Editorial for 30 January: Gamble on referendum

The Caymanian Compass absolutely concurs with Messrs.
Rolston Anglin and Alden McLaughlin: There should be a referendum on the issue
of gambling in the Cayman Islands.

No matter which side of the fence you find yourself on –
even if you’re straddling it – when it comes to the matter of gambling, the
people of the country should make the decision on whether casinos or lotteries
are legal here.

It’s sure to be an issue with those campaigning for the vote
in the upcoming May General Election.

There’s even been a petition supporting gambling that was
signed by several hundred people, but nothing more ever came of it.

Those who shout from the rooftops that gambling isn’t part of
the societal fabric of the Cayman Islands and never will be, obviously have
their heads in the sands of Seven Mile Beach. Numbers are run daily – and
illegally – in the Cayman Islands. Everybody and his brother knows about it,
including members of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service and the judiciary,
which from time to time has to deal with numbers cases in court.

Usually those found guilty of breaking the Cayman Islands
Gambling Law get a slap on the wrist, as the law itself treats gambling as a frivolity
without meaningful penalties. Too, gambling of other sorts goes on constantly
in these Islands and was ramped up recently during the holiday season in
relation to charity fundraising and private sector marketing promotion. Raffles
for cars, boats and money, casino nights, trivia contests, sporting events with
cash prizes and scratch-off prize cards are all part of everyday life in
Cayman, yet they remain illegal and ignored by police. The Caymanian Compass
isn’t calling on the legalisation of gambling. But we do believe that the
people should be able to voice their opinion, through a legal referendum, on
the subject once and for all.

If the answer is a resounding ‘no’, then the Gambling Law
needs to be rewritten to give it some teeth and stiffer penalties, outlining
once and for all what is and isn’t gambling. If the answer is a resounding
‘yes’, then the Cayman Islands needs to figure out what would work best for our
country.

 

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