Report: Lotto a winner for government

Islands ‘highly familiar’ with gambling

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A consultant report on the
potential for lottery-based gambling in the Cayman Islands done earlier this
year found that residents would be very receptive to such gaming, largely
because similar types of betting already occur here and the population is
‘highly familiar’ with the games.

According to the study, conducted
by GTECH Corporation, electronic and instant ticket lotto games would generate
a combined US$9 million to $11 million in revenue, with some US$1.2 million to
$1.4 million of that going to government coffers.

GTECH officials believe that local
residents would have a “relatively high propensity to play a legalised lottery
because of several factors”, including Cayman’s wealth and a significant
presence of immigrant labourers from jurisdictions that already have national
lotteries.

Also, the GTECH evaluation reported
a “notable and prominent presence of unregulated lottery games in the Cayman Islands”.

In studying the Cayman Islands
market potential for various GTECH gaming products, it appeared that GTECH
Latin America was able to fairly easily infiltrate and determine what was
happening in Cayman’s ‘off the books’ gambling scene.

“Many things that happen openly
today in the Cayman Islands (club raffles and fundraisers) are actually illegal
under that existing statute, although there is no apparent enforcement effort
on the part of the authorities, nor any recognition of the illegality on the
part of the populace,” the GTECH Latin America report stated, noting that
Caymanians who buy Florida lotto tickets and bring them back to the country are
actually committing an offence under what the report called the outdated
Gambling Law (1996 Revision).

“The population is very familiar
with gaming, as there is a strong and visible presence of unregulated games on
the Islands,” the report noted. “Although such forms of gaming are unregulated,
this does not diminish or negate the fact that the populace is highly familiar
with and readily participates in lottery-type games.”

The GTECH consultants said they met
with a number of people who were both selling and wagering on unregulated
games.

“Those wagering on games typically
purchase their tickets from sellers they are familiar with and trust. The
sellers sell the tickets either via telephone or at their house/store/bar,
etc.”

The 1 of 36 game

This type of numbers game is played
in Jamaica, and is quite popular with the estimated 8,000 to 10,000 Jamaican
nationals who reside in Cayman, consultants found.

The game offers draws three times
per day and operates six days per week here. It is actually based on the GTECH
game that operates in Jamaica.

“We could not get an exact prize
payout for the game, but it seems to have the same payout as the regulated game
in Jamaica – 26 times the wager,” the consultant report stated.

The GTECH report notes sales trends
for this type of game have become more popular over the past five years in both
Jamaica and Trinidad.

A similar numbers game, called the
‘1 of 100 game’ is typically played by Central Americans here and the game is
operated legally in Honduras and Belize.

Players here are able to buy three
pieces of the game for $1, 16 pieces for $5, 50 pieces for $15 and so on. They
payout for the game is around 66 per cent.

The consultant’s report described
how it works: “Players wagers/numbers are written on a receipt by the seller.
The seller will keep the original receipt and a copy will be given to the
player. If a player wins, he/she will claim his prize from the seller.”

The GTECH Latin America report also
stated that Florida Power Ball lotto games are informally or “illegally” sold
in the Cayman Islands.

Gaming potential

Since the economy and buying power
of Cayman is much greater than other Caribbean jurisdictions, GTECH consultants
believe that the potential to implement online lottery gaming here is high.

“We believe that the Cayman Islands
could support between 50 and 60 (gaming) terminals, with one terminal in each
of the smaller islands and the rest in Grand Cayman,” the report opined.

Gaming terminals could be provided
both in local convenience stores and gas stations, as well as in some casual
restaurants, GTECH officials said.

“Lotteries are generally viewed
favourably and considered to be a softer form of gaming, availed of by a wide
section of the population and much less subject to issues of compulsive
gambling or addiction,” the report stated.

The GTECH report advised the
government to hold separate public referendums (votes) on lottery gaming and
casino gambling, since the public perception of casino gambling was decidedly
more negative.

“Separate referendums would be
advised so as not to confuse the issue in the minds of voters and not to
unintentionally misread or influence the public’s opinion of one form of gaming
via the perception of the other.”

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A receipt from a local numbers gambling game obtained by GTECH consultants.
Photo: Brent Fuller
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4 COMMENTS

  1. Legal lotteries here in the US have not deterred the illegal ones, they only entice people who do not trust the illegal ones to feel safe in playing the state run lottories. All studies show that over 80% of those who play these games canot afford the losses. People of means do not play as they know that most of the time you lose.

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  2. Gambling is a business for mugs who can’t see they will never win over the long term. And it is disgraceful for any Government to ‘legalise’ it for the sake of revenue. Forget the ‘morality’ or ‘religious’ arguments: it is a mugs’ game for mugs, and the only winners are the sharks who provide the venues (whether casinos, authorised Government gambling, or plain criminal opportunities).
    Note: I hold no religious brief in this matter. I only look at the stupidity, criminality and all that goes with it, all over the world. Just consider the cost to us ordinary citizens of policing what goes with it – Las Vegas, Macau, just LOOK. To say nothing of the spin-offs of Hollywood films which glamorize it, and of the celebrity culture which also glamorizes it.
    Why cannot ordinary people just LOOK and THINK?

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  3. Gambling is simply making a bet on an event with an uncertain outcome in order to win something or additional monies.

    I believe that MAKING BETS or gambling is a personal decision that harms no one.

    People may become addicted to gambling; however, that is their choice to become addicted to it. The choice usually stems from ignorance where the gambler believes that without making a bet he/she is losing the opportunity of winning and bettering his/her life. There is an attachment, a fear of losing and an increase hunger for monies in order to bet more. I admit, the psychological factors are there. But like with alcohal or cigarettes, education is the key to a stable society. We can’t blame gambling for people’s addiction. Rather, we should blame ignorance and making the wrong choices.

    Hence, because gambling is a personal thing, I believe the state or government should in no way interfere. When controlled and for fun, gambling can be a blessing to those who win. Also, the proceeds of gambling can be put for good causes like help fund social services and other welfare endeavors.

    So… my view is, if the people want it, allow them to have it! That is why we are having a referendum, because it is a democratic process.

    Any person or group of people who is against democracy in any shape or form, care not for their own people – no matter how MORAL their arguments are! If they really want to help people, they will help with educating them instead of putting barriers and restrictions around them.

    Peace

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  4. The Cayman government might benefit greatly if it was to expand its horizons, legally establish and operate a WORLDWIDELOTTERY based in Grand Cayman.

    If necessary, the Cayman government could restrict its own residents from playing, yet achieve significant financial rewards for the Cayman Islands and beyond. Thinking globally while betting for a better world.

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