Gambling & Guns

As most people are well aware by now, one Mr. Richard Gaglio, is fighting for his life at the Hospital after being shot in the chest at the conclusion of an organised gambling event at his home. I personally do not think I know Mr. Gaglio, and I certainly hope that he recovers from his injuries. I also hope that the perpertrators of this crime are apprehended and removed from the streets.

There has been a predictable outburst of indignation over this most recent crime, and this has expressed itself in two main currents, especially in light of recent trials. One – and this one the most obvious on the various blogs – is to attack the PLP government for leading to an increase in violent crime. This trend is, I feel, prevalent amongst Whites. The second trend has been a reinforcing of social conservatism, reflected in calls for a return to ‘family values’, ‘christrian morality’ and a number of draconian punishment schemes, mainly increased prison sentences and a return to corporal and capital punishment. This latter trend is much more predominate within the Black community, and is, I feel, the line that the PLP leadership will be advocating.

I do support the notion that certain actions (and inactions) by the PLP government have certainly failed to reduce crime to the degree that should have been done. In particular I feel that the fixing of the education system has been too little too late to date. I hope that the reforms to the education system currently being slowly introduced will bear fruit in a decade from now, but we must accept that more could have, and certainly should have, been done in the last decade. Additionally I fear that the approach to social rehabilitation in the correctional system has been more talk than walk to date, and this has failed to break the cycle of recidisivism. Much more can and should be done in this area. Certain actions of the leadership have also reinforced a mentality based on bling, that is crass materialism and a culture of entitlement, even to the point of disregarding laws and procedure rather than rationalising the system. I can certainly see how this may contribute to our ongoing problems.

As to the social conservatism, I agree and disagree. In particular, while I support increased prison sentences, this is a bandaid approach, and without investing in social rehabilitation and preventing the root of the problems in our society, this will not work. But the current sentencing system seems to be almost ludicrously farcical to date, with the sentences being increasingly misleading (for example Selessie’s previous convictions for rape). One hopes this area in particular is now being addressed. However prison time should be an opportunity to make our streets safer by removing antisocial elements from society for a period of time, and to rehabilitate these individuals so as to prevent their continuing sociopathy upon their return to society. I have little time for appeals to family values or christian morality which are essentially the same thing. This only breeds a generation of hypocrites and stunts critical thought. It would be far better for society to focus on developing critical thought and empathy in order to create the capacity for ethical behaviour as opposed to mechanical morality. Corporal and capital punishment serve as no detterent to crime, provide only temporary satisfaction to the victims of crimes and creates either further damaged human beings or a sense of matrydom.

I am wary of crime being converted into a political football of fingerpointing. While some criticism is certainly valid, and I am in no way trying to prevent that, my concern is that in so doing we fail to roll up our sleeves and get busy rebuilding our communities. Furthermore, this fingerpointing can in no small way ‘big-up’ the criminal lifestyle by giving these individuals a perverse five-minutes of fame. While there is certainly much that the government should have, and can still do, there is also a lot more that each individual citizen can do.

We currently live in an increasingly atomistic society, a collection of households rather than a neighbourhood, workers instead of co-workers. We increasingly surrender to the bystander effect and an idea that ‘its not my problem’. Every citizen however can contribute in various smalll ways to repairing our social fabric, be it becoming active in our neighbourhoods through community organising or neighbourhood watches, or becoming a mentor or tutor. We can also build activities within our workplace for our mutual benefit. Many people already do this, but far too often we do so more on paper than anything else, tossing some coins into a tin and putting a sticker on our lapel for a day. This is not enough.

While the above is certainly an interesting debate, and one that will be expanded on (and misused even by those who seek to totally absolve the government and turn the tables on those who focus on the government), I am particularly concerned about the prevalance of organised gambling in Bermuda, something that this recent incident certainly brings to greater light.

With the current leadership being very much pro-gambling, this incident may very well derail their attempts to legalise it. I personally am opposed to gambling beyond small-scale social activities such as raffles and bingo, though even these I have issues with. My main concern with gambling is that it both serves to separate money from those who are most desperate for a better life (and in so doing end up worse, to the benefit of those who are already well-off), but also for the social impact that gambling cultures. This is both the bling, short-term gratification mentality, but also the criminal elements that seem inescapably connected to gambling, as this shooting seems to reinforce.

I am curious though about those that attend these underground organised gambling events. My eybrow was particularly raised by mention of a union official being present at this event. While citizens are free to do what they will, the presence of a union official at such an event is bound to raise some questions amongst union members who are struggling in the current economic climate.

