30 October 2008

Gambling v2

I am not that shocked to hear that Gov't is now mooting allowing offshore on-line gambling to occur in Bermuda. Despite my previous post on gambling, I am not as clearly opposed to this concept.

BUT... it strikes me a bit as the Gov't trying to get a free lunch -- and you know there's no such thing. Although on-line gambling will avoid many of the problems I mentioned in my previous post, it does have the obvious downsides of straining relations with the U.S. So Bermuda will need to balance the impact on that relationship very carefully with the possible cash income from gambling.

I'm probably not as hard-line about this as Vexed, but I do doubt the magnitude of the economic benefits. E.g. the Royal Gazette cites Antigua as earning $35 million and gaining 3,000 jobs. I don't think that $35mm number will be very significant to the Bermuda Gov't budget, and I can't really understand where the jobs are coming from -- other than to speculate that Antigua did not already have very many white-collar workers. I don't buy that it will make jobs for Bermudians. I would envision jobs in IT, marketing, accounting, and legal: all areas where our island already has to import talent. Again, no jobs there for our bottom half...

I wish I had the answer for that problem at this time -- it's a very hard problem.

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