NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Despite widespread criticism which has suggested that the local gaming industry promotes irresponsible spending habits among gaming patrons, the head of The Bahamas Gaming Operators Association (BGOA) asserted on Tuesday that studies have proven that gaming patrons in The Bahamas are “responsible, savvy and can afford to game.”
Gershon Major, President of the BGOA said, “there is this misnomer that the only persons that game are those who are unable to afford to game.”
He asserted that this widespread opinion could not be further from the truth.
“Persons who game are very responsible in our industry, from what we have seen, and they are savvy consumers and can afford to game,” Major shared.
“There are those however who, for whatever reason in their lack of financial preparation, try to make ends meet by gaming and hopefully at the end of the day they think, ‘if I put a dollar here and I win that could help me with my financial obligations,’”
“We are not immune to thinking that there are persons like that. How many? I can’t say because the empirical data is not there yet.”
However, Major did note that the association offers assistance for those who find themselves addicted and unable to make responsible gaming decisions.
“We provide one-on-one counselling service through the BGOA at our cost and also provide group counselling sessions to persons who need help and also provide a further review by professional clinicians in the industry who can help up assess the amount of time a person needs for intervention; all of this is provided at our cost,” Major shared.
“We have also distributed responsible gaming guides which tells them [gaming patrons] what to look out for in the event that they are a patron, how to avoid playing in excess and this is all very important to help educate and promote awareness among those who are gaming.”
“Other marketing materials include billboards which are around Nassau where we encourage persons to play within their budget. We are not advocating for people to use their income for priorities to play.”
Major asserted that the domestic gaming industry has not been formulated to hurt Bahamians, but rather to help.
He noted that since regulation, the gaming industry has donated in excess of $30 million dollars toward nation-building.
“The domestic gaming industry has donated in areas of education, wellness, culture and sports. Moving forward we will do a better job at telling the story of our corporate and social responsibility.”
Major’s comments came during an afternoon presentation at the Rotary Club of Nassau. His presentation was the first in a number of public outreach initiatives launched by the BGOA in an effort to educate the wider public on the association’s purpose and its various initiatives which aim to ensure that gaming patrons enjoy the game of chance responsibly.