I reckon once the immediate furore of this incident dies down, the popular positions regarding gambling, strong within certain sections of the community, will become further opposed to its legalisation. And there may be some political fall-out as a result of both this incident in question, and its clientele.


85 thoughts on “Gambling & Guns

  1. “the popular positions regarding gambling, strong within certain sections of the community, will become further opposed to its legalisation. And there may be some political fall-out as a result of both this incident in question, and its clientele.”

    Just an FYI the gambling event was a poker game, the people attending where the same people who attendend events when various clubs and bars in hamilton used to host poker games. The clientele where from all walks of life in Bermuda.

    Mr Gaglio’s shooting is a direct result of the police targeting those public games and forcing poker players into private homes.

  2. Personally I’m more concerned about gun crime than gambling – particularly in the privacy of ones own home.

    Oh, and seriously how are we supposed to catch the perps if decsriptions like this are being circulated by the police: “two black men, one taller than the other,” – at least we know they’re not the same height then!

  3. Most whites are not all whites. Some of us can actually see this for what it is. An act of violence. I wonder if we spend too much time pointing fingers and not enough trying to figure out the best ways to resolve our social issues.

    As I said on another blog. It’s easy to bitch about things from the safety of an armchair, behind a computer screen. Let’s see less talk and more walk.

  4. Mr Starling,

    I don’t know where you’re from, but around these parts “Just an FYI” means “For your information.” That would lead me to believe that Galt was not attempting to “change your position whatsoever.” Why so snarky, comrade?

  5. I didn’t think I was being snarky there Ernest. Relax. Having said that, having engaged in conversations with Mr. Galt over the years, yeah, I did assume his motives where to argue against the position. And honestly, I really didn’t see the point of the FYI. C’est la vie.

  6. Pingback: Global Voices Online » Bermuda: Gambling Shooting

  7. criminal activity that surrounds large sums of money …IE gambeling in this current example…..will attract others in the criminal circles who will see an opportunity to jack ppl to get their money.

    If the guy didnt have a know gambleing den up his house….the odds go down greatly that he would have been robbed in the first place

    this is no different than a drug dealer crew stealing drugs frm another crew.

    criminal activity attracts criminal activity.

    As the economy shrinks…and lower class jobs r lost those who are addicted who have no job, will now turn to robbing.

    Some of these people have acess to guns, people can rent guns here.

    Solution time:

    to curb the desperation of addicted persons the government has to reform its drug war policy and let the mininstry of social rehab deal with drug addiction as a health issue, and work with the health dept.

    this joint ministry action can then be used to create a drug distribution center…to give drugs to the addicted

    by giving them the drugs they crave in limited amounts, this will have an effect to reduce the amounts of drug related crime as far as the addicted robing to pay for their fix.

    these programs exist in various communities…vancouver canada for example. and drug related crime has reduced in locations where these programms exist.

    So if we are seriously concerned about the violence comming from the drug addicted so they can secure their fix,

    a distribution center will provide a viable solution and will fit well with the amount of addicted persons in bda.

    other wise……get some bars on ya windows…some attack dogs…and some security gaurds…..wait till they start going to tuckers town, i wonder whats going to happen then

  8. All those who were involved in this criminal act of gambeling whould be named …shamed…n brought b4 the courts and charged.

    If they are not…is clearly shows that there are different sets of laws for different people.

  9. I think you will find that the organised gambling in question was not illegal, at least not within the letter of the law.

  10. black press, the paper made it clear that the game was completely legal since the house wasn’t making a profit and drinks were not being sold.

    The games regularly organised at Mr. Gaglio’s home are said to be legal, with the “house” not making a profit and no liquor being sold.

  11. “The games regularly organised at Mr. Gaglio’s home are said to be legal, with the “house” not making a profit and no liquor being sold.” – Yeah right!!!

    How would “the paper” know that? But then again, “the paper” reported that a journalist is a regular there.

  12. J. Galt,

    I can only speak for myself. I wasn’t there. If you know that someone I work with was there, maybe you can ask him/her. By the way, where you there?

  13. Mr. Galt, there were also international businessmen and whatnot present. And there are also more than one union in Bermuda. As such your ‘request’ is a bit moot in my opinion. Unless you know something I don’t.

  14. I know something you don’t for once!!! 😉

    There is no request, LaVerne seemed to express disbelief “Yeah right” so I was just pointing out she could double check what was reported by asking the union offical.

  15. And I guess you won’t be enlightening us? I have a feeling I know who it is myself, and I’m sure a number of union workers will be curious themselves.

  16. So now we’re going to vilify those engaged in a legal act in a private residence – and divert attention away from those who shot (and may have killed) someone. Interesting moral road to take.

