The Bahamas is a rather small archipelagic state located between the coast of Cuba, Hispaniola, and Florida. It used to be a British colony until 1973. Nowadays it is an independent country as a member of the British Commonwealth. The Bahamas is a very popular place among foreign visitors: its economy mostly relies on tourism and finance and is considered as one of the richest in the Americas.
This country is also known for gambling. Since 1969, gambling establishments are legal in the Bahamas. In addition to amazing weather and many beaches, this is one of the main reasons why it turned into such a popular tourist destination. However, as in some of the other jurisdictions around the world, residents of the country cannot visit them — they are opened only for foreigners.
Do you want to learn more about gambling in this country? Check out this article — we are going to talk about the casino industry of the Bahamas in more details.
Casinos have been officially allowed in the hotels of the Bahamas since the 1920s. However, there always was a general restriction on gambling, so most of these venues stayed open only seasonally. However, with time the laws became even stricter.
In 1939, the government banned most of the gambling establishments. Despite that, some of the small casinos could work under the silent approval of the local authorities. It was clear that either the laws had to change, or the government would have to shut them down. Officials decided to create a licensing program. Many trustworthy owners received it and their casinos became absolutely legal.
Nevertheless, residents of the Bahamas were banned from gambling. Casinos were only opened for foreign visitors. Tourists could play for real money in some hotels of the country. Moreover, since the government did not want to enhance the betting industry, it refused to issue more licenses after the first round of exemptions. Therefore, there were a very limited number of legalized gambling establishments.
Fortunately, laws have changed in the 1960s. A lot of businessmen wanted to invest in building on Grand Bahama and Paradise Island. Finally, in 1969 lawmakers were able to pass laws over the strong religious opposition, allowing for the legalization and taxation of casinos.
Nowadays, foreign gamblers have many ways to gamble with their hard-earned money. Atlantis Resort, Baha Mar, Paradise Island, and many more resorts are opened to every visitor. At the same time, the old rules are still applied to residents of the Bahamas: such people cannot legally play in casinos.
However, some Bahamans are gamble anyway. The country has lots of underground casinos known as “web shops” where people can place bets on sports and lotteries. It is illegal, but it seems that the government does not care about such establishments.
The country held a referendum at the beginning of 2013 asking residents about two proposals in order to fix this situation. The first question was whether they would support the regulation and taxation of the web shops, making them legal and bringing under the supervision of the Bahamian government. A second question asked what whether they would support the establishment of a National Lottery in the Bahamas, either in conjunction with or as an alternative to the web shops.
Many people opposed the legalization of these forms of gambling. Over 80 thousands of voters were cast on both questions. In both cases, nearly 60% of Bahamans came down against the proposals. As a result, hundreds of gamblers are still visiting web shops, but nobody was arrested or fined so far.
Considering the fact that Bahamian government holds a rather strict opinion on gambling, no wonder why online casinos are not officially regulated. While lots of other Caribbean countries have official gambling authorities, the Bahamas is not among them. Therefore, online gambling websites are not permitted to operate on the archipelago.
Despite the above-said, many citizens of the Bahamas regularly bet on sports online and play at casino websites without facing any consequences. Just as in the case of web shops, there is no real threat to online casinos. Hundreds of online gambling providers from all over the world offer their services to both tourists and residents of the country.
The government does not regulate virtual casinos, so you can enjoy games from most of the popular software developers in the Bahamas. Simply open a web-browser and visit any gambling website you want. Most likely, it will be available without any restriction. You will be able to enjoy games from such providers as:
There are many more software companies available in this country, so you will have more than enough gaming options to choose from.
We do not have much to say about the future of gambling on the territory of the country. Over the last decades, there were close to zero changes. Considering the recent referendums showing very strong opposition to the idea of gambling regulating, it looks like there will not be major changes in the near future.
The Bahamas is a very popular country among tourists from all over the world, so the licensed casinos will not stop bringing significant profits both to the owners and government. However, it does not seem that any further expansion will take place: many residents of the Bahamas hate the idea of expanding the gambling industry, which means that underground facilities will remain the only option for locals.
As to the online casinos, it is very unlikely that authorities of the country will start to regulate them. There is a chance that this situation will change one day, but it is definitely not happening in the near future. Therefore, both tourists and residents of the Bahamas can continue to gamble online without any problems.