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November 25, 2013


Amy McKay Core

Aside from the moral issues on gambling to be considered, there is the question as to whether gambling should be expanded to become the economic basis of a country. Gambling brings crime and further impoverishes people. Jobs and productivity are needed for a firm economic foundation.


Personally, I have no moral objection to a 'stupid tax' which is what gambling is. If people want to piss away their money, how is it my responsibility to stop them? There are plenty of ways to do that already. However, I voted 'no' on the referendum for several reasons. The first was because our ballsless Prime Minister framed it as a glorified opinion poll - it was not binding and offered no specific legislation, unlike the FNM's referendum back in the early part of the century. And frankly, I voted no for spite. The PLP had no problem calling for a 'no' vote on issues they likely agreed on simply to inflict political harm on their opponents. As I have no interest in playing numbers (in fact, I didn't even know where the numbers houses were until somebody pointed them out to me), it was no skin off my back if it was voted down. And, like everybody know would be the case, voting 'no' didn't change anything - not a single house has been shut down despite the Bahamian people's clear desire that the law on this issue be enforced.
Trying to re-frame things as discrimination against Bahamians would be clever if it were not so nakedly obvious. I don't think too many people are going to fall for that, especially coming on the heels of the failed referendum. If the government felt strongly about legalizing gambling across the board, why not go for it all one time? The referendum was only about numbers houses, not going into casinos.
And I don't think most Bahamians want to sit at a blackjack table, anyway. I'll admit that I don't 'get' the whole numbers thing - if I want to play a game of chance, I want it to actually be a game. Picking random numbers - where's the fun in that? But that's how most Bahamians seem to want to gamble. To each his own; as I say, I don't care for gambling - I've not the nerves for it and I'd just rather spend my money on other things. But I don't really care if other people think that's fun - far be it for me to tell other people how they are going to entertain themselves. Yes, I can well imagine cases of fools blowing all of their weekly paycheck trying to hit big at the numbers houses and coming home to a neglected spouse and a pack of hungry children. But if they are that sort of person, they will always find a way to behave like that. No law is likely to stop them.
But I am unlikely to vote to change the law - I see no reason to reward the numbers bosses who made a political calculation to support a party I oppose in order to get the law changed in their favor. Guess what, suckers, you lost your bet. Better luck next time. Actually, no, lousy luck next time. I think your in a rotten business and deserve all the bad luck that comes your way.

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