    This sounds to me like people that speak about a rape by saying ‘Well if she didn’t dress that way…’

  17. “The games regularly organised at Mr. Gaglio’s home are said to be legal, with the “house” not making a profit and no liquor being sold.” – Yeah right!!!

    How would “the paper” know that? But then again, “the paper” reported that a journalist is a regular there.

    While I share your skepticism that the house wasn’t making a profit, I’d expect the answer to your question is simple – the paper asked the question. Journalists have a bad habit of doing things like that.

  18. Hey LiF, I just want to underline that pretty much everyone here is not condoning the attack on Mr. Gaglio, and we all hope he gets better.

    Having said that, yes, this incident is going to raise the eyebrows of many in Bermuda who quite frankly were not aware of this underground – yet legal – activity. It will also strengthen the resolve of those who oppose gambling, especially on grounds of morality and fear of increased crime.

  19. The best thing about Mr. Gaglio’s game and poker in general is…. It brings all types of BERUDIANS AND EXPATS TOGETHER AND EVEN THE OCCASIONAL TOURIST. The players win or lose generally have a good time socializing and meeting up with new friends and as someone that lives in the neighborhood I can verify this event has always been very quite and trouble free. How many activities accomplish the same goals now ?

  20. LaVerne,

    I understand what your disbelief is about and was just suggesting that you could check the facts with your coworker.


    When you say “underground” it gives the poker games a shady undertone. Have you never played in a homepoker game? Mr. Gaglio games just picked up where the bars and clubs where forced to leave off by the police. His game attracted the same group of people as mentioned by the paper, a very diverse group, from all walks of life in Bermuda.

    I’m not sure I understand the morality argument, after all these are all consenting adults.

  21. Ms Furbert My establishment has hosted numerous poker events and never recieved any funds from thr game itself. I did however profit from selling food and beverage which is what I am in business to do. I would guestamate that 30% would eat , 80% would drink and many just sodas.

    We stopped doing poker when we were advised that we may possibly be jepordizing our licence . We have never been able to get a definative answer on the legality but were told it is fine in a private residence.

    Regardinfg your disbelief some people do something for nothing Richard was like that and let’s all pull for him.

  22. It’s a home game, nobody’s taking a cut – if they were, people would just go to one of the many many other home games

    It’s the most inclusive thing I was ever a part of on the island (not his game, but in general) – IB execs, bar/restaurant staff, union leaders, the odd known drug dealer, police, people who work retail, own restaurants, etc etc etc. Men, women, black, white, green, purple

    Haven’t played much since the big ban at bars a couple years ago but it was a really great scene, probably still is

    I’ll repeat for the disbelievers: if someone was taking a house cut, the game would move to somebody’s place who wasn’t taking a cut. The people hosting are also playing, so it’s not exactly the “casino” setup some may be thinking of

  23. “criminal activity attracts criminal activity”

    blackpress, what’s criminal about a poker night?

    And I strongly doubt that someone hosting a poker game or series of games is making a profit,… unless you consider the participants bringing drinks to the host’s house part of the earnings or something like that.

    This talk about the “house wasn’t making a profit” thing makes it appear as though these guys are hiring card dealers and setting up a couple of slot machines on the side.

    Shoot, it’s a hell of a lot more fair to the customer than Crown and Anchor.

  24. I just look at it this way. It’s legal and causes no concern to others in the area. This has been going as long as I can remmember.

    Many would be surprised as others have stated who attends these functions where differances are put aside for a period of time.

    I’ll leave it at that.

    A great day too all and remember there are other houses of cards that need more attention than these.

  25. Trying to make poker out to be anything other than friends getting together to have a fun night on this EXPENSIVE little island is silly. Most people do this because it is MUCH cheaper to play some poker and drink a six pack of beer than going out to the boring clubs/bars and spending $30 on six beers. It is a game that is fun and people enjoy with their friends. Nothing more to it.

  26. I would like to add, anyone that plays a regular poker game at their house should now keep these games on the DL. Bermuda is not safe anymore.

  27. I think its important to state once again that I oppose gambling. I am not opposed to it from a religious point of view (being atheist I can’t exactly do so, lol!); my opposition is more from an ethical point of view as regards the systematic expropriation of wealth from the poor to the rich (in mainstream gambling at least) and for the negative social impacts related to gambling.

