Lottery not the answer

| 13/10/2009

At a time where there is a globalrecession and leaders worldwide are puzzled by how to get their countries through these tough times, Cayman is now playing with the idea of possibly legalizing gambling in the form of a National Lottery.

The argument that is put forward as to why the Cayman Islands should legalize gambling is the profitability of the current gambling industry, called “numbers”, that is already in operations within our islands. This industry is said to possibly generate funds of hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions of dollars, on a monthly basis. And it is because of the earnings that some people are suggesting that government should capitalize on the income from a National Lottery.

However, the social implications of legalizing gambling will far outweigh any revenue that government can possibly receive. In fact, if we were to go this route, there would be a rise in government’s cost of welfare because of the greater number of people who would be in need of government’s assistance. We could possibly see an increase in bank foreclosures as well, because of people’s “new found love” (gambling) and the neglect of their financial responsibilities.

As a young Caymanian I say no to the proposal for a national lottery. I have seen this industry destroy families and put financial setbacks on countless persons. If we were to legalize gambling we would be legalizing someone’s addiction. This would mean that there would be no fear in the hearts of those who buy “numbers” because of the absence of any legal punishment.

An addiction is an addiction, no matter what the addict is addicted to, whether it is drugs or gambling. An addict will go to whatever extent to get the product that they are addicted to. People are so addicted to “numbers” in the Cayman Islands that they have created a new form of greeting which is “what number play today” when they are greeting their fellow “number” buyer. If we legalize gambling people will be spending more of their hard-earned money on the “chance”. Because of this new found freedom they will ignore their debts and other payments of other life necessities so much that it will negatively affect their lifestyle even more.

There have been families that have fallen apart because of gambling. I am aware of one situation of a spouse depleting the family’s savings because they were using the funds to feed their gambling addictions. I am pretty sure that in our country there are many more horror stories and many lives affected by a person’s own lust for gambling, or a family member’s lust for it. The result of introducing a National Lottery may be that more children’s school fees will go unpaid, college funds will be depleted, houses foreclosed, cars repossessed, and lives destroyed.

I am sure that not everyone in the Cayman Islands who gambles is addicted as there are definitely some who merely flirt with gambling. But that too is dangerous. If you are one of those, please do your own analysis. Think of all the money you have spent on gambling over the years and now think of what you have to show for it. Your expenditure is more than the income you received from this hobby of gambling.

Right now we are only discussing a National Lottery, but how soon will it be that we will be pushing for casinos and the approval of cruise ship passengers to gamble within our waters, all in the name of tourism.
How can someone truly say that they are for the Caymanian people when they want to legalize something that further enslaves them?

Cayman, I strongly encourage us to make our living the way God said we should. That is by the sweat of our brow, which is by hard work and determination in our respective fields. We must not allow greed to consume us. For we know the love of money is the root to all kinds of evil. We must practice contentment and good stewardship with our country’s resources and our own as well. Cayman, there is no right way to do the wrong thing.

My prayer is that our eyes will be open and that God’s perfect will be done.


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  1. Anonymous says:

    yea, its ok to gamble, its ok to kill but its not ok to grow vegetable like plants in your garden to make a living :-).

    I strongly recommend national lottery and any one can buy tickets, that way more children support will be paid.  

  2. I'll take that bet says:

    I confused by the line: "Cayman, I strongly encourage us to make our living the way God said we should. That is by the sweat of our brow, which is by hard work and determination"

    What hard work? Like a preacher promising people that an imaginary man in the sky is protecting them, that they will go to heaven when they die, and then collecting 10 percent of their income for the privilige of believing such nonsense? You mean hard work like that?

    Lotteries are far more moral and honest than the racket called religion. And cheaper!

    –Jan Crouch

    • Anonymous says:

      The fool hath said in his heart "there is no God".  

      BTW, only a small portion of tithes go to a pastor’s salary if any at all.  

  3. ARZ says:

    I have often wondered why, instead of taxes or a lottery, the government does not look at raising revenue through a surcharge on all the millions of dollars that go out of the country via Money Exchange, Western Union and theother wire services?  We who have chosen to permanently live here pay our fair share of duties of our car licenses, mortgages, homes, bank accounts, mailbox rentals, etc.  Those who are just here for the milk and honey don’t spend on those things, therefore are not contributing to the well being of our economy.  The lines at the wire services are always long on payday.  It would be very interesting to know just how much money leaves our shores through this means.  Even 2% would be a good start to helping balance a budget, so say I.

