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Haiti Lost Big Bucks by Snubbing Online Gambling

Written by:
Thomas Somach
Published on:
Jan/18/2010

If you've been watching TV coverage of the earthquake in Haiti, no doubt you've heard numerous times how Haiti is "the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere."

That fact--that nobody has any money there--has exacerbated the effect of the earthquake.

Helpless people are now even more helpless.

It didn't have to be that way, however.

Haiti didn't have to be so poor--at least not for the last decade.  Had Haiti only embraced online gambling--as other Caribbean nations have done--it would have been one of the richest countries in the Caribbean.

About 10 years ago, at least one online betting site, looking to relocate, looked into the possibility of relocating to Haiti.

The site, a sports betting site in Jamaica, was looking to relocate, preferably to another Caribbean country.

Conventional choices that already licensed online sportsbooks, such as Curacao and Dominica, were considered.

But also considered were some unconventional choices that did not license online gambling and seemed unlikely to do so, including Haiti and, yes, even Cuba.

Government officials in both those countries were contacted by representatives of the sportsbook to see if there was any interest in letting the sportsbook relocate and be licensed.

To no one's surprise, both countries turned down the offer.

No way Cuba was going to accept--it's a communist country and gambling is oh so capitalisitic.

In fact, one of the first things Fidel Castro did when he took over Cuba in 1959 was destroy the island's lucrative-but-American-owned casinos in Havana.

But Haiti has no such history--it could've embraced online gambling and been a rich (or at least much richer) nation today.

Had Haitian government officials embraced the sportsbook, other online gambling entities would have been sure to follow.

And the dollars would have rolled in, and Haiti would have been off the world's welfare roll.

But no--the government of Haiti did not want online gambling in any way, shape or form.

It's a decision it may come to regret--or maybe even reverse.  Especially now (the sportsbook eventually moved to Ireland).

The twin island Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda, for example, licenses online sportsbooks and charges them each an annual $100,000 licensing fee.

Other nations inside and outside the Caribbean that license online betting also charge licensing fees and make a lot of money.

If Haiti only had seen the light 10 years ago and embraced online gambling and issued licenses, it would be millions of dollars richer today--and in a much better position to deal with an earthquake.

By Tom Somach

Gamblng911.com Staff Writer

tomsomach@yahoo.com

 

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