    I don’t have a problem whatsoever with a bunch of friends getting together and playing cards. I myself do go and play dominoes or euchre every so often (even though I forget how and generally suck – LOL! – I much prefer playing mah jong to be honest). But I don’t see the need to be adding in the need to gamble; I go to play a game and enjoy the company of friends. I do not go to win or loose money. I don’t have a problem with people going and just playing. I do take issue when they start introducing the money element as this really truly does change the entire dynamic in my opinion. It may very well be legal and all, but it still comes across as pretty shady to me. And this impression of mine is reinforced when the media report that this gambling scene is ‘well known in Bermuda’s underworld’ and that it brings together diverse elements of Bermudian society, from international businessmen, MPs, Union officials and ‘known drug dealers’.

    Again, this is a terrible crime, and it shouldn’t have happened. I truly do hope that Mr. Gaglio makes a full recovery and that the criminals are caught and brought to justice. However, yes, I do feel that when you introduce the money element and convert a social event into a gambling one, yes, you are going to attract unsavory elements, especially when dealing with thousands of dollars (I understand the victim had on his person some $4000). That doesn’t make it right, but in many people’s eyes it will look like it was an accident waiting to happen. And I’m pretty sure it will reinforce the opposition to further legalising gambling. Furthermore – and I realise this will draw the ire of many – in Bermuda’s continued racial atmosphere I do think there will be some who will note the widespread indignation being expressed about this crime on a wealthy White Bermudian, when similar levels of dismay have not been as prevalent (at least in the perceptions of many) for poor Black Bermudian victims.

    I really truly want to stress that my last comment there, on race, is not meant to inflame the situation or in anyway to mitigate the magnitude of this crime. I just thought it important that people note whether or not this will come to be a factor shortly.

  28. “wealthy White Bermudian” Really. I know Mr. Gaglio casually. Haven’t seen him in years though. But do you known him? He ain’t “wealthy”. Doing ok? Yeah. Has some property. Yeah. But wealthy? Not quite. Not in any real sense of the word.

    You’ve been listening to Comrade Commissiong too much. Internalising his BS. Always about race. Always about race. Sigh. How’s about a guy got shot in the chest in his house after hosting a social event?

  29. How’s about a guy got shot in the chest in his house after hosting a social event?”

    A social event that attracts all walks of bermudian life as well as non-Bermudians. Name me a Government program which has succeeded in doing this.

    I also know the Gaglio family and I don’t consider them to be wealthy. Why did you think/state that Mr. Starling? Is it because he is white? I mean he does own some property, but so does Ms. Furbert (as she has stated on this forum that she owns multiple properties). Do you consider her wealthy as well? I don’t understand…

  30. Mr. Starling, you have no clue as to what you talk about. I have been to gamble houses in the 60’s and 70’s all run by blacks. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were on the table along with other paraphenalia.

    All were in back of town and spanish point, crawl hill et al.

    “Atheist” ? You son. gamble everyday when you walk the streets of anywhere. You also gamble with your life as a Communist. There aren’t too many places where people of your character can speak freely unless of course your in command and control.

    I hope for Bermuda’s sake that you stay in Scotland or go somewhere else besides returning home.

    I’ll get back later when the noose is slackened from my neck and tounge.

  31. Not too sure why my first post was deleted…

    But Mr. Starling why did you automatically label him as being wealthy? Is it because that the PLP propaganda machine and Ms. Furbert stereotype all whites as being inherently rich from the time of birth. I also know the Gaglio family and can tell you that I wouldn’t label them as being wealthy. He has property, but so does Ms. Furbert (who actually stated she has two houses). So would you also label Ms. Furbert with the same brush or would you place her in the poor Black Bermudian column?

    A poker game is a poker game. House games are far from shady and the house does not take a profit, the winner(s) do depending on the payout structure. It is a fun and old game that my grandfather used to play in Warwick in his hey day and I still proudly carry on the tradition. on top of that it brings together all types of people, both Bermudian and non-Bermudian in a friendly atmosphere. It is something that this Government cannot (and does not want) achieve. Maybe we should legalise gambling, it would probably do more good then the BIG CON for BDA’s race relations.

  32. gambeling is illegal…just like smokin weed is illegal….crime is crime. With these new police powers…cops can enter ya home….and if they find illegal porker gams with large cash pots…thats illegal

    just like if the cops go in some one house n they smokin a spliff….or got some weed trees in their house growing
    thats a crime as well

    if u tryin to bend the laws and create grey areas for some laws then all laws are subject to the same bending.

    yes Tryangle
    “criminal activity attracts criminal activity” they went to rob that house to get paid, if a large pot of money wasnt known to be there…regularly…they would not have found it a tempting target

    blackpress, what’s criminal about a poker night?

    nothings wrong with poker night…play with plastic chips and not a pot of thousands of dollars..sara is right u better keep it on tha dl…or expect to get jacked or busted by cops!

