Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Bahamas Lottery says: It's time to legalise lottery betting in The Bahamas

ONE would have to be a hermit in a cave not to be aware of the fact that wagering on the numbers is a national pastime. It's widely available throughout almost all parts of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas.

Tickets for the lotteries in the USA are also widely available. I understand that a wager on the numbers can be made online. Anyway I suspect that most of the readers of this column probably know more about the subject than I do.

The question that therefore arises is why have not these activities been legalized with the result that they would make a contribution to the revenue. There is no doubt that the revenue is needed. There is also no doubt that the majority of Bahamians find these activities acceptable. There should also be little doubt that the authorities tolerate these activities because they take place in the open and are not stopped. We should also remember that throughout history governments have failed whenever they have tried to legislate morality.

Conventional wisdom informs us that should any government move to legalize the numbers or lottery business there would be an outcry from most churches. Notwithstanding the fact that their members participate in these activities. The solution maybe to put the question to a referendum so as to avoid it being a political football. It is really a social issue. We should also remember that a law which is ignored by most citizens and which the authorities, over an extended period of time, have chosen to ignore as well, has no moral authority. Possibly it may not have any legal authority because I suspect it is illegal to only selectively enforce any law.

The time has come to legalize these activities. The people have spoken with their wagers. If that is not a case of the people putting their money where their mouth is, I don't know what is.

February 24, 2012