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Gambling in Guyana Is a Benefit to the Society

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    I support the argument that gambling in Guyana is a benefit to the society. When I say gambling, I refer to legal gambling. I acknowledge that gambling can become an addictive activity on a personal basis and can lead one to bankruptcy. At the same time I believe that Guyanese should be given the freedom of choice to determine how they spend their money and what decisions are best for them. Some argue that gambling is bad for our society since it makes one addicted to it as with drugs. I totally disagree since unlike drugs, gambling is not physically but is physiologically addictive.

    The Guyana lottery, established in 1997, is deemed a legal form of gambling by the laws of Guyana. The lottery involves playing various games of chance with the hope of earning fast tax free cash. In an interview with Tracey Lewis, the lottery company’s general manager, she stated that the company provides direct employment for 34 persons and business opportunities for approximately 80 retail agents. She also stated that the company has earned over $4. 5 billion in revenue for our country to date. From the facts given, can one really argue that a company that has done so much and is continuing to do much more is not beneficial for Guyana?

    I highly doubt that since this company has made it possible for many Guyanese to be employed and also has donated significantly to our already struggling economy. The Gambling Prevention Law which was amended in 2007 legalized the establishment of casinos locally. The Casino provides a means of employment to many Guyanese and also is a source of revenue since the Casino owners are compelled to pay tax. The Casino Act states that the only people who can gamble at the casino are international tourists and locals who are guests at the hotel. One may argue that gambling in casinos will make more Guyanese bankrupt.

    This can easily be refuted since the legislation only permit locals staying at the hotels to access the facility. In an interview with a receptionist at the Princess Hotel in Guyana, she claimed that about 99% of the guests at the hotel were foreigners. This clearly shows that it is highly unlikely that locals will become bankrupt from gambling at the casino since they are not usually guests there. The legislation permits only gambling in newly built hotels with a minimum of 250 rooms. Thus, this opened the doors for foreign investors to invest in new hotels here which will in turn create employment opportunities.

    How can providing employment, tourism and revenue via a legal means be considered harmful to Guyana? In conclusion, legal gambling is greatly needed in a country like Guyana which is considered a third world country. According to www. cia. gov, Guyana has a debt of USD$1. 234 billion. Thus, legal gambling is a source of earning foreign currency which in turn can assist in settling our debts and developing our country. These are a few reasons why I support the argument that gambling in Guyana is a benefit to our society.

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