  33. It was, I believe the Bermuda Sun (or the RG) that referred to Mr. Gaglio as wealthy. I was going by that, thank you very much. That anyone also owns a horse stable would also imply that one is rather well off as well.

    9PS – your initial post wasn’t deleted but caught in the spam filter.

  34. Did the shooting take place at Hinson Hall? The picture in the newspaper made it appear that way, but I’m not sure if it was on that property or one nearby. Thanks in advance.

  35. There are those who know the family personally, but I do recall that he lives on Hinson Lane, some sort of odd numbered military named cottage, but I could be wrong. Don’t know if the actual address is in the paper however.

  36. The Sun may describe him that way, but he isn’t wealthy. It’s your typical Bermuda family with some property passed down through the years. Far from wealthy. More like comfortable.

    Wealthy in Bermuda means tens of millions of dollars if you ask me. Otherwise, unless you live a very modest lifestyle you’ve got to keep making money to live in this place.

  37. Hi Truth, be that as it may, I hope you see where I took the reference from and not as you may have concluded.

    Personally, to me and I’ld reckon a large chunk of people, he would be classified as wealthy – based on what I do know of him from the media. Not part of the elite super-wealthy that we certainly have, sure, but still wealthy from my perspective. I see that the RG quotes the Firch report as stating our per capita is $97k a year, but that certainly doesn’t reflect the vast inequalities that we have.

  38. “my opposition is more from an ethical point of view as regards the systematic expropriation of wealth from the poor to the rich (in mainstream gambling at least) and for the negative social impacts related to gambling.” – JStarling

    Could you explain further how a social poker game which is reported to have attracted Bermudians (and non-Bermudians) from many walks of life is in any way related to the systematic expropriation of wealth from the poor to the rich?

    As I see it the poker game in question was a systematic expropriation of wealth from the lucky to the unlucky, or skilled to unskilled if you would prefer.

    I think it is unfortunate that two seperate debates have been fused together incorrectly because of this issue. The debate on gambling, and the debate on the increasing crime levels. Even the description of the game as “underground” helps only in confusing the issue. This was a completly legal social game, the host of which was set upon by two opportunistic criminals and shot. My heart goes out to his family in this difficult time and I hope me makes a full recovery.

    Now refering back to your origional blog post your claim that the views are divided primarily by race is a disturbing one. I consider myself a moderate between the two extremes you established and I feel that both sides are ignoring key issues if they really do hold views on the extreme of that scale.

    For those that advocate blaming the PLP I can only say that I agree they should be blamed for failing to impliment policies to control crime. The PLP’s recent claim of credit for lowered road accidents proves that they are willing to accept responsiblity for issues relating to policing and the justice system. This can be reasonably extrapolated to include violent crime. However these people must also realise that the problem is rooted within the community and that any government initiatives will come to nothing without the community support.

    Likewise those on the other side should accept that the government of the day has a responsibility to lead the way in governing the community and has failed in some key areas.

    While I agree that it is time for us to roll-up our sleeves and get involved I cannot agree that criticisms of the government for it’s failures will hinder rather than help. The whole system of democracy only works as long as the government is held responsible and I would applaud even the slightest indication that they accept responsibility for their failures in the area of crime prevention because in the end no government is perfect and they have made some successes. The problem is when governments practice a “hands off” attitude to responsibility. When that is the example our leaders are setting how can the youth be expected to be any better?

  39. Fair enough. But the wealthy label is purely speculative and frivolous. His means have no bearing on the offense.

    I would characterize him as one of Bermuda’s large and stable middle class (you can thank John Swan for that).

    All this talk about ‘wealthy’ reminds me of that Chris Rock skit where he says “Shaq’s rich. The guy who pays his salary is wealthy”. Quite.

  40. Apologies, but I’m still in somewhat a state of disbelief at how predictable some of this is.

    1. Well gambling is evil, so he kind of brought it on himself.
    2. We only care now that it’s a rich white guy.
    3. Actually we should focus more on social inequality and how this caused it.

    I’m clearly out of touch with how some Bermudians think. Maybe I’ll never understand. But my take is:

    1. Gambling isn’t evil. Robbing someone at gunpoint then shooting them is evil. And cowardly.
    2. We care more about a crime committed on personal property than between two rivalling gangs because it translates into ‘It could happen to me or my loved ones’.
    3. True, but it would really be a lot less insulting if you consider it another way: some piece of sh*t just likely killed a man for no f*cking reason – and if he ever gets caught he’ll probably walk because he ‘wasn’t that type of guy’ and the DPP will screw up.