  4. Richard Christian says:

    Excellent article Felix!! One of the problems with society is that we never realize the ramifications of a situation until it affects us personally. One person addicted to gambling, is one too many. That one addict could be someones, son/daughter, father/mother or grandson/grandaughter.


  5. Anonymous says:

    As there is a broken criminal justice system within the Cayman Islands and numbers gambling is everywhere now what does it matter. Until respect for the rule of law is introduced into the Cayman Islands all this talk means nothing.

  6. Anonymous says:

    The christian community defends double standasrds:

    TheBible  says that Saturday is the sabbath (the only Holy day) and that certain animals are unclean.  However, these anti-gambling christians violate the Sabbath and eat unclean meats.



  7. Anonymous says:

    If there was a lottery, who will be allowed to buy tickets? Should only Caymanians be allowed, or could expats and tourists buy them too? If the latter two groups bought a ticket then there is a risk that a non-Caymanian might win. If that were to happen, there would be riots all over the island.

    I believe that a lottery is a tax on the stupid – so it would probably do very well in Cayman.
    This is what it is like to win the lottery in the UK:
  8. Anonymous says:

    I read this essay with interest and it follows the typical arguments against the Lottery. Ultimately the essay ended with a faith based arguments that the Bible says to not gamble….I will leave that section to each one and their “God”.

    The reality is that this is an extremely good source of revenue but to have it function effectively Government must not administer it. Independent administrators should bid on theopportunity to do so based on their administrative costs and percentage revenue to Government. Government’s role is regulation and for collecting a tax on the the gross revenue. The balance after prizes and administration shall be administered by a Lottery Board and funds should only go to “good causes” as they say in the UK. That is the arts, sports, children, social causes and faith based organizations…in essence used for “Nation Building”.

    Now the numbers involved in Cayman…I understood that over $1,000,000 per week is sent through the numbers game. We would expect that to double just locally as spending in the Florida Lottery, American Football and sports gambling revert to the legal form. One estimate I heard indicates approximate $20M per year to Government (which nicely offsets Cayman Airways annual cost that we are “addicted to”) and $30M for Good Causes, $50M in prizes. Government administration would be in the order of $1-2 M per year.

    The idea that we will create a nation of gambling addicts is nonsense. Currently anyone who is an addict can easily satisfy that thirst and they do. The idea that Lotteries are taxes on the poor has some validity as those with lower incomes spend a higher proportion of their money on tickets. However in Cayman the 10-20% increase in Import duty last week is far more impact on poor people than the lottery will have. All of the “ills” listed are likely already happening here in Cayman…in fact I know someone who’s husband did bankrupt them here a few years ago gambling…the increase is unlikely to happen.

    Now what form of a Lottery?….make it also an online lottery. The numbers of ticket purchases will increase ten-fold and the numbers above will cover most if not all of our annual budget. See Spain’s El Gordo lottery–up to $2Billion per draw, done all online with no tickets.

    Cruise ship casinos operating in the harbour,…. we should have done that 10 years ago. No Caymanian will be able to board a cruise ship to gamble…you cannot now even get on to visit. 50% of the ships will stay in harbour longer. The annual take from passengers onshore will double to around $220M per year. That is a no brainer as they say.

    Most of the arguments against Casinos and Gambling revolve around the myth that it has to create this social costs. There may be some truth to that in the US where anyone can enter the Casino especially where to American Indians have become lazy, alchohics. Caribbean casinos typically operate on the principle that they are exclusively for the tourist. This avoids that argument all together. You can have your cake and eat it too however as is done in Sint Maarten, where locals can visit the casinos but only a limited times per month. So that argument goes away.

    The Bahamas sees over $200M in casino revenues each year. Cost Rica over $300M. Canada $3.7B.

    The biggest looser in the introduction of casinos will be the local nightclubs which will see a decline…since our local crime seems associated with those establishments, that may not be a bad thing.

    Church uptake in collections will likely go down slightly as many church goers now play numbers but are likely to increase their spend. On the other side, the churches will likely gain more through the “good cause” funds.

