The legislation, which is still being deliberated in the House of Assembly, would pave the way for legalized betting and gambling in the territory.
Addressing the House late Tuesday night, June 16, Penn said: “As I went through the legislation, it doesn’t just speak to casino gambling, it doesn’t just speak to para-mutuel betting, it runs the full gamut in terms of the type of gaming activity that we intend to have in this territory.”
Penn raised concerns that there has not been an economic impact assessment to see if a population of the BVI’s size can “sustain the casinos, the lottery system, and the potential revenues to be derived from implementing this system”.
“A decision of this magnitude requires the input and proper analysis, not just from us as legislators … I don’t know if the government side has had discussions, but I can speak for the Member for the Second [District]. We have not had any conversation with the experts surrounding this piece of legislation.”
The Opposition leader said one group of stakeholders that could provide financial expertise and input, as fas as discussions go, would be the local financial services sector.
He said the legislation has created a “serious cause for concern” for that sector, “as it relates to gambling and legitimizing gambling without the proper and well-structured framework to regulate, to manage, and to deal with the implications as it relates to money laundering and other issues that surround these types of issues”.
I have wondered at times what the Ten Commandments would have looked like if Moses had run them through the US Congress.