    If you honestly believe that Bermuda’s first in home shooting of a randomer (in my memory) isn’t a big deal then fine. But I do. And I’m pissed off to all hell that a bigger deal isn’t being made of this.

  41. LiF – As I have stressed, the race and class of the victim in no way reduces the seriousness and evilness of this violent crime. My observation was simply that some may point out that certain segments of society appear more vocally upset about this particular crime than those that occur in more ‘traditional’ incidents. There was nothing more to my comments than that. That’s all. I have no where tried to suggest the crime is in any way reduced on account of the victims circumstances. If anyone is imputing that it says more about there own thinking than my own. Just as the reaction to my quoting the Bda Sun’s description of the victim as ‘wealthy’ does.

    Nioe – my comments about systematic wealth expropriation was more in reference to organised gambling in the sense of casinoes and the stock market. Again, I have no problem with people playing card games and demonstrating their skill or luck. But as Black Press points out, you can do this with plastic chips and not thousands of dollars. The element of large sums of money completel changes the dynamic. There ARE going to be quite a lot of people in Bermuda who ARE going to look at the home gambling legality as quite a bit of a grey area, and, indeed hypocritical. Myself, I would say then one should be allowed to smoke a spliff in my own home without fear of arrest, for example. I’m not saying I do smoke (I don’t) or that the example is rational, but I am saying a lot of people WILL look at this case in a similar fashion. As for your comments about the two approaches to crime (blame government versus community activism), those were the sentiments I was trying to express, that both approaches are valid and vital.

    The Truth – Again, I must stress that I was in no way belittling the magnitude of the crime in question – as I explicitly stated. My point was simply that a good chunk of the population may look at this, or rather the reaction to it, in a curious way. None of them will belittle the magnitude of the crime, but they will wonder on some aspects of the reaction. I believe all in the community do indeed condemn this action and are hoping the police are able to remove these anti-social elements from society.

  42. Black Press, GDP per capita is based on the mean value of average, not the mode value. Using mean value you can have a society where perhaps 1% of the population earns a millions dollars a year and the rest of the population earns $50k, but GDP per capita may severely distort the picture. Modal value would indicate what the largest group of the population would earn. There are quite a few problems with GDP (and other measures of welfare). There is however a measurement known as the Gini Coefficient whic is sort of the standard measurement of social inequality. As far as I know the Gini Coefficient for Bermuda has either not been calculated or is not published. However, it is possible to calculate it on some of that data that is published, I just haven’t had the time to do so myself. The data provided by the 2000 census and CURE are the best resources for getting an idea of the inequalities at the moment.

  43. @JStarling

    You seem to contradict yourself in saying that while you would allow one to smoke a spliff in their home you have a problem with a bunch of adults who wish to play a game with their money. It’s hypocritical to allow one over the other. One cannot be a pick and choose libertarian.

    As far as I’m concerned those poker games should be moved back into the bars and other establishments for safety’s sake. However Bermuda’s religious community would be up in arms if gambling was legalised anytime soon. (Not to suggest they would be the only ones). So we are left with a connundrum, are we to ban poker altogether? Or bring it back to the bars? Or perhaps legalise gambling completly?

    If it were up to me it would be back in the bars. It’s safer, if you can’t beat them, legalise and regulate because I doubt if poker games will ever be stamped out.

  44. Hi Nioe – I was trying to express what I feel a lot of people will say as regards the grey area legality of this. I do support the decriminalisation – and even legalisation – of marijuana, it is true. But that was not the point I was trying to make. I feel that gambling should be illegal, that is true.

    I feel that these gambling games should be illegal. I am not against people playing poker or other games, but I am against them when it involves money and becomes gambling.

  45. In general I am far more concerned about events that involve large sums of money (most raffles and bingo games involve small amounts, maybe $10 or so). Gambling involving hundreds or thousands of dollars (or even millions when one looks at the stock market), have much more severe consequences. Small scale events like bingo and raffles do not have such negative consequences and are used for good purposes. An argument may be used here that we should institute a national lottery type system for just such a purpose of raising funds for social welfare projects, but I have some reservations with this as being akin to a hidden tax on the poor, when a progressive tax would be a better approach for these purposes. I do believe that people should be able to play bingo without the money element though, and that the Chuches should appeal to peoples ethics rather than charades however.

  46. Jonny is a socialist, thats why he feels its ok for him to tell everyone else how they can or cannot spend the money they have earned.

  47. Socialist? That’s being gentle. It’s not often you see a real live unreconstructed Marxist in the wild. Most of them gave up the ghost a long time ago.

