by Larry Smith
There are two zones to this strange world - one in which three or four hotel casinos operate legally as tourist amenities, and another populated by hundreds of illegal Numbers sellers catering to tens of thousands of Bahamian gamblers.
The casino zone originated in 1920, when the Bahamian Club began operating seasonally on New Providence, catering to a very restricted upper class clientele.
The Numbers zone has been thriving here since at least the 1800s. It is associated with poor communities worldwide, because punters can bet small sums of money and get credit from their bookies.
Our first anti-gambling law was passed in 1901, and was gradually strengthened to create an absolute ban on the operation of lotteries and gaming houses for profit. But in 1939 the law was amended to allow exceptions to this rule.