The much-anticipated referendum on gambling will be held on December 3, Prime Minister Perry Christie announced in the House of Assembly this morning.
The referendum will focus on the legalization of web shops. The question of establishing a national lottery has been abandoned due to concerns expressed by the consultants from the United Kingdom hired by the government, the prime minister said.
Voters will be asked to answer the questions: Do you support the legalization and regulation of webshops? The PM told MPs that license fees would be a minimum of $1 million, and that taxes collected from webshops would go toward funding the arts, health and education. Webshop owners will also be required to contribute to programs to help gambling addicts, the prime minister said.
He also said that not all webshops currently operating would be approved for licensing. However, if Bahamiains vote against legalizing webshops, Prime Minister Christie said that all gaming houses would be shut down. If successful, the Gaming Board would serve as the regulatory agency for legal webshops, he noted.
People who did not register to vote in the general election and are eligible to vote, have until 10 days ahead of December 3 to register. Those who registered for the May 2012 election are already eligible to vote in the upcoming referendum.