    (Preparing myself for a 5,000 word treatise from Jonathon on why he is in fact some sort of a derivative of a socialist/marxist but not a socialist/marxist in the traditional sense of the word because that would be far too dull).

  48. Tryangle

    Just to pick your point re: bingo.

    Yes – it is gambling, as is Crown and Anchor, horses/dogs et al. As with much of life in Bermuda, we rationalise to suit of course, and I am quietly confident that the churches will consider Bingo a ‘soft’ form of gambling with ‘known and controllable’ costs, i.e the card costs $3 or whatever.

    Poker, slots etc, will be seen as examples of ‘hard’ gambling, where the weeks food money can disappear and then some.

    It doesn’t detract from the principle, i.e. it’s gambling, but there you have it. In any event, since when did principles get in the way of doing what you want to do?

    Imho – of course.

  49. Can someone advise exactly how poker ws made illegal in bars/clubs etc but Sea Horse, Victoria Club (I believe that is the correct name) and other gambling clubs are deemed to be legal? Is it because there is a 20% tax on bets/earnings? Does anyone have any history on this?

  50. 9ps

    Can’t answer much of your point, but the 09 Budget shows an income of $1.4m in betting tax.

    I might be wrong, but suspect most of that doesn’t come from gambling clubs.

  51. I believe you’ll find it’s all tied to liquor licenses. If you’re not selling liquor they can’t really regulate your activities.

    I suspect the betting tax refers to betting shops like the one under Little Theatre.

  52. Jonathan

    Just one question. Would you prefer a situation where gambling effectively went underground, i.e. internet gambling, such that it was out of our control or one where it was ‘above’ ground, but controllable?

    Just looking for your thoughts.

  53. I think that the ‘Bermuda Bingo’ that airs on TV has jackpots approaching $500 and higher. Not the same as winning a George Foreman grill or something on a Saturday evening at the church halls.

    And up to now, I’m unaware of the organisers using their profits for any charitable means, either.

  54. @JStarling

    I’m sorry for misunderstanding your point then.

    However I still don’t understand how you can be pro legalisation of weed and yet so anti gambling even when it comes to social poker games. One can as easily blow the weeks food money on weed as they can playing a game of poker. The only difference is that poker doesn’t have any adverse effects on one’s health, which any inhalation of smoke does have. It seems downright hypocritical to me, both can be addicting and both come with the need for moderation. So why pro one and not the other?

    Weed would be sold by large companies just like alcohol or tobacco so we’d still have the “systematic expropriation of wealth from the poor to the rich” and the social problems too. Weed is no better than gambling like you seem to make it out to be.

    To be clear I’m not pro casino and large gambling establishment etc. my point is simply that there is nothing wrong with a group of adults to get together and play a game involving money as a social event. Honestly I’d rather see it back in bars and clubs where it can be monitered. Pushing it “underground” would do more harm than good.

  55. NIoe

    nothing wrong with a little gambeling or a little weed in ones house

    all other nations that we like to try to copy has no issue with a little gambeling and a little weed for personal use.

    this island is clearly behind the times, and the people only have them selves to blame for not forcing the issue of sweeping reforms.

    these out dated laws are the result of a far right wing lobby that should be resisted.

  56. black press says

    “these out dated laws are the result of a far right wing lobby that should be resisted.”

    since when did a lobby have any actual effect here? More likely vested monetary interests by those who could make changes but don’t as they would suffer the consequences

  57. Robert,

    Actually it may be that the vested monetary intrest is in favour of legalisation. Hence Dr. Browns attempt to sneak the cruise ship gambling bill through parliment.

    I think it’s the religious community that is what’s keeping gambling down. A significant number of PLP voters come from religious backgrounds, to go against their wishes would be to jepordise votes. Not that the UBP would gain any voters from such an action, they’d probably just stay home.

  58. Nioe,

    I agree re gambling but what about the other?! I will declare my position is that aligned with California and other places such as Holland. Take marijuana away from the underworld and let Government handle it like alcohol. Control the quality and price and decrimalize personal use, or possession, but maintain a hard line if under the influence as in drink in public or DWI. Why? the present situation means the punishment is far greater than the crime, effectively a life sentence for what? Possession!
    Gambling is a separate issue. Although against it, IF it was again brought under Government control, maybe. The difference is that gambling can lead to massive losses compared to buying some natural product. They should both be discussed openly like the “Big Con” on race.

  59. Robert,

    I don’t disagree that marijuana should be decriminalised for personal use.

    My issue is with the claim that it is somehow better than gambling.

