The Bahamas wants to “revolutionize” gaming in the country and reposition itself as the Caribbean’s gaming leader, according to Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe.
“The Bahamas is attempting to regain itself as the leader in the Caribbean and certainly [wishes] to be competitive in the world, if not for the number of casinos but certainly for the quality of service that we provide and the integrity of the industry that we have maintained,” Wilchcombe told the Caribbean Gaming Forum at the Atlantis Resort last week.
The Bahamas has recently introduced a new Gaming Bill, which is currently up for debate in the House of Assembly.
Wilchcombe said the government wanted Bahamians to “occupy every possible office within the sector,” and to ensure that “Bahamians will sooner rather than later be owners of casinos and owners of the gaming industry of the Bahamas,” he said.
The forum included gaming industry personnel from the Caribbean, Latin America and Europe, covering issues from money laundering risks to security infrastructure.
Wilchcombe pointed to the impact of gaming on tourism in the Bahamas.
“Gaming in the Bahamas is connected to our tourism industry,” he said. “It has caused our tourism industry to grow; in fact, no one can doubt the ability of this industry to cause economic growth and that is why 15 countries in the Caribbean now have welcomed gaming into their jurisdictions.”