    In summary, No extra Government run inefficient operation, no additional addicts on island, no social problems with locals gambling like in the US, lots more money for our “spend happy” politicians and for you instead of your bread going up in price every new government. You decide!

    • Anonymous says:

      come on mckeeva, get back to the l.a & stop posting foolishness on cns!

      • da wa ya get says:

        In my opinion, that was a little too sensical to be Mac…not that I agree with it. Besides…I think everyone knows by now that Mac doesn’t use computers…unless he’s recently taken it up…

        • Anonymouse says:

          Big Mac do use COMPUTAS. You just dont see when he do it.

          • da wa ya get says:


            Seriously though, you should ask any of his past or present staff, they would concur with me.

  9. Anonymous says:

    What is the point of this article? Just to say I dont like the idea of lotteries because I know it has caused family strife? But isnt that occurring regardless?

    So whats your point??

    Alcohol and tobacco are bigger social menaces but are legal how does this argument apply more to lotteries than to those?

    And while we’re at it, dont your CHURCHES gamble and fundraise with raffles???


    • Anonymous says:

      Just because family strife is "occuring regardless" does that mean we should perpetuate or add to it by making something legal that could do just that?

      There will always be the haters, we can’t get away from that. One of the worst aspects of gambling is "what" comes with it. We will destroy our islands so as to make a few dollars. It attracts criminals, it turns people into criminals because they will do anything to feed their need, & it tears families apart whether we want to believe it or not! It destroys families, & it will destroy Cayman.


  10. Anonymous says:

    I commend you on a well written article, but you are incorrect. 

    "Felix is right, the social implications does far outweight the financial benifits"

    The first benefit it as is for EDUCATION (your included). (Spelling of your comment shoudl be benefit and outweigh, not outweight!)  Almost all state lotteries in the US use a large percentage of the lottery to help fund educational initiatives.

    Second benefit, a certain percetnage is set aside to deal with the "gambling addicts", so that point is moot.

    Third benefit, it brings out the undergound mentaility of a lottery. 

    Eeryone here knows it goes on, but you just want to look the other way because you are "good Christians".  This is a winning situation for the govenrment, but the PEOPLE should decide not the CHURCHES/POLITICIANS.  Vote on it!

    • Ha Ha says:

      You are a fine one to talk about another’s level of education.

      I counted 6 spelling errors in your post – not to mention the grammatical mistakes. Some so severe that I for one would be at a loss to advise you on how to amend.

      Serves you right though – this is a weblog, not English Lit. 101.

      Anyway, good article Felix, however, I am still not convinced that a national lottery is such a bad thing.

      There are many good things that can come about as a result.

      Lastly, once again, in our objections to a proposal for the country we are ignoring the practise of the legalised high-level "gambling", corruption, theft, dishonesty and global economic trickery that is facilitated in the offices of our local corporate firms every living day – the proceeds of which we all benefit!

      Cayman has for decades basked in the profits and proceeds of many a GREAT "sin" committed in all corners of this world – let us not unfairly pick on the most readily identifiable one in an effort to feel like a righteous nation of people.

      • Curious George says:

        You counted six?  Can you please point the spelling errors out?  I re-read it, had someone else read it, and did a spell check on it, and I can’t seem to find them, but maybe you are using British english, did you think about that???  Come on, point out the spelling errors to me since you made a statement like that.

        • Ha Ha says:

          1. "(your included)" –  yours included

          2. "shoudl" – should

          3. "percetnage" – percentage

          4. mentaility – mentality

          5. Eeryone – everyone

          ** I saved the first for last, seeing that is was the most unique one of all – quite baffling actually.

          6. "The first benefit it as is for EDUCATION" – Now, was "as" meant to be "has" – or was that entire construction of a sentence flawed through and through? Because when read as is – wow … I guess anyone can be a lawyer these days huh?

          Furthermore, you mentioned that a friend / colleague proof-read for you as well … plus you ran a spell check!?

          Honestly, what firm are you employed at? Remind me to never approach you guys for legal representation.

          I trust and pray that you are not an expat – as you are doing the argument for the "need" of individuals such as yourself in the Cayman Islands a great disservice.


          Have a wonderful day Mr./ Ms. High Earning Attorney of the Cayman Islands!

