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Perry Christie: Bahamas Will Hold Referendum on National Lottery

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - August 16, 2012

Above: Bahamian Prime Minister Perry Christie (BIS Photo)

By the Caribbean Journal staff

The Bahamian government will soon be calling a referendum on the issue of a national lottery in the country, according to Prime Minister Perry Christie.

The referendum will cover a national lottery and/or web cafes, but not casinos.

“It is my government’s intention to proceed with a referendum on the issue of a national lottery and/or web cafes as soon as practicable following the anticipated by-election in North Abaco later this year,” Christie said this week.

That race will decide the holder of a seat vacated by former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham, who retired from politics after his Free National Movement was unseated by Christie’s Progressive Liberal Party in the country’s May 7 vote.

The referendum will examine whether a lottery should be instituted in the Bahamas, and whether web cafes or web shops should be legalized, regulated, licensed and taxed, according to the government.

Christie emphasized that the plebiscite would not extend to other forms of gambling.

“It will not extend to any question as to whether Bahamians should be permitted to engage in casino gaming,” he said. “This will not be an issue in the forthcoming referendum nor, incidentally, was it ever promised that it would be.”

He said his government would not be holding a position on the issue.

“We will not campaign for, nor will we encourage the adoption of, either a yes or no position on any of the referendum issues,” he said.

Once the referendum is called, there will be a 30-day period for public discussion. It will be held in a manner similar to a general election, Christie said.

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