators.
However, religious groups have fought for years against plans to introduce such activities. It remains to be seen if Church leaders this time will allow the Government for forge ahead with its plans.