      • Curious George says:

        You were right; my spelling was terrible.  Guess my four accredited degrees (including the law degree that helps me earn my large living) didn’t help, but I have a feeling it is more than yours.

        Check the definition of a web blog though…this isn’t one!


        I commend you on a well written article, but you are incorrect. 

        "Felix is right, the social implications does far outweight the financial benifits"

        The first benefit it as is for EDUCATION (your included). (Spelling of your comment should be benefit and outweigh, not outweight!)  Almost all state lotteries in the US use a large percentage of the lottery to help fund educational initiatives.

        Second benefit, a certain percentage is set aside to deal with the "gambling addicts", so that point is moot.

        Third benefit, it brings out the undergound mentality of a lottery. 

        Everyone here knows it goes on, but you just want to look the other way because you are "good Christians".  This is a winning situation for the government, but the PEOPLE should decide not the CHURCHES/POLITICIANS.  Vote on it!



  11. Anonymous says:

    Under some circumstances a properly organised lottery, which includes readily available safeguards which deny access to gambling addicts, may be a good idea. At the present, the principal argument against a lottery is that it will likely provide a further source of funding for the political corruption that is threatening all aspects of life in Cayman.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Why don’t we just flip a coin to decide if we have a lottery?

  13. Anonymous says:

              It is never too late, basically you are saying that Cayman has no hope by saying that. Felix is right,the social implications does far outweight the financial benifits. For too long Cayman has allowed our greed for the dollar to run our country. Its time we line up our aims and objectives with that of God’s. We are known as a God fearing  country but, have far strayed from the idea of it. Introducing a National Lottery just adds fuel to the fire. Are we really sure we want to risk the future of our Island just for financial benifits. We need to take a different viewpoint and not think,   " Can I do it"  but rather " Should I do it".  Not because we have the power to implement a National Lottery mean that we should .

  14. No More Bureacracy says:

    Something you don’t hear anyone talking about….

    Administering the Lottery!  That’s where the con really lies.

    If Government does it, it’s going to be another guarateed nightmare, with the returns being eaten up by the costs for administration, staff, office staff, advertising, oversight, accounting and auditing. 

    This stuff ain’t cheap folks.

    But then if it’s outsourced, who is qualified in Cayman to do this?  I can therefore see a certain consortium from a neighboring Caribbean Island getting involved in this for man good reasons.  Then the issue of keeping those high administrative costs being kept locally looks a whole lot different when all that money is going overseas.

    It’s just too easy for them to suck up alot more of the benefits we should be deriving as a private company who holds our national lottery hostage.

    Let’s not speak of the increased risk for corruption… but we could always ask Bridger to come back and administer it. 

    The skinny:  lotteries are not cheap to administer and when we think about our population and the amount of people likely to actually play, it simply adds up to a poor attempt at appeasing the masses cravings for legalized vice.  It’s not going to be the silver bullet that balances the budget.

  15. Never too late! says:

    No it’s not too late…

    It’s never too late to get back to basics and do what is right.  It’s not as complicated as we think.  There is no shortage of solid academic studies which demonstrate direct correlations with gambling and poverty.

    The poor who are least able to pay, are more likely to.  It disproportionately preys upon the most vulnerable in societies, as it currently does in ours. 

    In the UK social scientists refer to lotteries as the "poor man’s tax" although it is widely used.  It is the poor and foolish who are throwing their money away in lotteries right now instead of prudently saving and investing.

    If you were to get a true picture of how much money is wasted on lotteries/numbers/chance especially by people who can’t afford to do it, it would shock us all. 

    Well said Felix…it’s a bad idea, despite out desperate of times we are in.  What’s next, legalizing prostitution so we can pimp out our children?  That makes money too and it’s happening on the DL?

  16. Anonymous says:

    By the same logic, shouldn’t we ban alcohol and tobacco? They can both lead to addiction, which can bring financial ruin, immediate health issues and to one extent or another tear apart families and our very social fabric. Just curious to your opinion on these vices as well.

  17. Anonymous says:

    "Cayman, I strongly encourage us to make our living the way God said we should. That is by the sweat of our brow, which is by hardwork and determination in our respective fields."  Kinda late for that wouldn’ t you say???