A recent unofficial poll of the 250 members of the Cayman Islands Tourism Association indicated 71.7 percent would agree to some sort of gambling and 87.4 percent said they would approve a lottery, said Executive Director Jane van der Bol.
“All destinations have different regulations about gambling and who can gamble. Countries like Aruba, the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, St. Croix, St. Martin, Curacao and Bonaire currently have gaming. In August 2012 there was news that Bermuda was looking at a casino and Jamaica said it was looking at implementing a casino by 2013,” van der Bol noted.
As a result, CITA members have called for a referendum on gambling. “We would like to know more about how the people feel,” said van der Bol. “We would like to know more about the effects of gaming, casinos and lotteries here both from a tourism side to make dollars and the government side where money flows into the coffers, but also the socially responsible side.”
Van der Bol also noted gambling has helped other countries create new activities and new jobs, has added to government coffers, attracted a wider demographic, helped fund projects and increased hotel room nights.
Political candidates from all parties—whether or not they support gambling—are in favor of letting the public decide.