    Marijuana issues are caused by addiction

    Gambling issues are caused by addiction

    In moderation neither poses significant risks. However the fact remains that Marijuana still involves the inhalation of smoke and therefore potential lung damage while Gambling does not.

    A recent study in the UK found that only 0.6% of people will be at risk for gambling addiction. Statistics for Marijuana range from very addicting to not very addicting at all and really I don’t know. However there is a portion of the population that is at risk for addiction not just from Marijuana’s properties but because of genetic dependance tendancies.

    For an addict either would ruin their life. For one who uses in moderation they prove themselves as reasonably harmless.

    It is amazing to me that gambling is percieved as the ultimate evil in Bermuda. Even those that express libertarian views towards Marijuana seem to think that a responsible adult’s right to chose stops where gambling begins and I don’t understand it. If one is worse than the other it is marijuana, not gambling.

  60. Tryangle, I was completely ignorant of the extent of these Bingo games I guess. I assumed they were small scale events held in Church halls involving pittances and the funds raised were used for explicit charity purposes. Should it be more than that, and these TV events certainly cross the line, then yes, they should be banned. I have no problem with that.

    J Galt – I don’t intend to order anyone, but I have my opinions and that is all. I believe that the social impacts of gambling are greater than any benefit. Similar when it comes to hard drugs.

    And ‘the truth’ – if you allow me to use Marxist jargon, I think I can get it down to a thousand words? LOL!

    Nioe – I wasn’t necessarily advocating that argument in particular, my intention was just to show that a lot of people my very well make such an argument.

  61. I don’t even agree that the brand of poker that is popular at the moment should be classified as a “game of chance.” It does not involve house odds, but skill against skill. If this were a game of chance, the same people would not be winning all the time. I would liken it more to a marlin tournament, there are huge amounts of money at risk there as well, but because it hasn’t been forced underground, no-one shows up to rob the winners, it is too public to even consider. I would even say that marlin fishing is more a game of chance than poker.

    If deep down you think that gambling is wrong, then don’t do it. Robbing me of my freedom to choose in order to protect 0.6% of the population from themselves is insulting. Those 0.6% are gambling online anyway, why not keep that money on the island, and create jobs at the same time (dealers, security, etc.)

    This whole issue makes me angry, because the only reason not to legalize is because some people believe it’s “just wrong.” Prohibition never worked either.

  62. @J Starling:

    I think you’re mixing up ‘mean’ and ‘average’? (If you knew what follows, my apologies, but others might find it of interest.)

    The ‘average’ is what you get when you add all the individual values up, and divide by the number of values. So the $80K per year one gets by dividing total GDP by the number of people is an average, and as you say, it can give a misleading impression.
    (E.g. 9 people earning $10K, 1 person earning $1M; average income=$109K.)

    The ‘mean’ is much different (and cannot be reconstructed from totals, only raw data). Given a series of numbers (say, the income of each person in Bermuda), the ‘mean’ is that number (i.e. salary value) at which 50% have more, and 50% less. (E.g. above, mean income would be $10K.)

    If we knew the median income for Bermuda, that would very much tell us what the ‘average’ (sic 🙂 Bermudian earns. Anyone happen to know it? (I’m too lazy to look for it! 🙂

  63. Dont forget the to calculate the amount of persons who are bermudians or ppl with bda status…which is like what…44,000 or whatever. They are the “native bermudian” population.

    the entire population of 76000 or whatever it is would not be calculated in the percapita income since they are not citizens.

    this means the amount of wealth percapita amongst the actual % of the population that is bermudian is smaller and the wealth is concentrated in the hands of a very few people.

  64. @ Noel

    A slight correction. Using your example,
    median=10 (50% of the numbers are higher/lower)
    mode=10 (the number occurring with the highest frequency)

    Carry on.

  65. Ernest,

    Does one pay an entry fee when you enter a fishing tournament?


    You seem to have a problem when people play for money and keep it, but not if the money is used for something you can agree with i.e. charity.

    Isn’t that a bit hypocritical? Or can you explain your reasoning?

  66. Galt,

    Entry fees for the Marlin Fishing tournaments in Bermuda are in the thousands and in some instances tens of thousands of dollars. Some of the side bets that are made are even called “jackpots”.

  67. As for Jonny’s poker prejudice…

    “Never try and reason the prejudice out of a man. It was not reasoned into him, and cannot be reasoned out.”

    — Sydney Smith

  68. @Bermuda Rasta

    Ooops, mixed up ‘mean’ and ‘median’ (sounds are too similar) – guess my brain wasn’t firing on all cylinders that day! Thanks for catching my error.

  69. Pingback: Gambling & Guns « "Catch a fire" | Play Dominoes Online

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