Pari-mutuel betting will finally be legal in the Territory now that both the Governor His Excellency Governor Augustus Jaspert, and Premier and Minister for Finance Hon. Andrew Fahie have announced plans to introduce legislation that will enable this long debated activity.
In his budget presentation on 19 November the Premier clarified that such betting will be confined to specific locations within the Territory. He said : “Your Government intends to introduce legislation to establish a Horseracing Commission to regulate the sport and make it more profitable. A Gaming Commission will also be established to regulate betting on horse racing and other forms of gambling, but only in designated areas.”
This mention by the Premier came days after His Excellency Governor Augustus Jaspert made mention of the said commission and legislation in the Speech from the Throne he delivered on 14 November in the House of Assembly.
In his speech the Governor explained that the legislation being considered will tie those two areas together: “Our government would put forward legislation to introduce and regulate the gaming and betting industry to provide for the establishment of the gambling, gaming and betting control commission.”
According to the Queen’s Representative the Commission will examine the matters of betting and gambling to put together a more streamlined approach: “The Commission will establish a licensing framework that would avert criminal or illegal activities. The gaming and betting industry will and among other areas cover sectors such horseracing and the cruise industry,” the Governor said.
The Governor’s announcement brings welcomed news to many who have called into various radio programmes to urge government to consider allowing pari-mutuel betting and forms of gambling. The argument has always been that these areas can be beneficial to the Territory’s economy as revenue generators.
In fact, in 2017 the call for such activity was so great that then Minister for Culture Myron Walwyn suggested that a referendum be done on the matter.