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The Bahamas: Against a National Lottery

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    The Islands of the Bahamas, located just southeast of Florida is a chain of islands that make up a tiny yet proud country in the Caribbean. Currently the government of the Bahamas, based on the British parliamentary system, is debating on the legalization of a national lottery for the country. Since the Bahamas is a predominantly Christian country, gambling is illegal for local citizens since it is considered a sin in The Bible. The questions of a national lottery and/or the legalizations of the numbers business are major issues of social ethics and public policy.

    For as long as the Bahamas has been around, the act of gambling for locals has been illegal and the Bahamas has been doing fine, so why change this. Legalizing a national lottery would only cause harm and disruption to the simple Bahamian lifestyle. Some may say that the legalization of a lottery can be very beneficial, yet the over look the cons that come along with it, such as gambling addiction and its negative impact it will have on tourism. For me, gambling is like this; it can be an enjoyable activity for many that can quickly become a major problem if abused.

    Legalizing a national lottery is just an unnecessary headache for the Bahamian Government and its citizens. New Providence is currently the capital of the Islands of the Bahamas with the largest population and being the main tourist hub, commonly referred to as Nassau. Currently, there are two large casinos on the island, one at the Atlantis Hotel and Resort and one at the Baha Mar resort at cable beach. Millions of tourists come in and out of the Bahamas yearly on vacation looking to gamble enjoy both of these casinos as they are packed year round.

    If the current Prime Minister Perry Christie were to legalize a national lottery, this means he would be legalizing the act of gambling for local citizens, thus allowing them to gamble along side with the tourists. This would cause chaos in the casinos and locals would flood in. Under the circumstances that the legalization did pass, Vice President of external and governmental affairs at Baha Mar and manager of the resort Robert ‘Sandy’ Sands stated, “I do not support opening the floodgates…We are not a disciplined enough community.

    I understand rights, but there are some rights we have to take away from individuals for their own benefit. ” (Brown) Mr. Sands is a well-respected man in the Bahamian tourist industry since he manages one of the largest resort strips in Nassau. He believes that the Bahamian citizens as a whole are truly not mature enough considering them not being used to gambling etiquette. Also, since the Bahamian economy is predominantly based on tourism, the Bahamian people are use to serving and selling to the visitor as opposed to sitting down, conversing and betting money with the visitor.

    Mr. Sands also states near the end of the article flat out and blunt, “…I do not support Bahamians gambling in the casino. ” (Brown) Being born and raised the Bahamas, Mr. Sands truly understands his fellow citizens as well as truly understand the tourist since he has been in the industry for quite a while. Mr. Sands understands how important tourism is too the Bahamian economy and does not want to risk the negative impact that might occur on tourism due to the legalization the national lottery and gambling. Brown) The Bahamas is a very prosperous Caribbean country, over 60% of the Bahamian GDP is accounted for due to tourism and over half of the population is employed due to tourism, (Nations Encyclopedia) so it would not be an intelligent move to risk these figures. Gambling would not only be harmful for the tourist and the economy of the Bahamas, but directly harmful to the individual who takes part in it, in this case, the Bahamian citizen. You see not all people who oppose gambling and lotteries base it on moral ethics and religious beliefs, there is worry for the poor people and the addicted.

    There are concerns that legalizing a national lottery can have very negative and devastating affects on the poor, the people who live in the shanti-huts and reside on the inner island. In an unbiased article from the local guardian, the author states, “For a person mired in poverty, the lottery could epitomize one of the only vehicles of quick elevation out of their economic state. ” (The Nassau Guardian) The people who live in this state will most likely gamble and risk more than they should. This gambling can result with unpaid bills, less food and a spiral into a financial crisis that the individual might have no more control over.

    This can take away from family the family values too. An individual can keep trying to win and spend unnecessary amounts of money on the lottery, when that money could have been put to good use such as new shoes for their kids or maybe a nicer meal at the dinner table. Another argument against legalization is that a national lottery demoralizes the value and ideals of hard work and savings, by instead replacing these values with a ‘get rich quick’ scheme that only few lottery players ever truly enjoy. The Nassau Guardian) The citizens of the Bahamas as a whole are not particular well educated and throwing something as enticing as a national lottery in the mix can do some damage. Instead of giving the Bahamians a lottery to play, “Bahamians should be taught that one extracts in direct proportion to what one invests, and the lottery directly attacks this. ” (The Nassau Guardian) They should not be taught of given any idea that winning the lottery can solve all their problems, because this is a very unrealistic way of living life.

    Also, its said that even in a small country such as the Bahamas, the chances of actually winning the lottery and that big jackpot are so slim, that you have more likely of a chance of being hit by lightning twice. Creating and legalizing a national lottery can be very harmful for the individual Bahamian citizen. Having the poor spend their last penny, or the middle class spending unnecessary money is not good for the moral of the Bahamian people. National lottery will only provide bad values and false hope.

    National lotteries lead to more money flow and big money winnings, which in turn equals corruption and crime. The Bahamas like most other countries in the world has its share of crooked businessmen, policeman and of course politicians. Since it is not exactly the wealthiest country nor the most enforced, slip some money under the table and no matter who it be they will usually look the other way or provide you with a special service. This corruption and crookedness also leads to high crime rates and legalizing a national lottery only encourages this negative behavior even more.

    In an article in a Bahamian journal the author states, “An out-dated, constipated, corrupt judicial system that would find ways and means to allow influential persons to get away with wrong doings. ” (The Bahamas Weekly) The sad reality of it is, the people higher up, such as judges and politicians who would be ‘pumping the winnings into the economy’ will most likely be pocketing this extra cash. The journal also stated, “The amount of money to be won each week could further endanger the lives of those who may win; by the on looking criminal mind-set. (The Bahamas Weekly) The sad reality of it all is, when you live on an island, it would be pretty easy to find out or figure out who won the big jackpot and where they live. The desperate criminals would definitely make the winners of the jackpot their next victim, which could spike the crime rate on such a tiny island. Legalization of the national lottery along with corruption and crime is bad mixture for such a small island. The islands of the Bahamas are a small, serine and beautiful chain of islands; fight the battle of the legalization of the national lottery.

    The Bahamian citizens live a simple lifestyle but are still burdened with existing problems and definitely don’t need another thing to cause more trouble. Legalizing a national lottery and gambling would be harmful for the Bahamian tourism industry, which pretty much supports the Bahamas, as well as leading to more poverty, corruption and crime. Currently the Bahamas is happy, thriving country and the last thing it needs is a national lottery to muddle things up. Let it be.

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