Is it time for Barbados to legalise Casinos? BET founder has affiliate office in Warrens while shipping Gambling Machines to Santo Domingo – can we abandon Subterfuge?

Barbados has avoided the financial lure and attraction of hosting vast swathes of casinos on the island. The debate continues with relish as casino owners and visitors ask about gambling in Barbados. However, the political motivation focuses on creating an island for relaxing, revolving around beach life and water sports rather than roulette wheels.

Barbados does, however, allow for some forms of gambling and there are three legal types of gambling in Barbados:

» Slot machines
» The Lottery
» Horse racing

It is not legal to run things like card tables or roulette wheels in Barbados. There is only one location that calls itself acasino in Barbados, and this only houses slot machines.”

Barbados twice was under an unofficial Referendum over the prospect of Casinos over the years, once with “Tom” Adams and it only got so far as ‘One Armed Bandits‘ during the late 70’s and early 80’s (Al Gilkes & Tim Slinger – when the Nation was more daring – did an extensive research of the machines by actually playing them and running a Daily Feature where the tally of every pull was recorded and redistributed for readers to make their own decision).

{FILE IMAGE, COURTESY - CBS} Did you know BET's founder and Cochran are Fraternity brothers? Google it, and see numerous results pop up!

Then Owen Arthur also tried to see what could be done shortly after his first term as Prime Minister began during the mid-90’s and again the Religious Community came out in torrents as a rabid splinter, much like USA’s Moral Minority Majority or their Tea Party at Capitol Hill, opposing any Initiative to make the Tourism Market of this Island more cosmopolitan and thus more comprehensive in capturing previously untapped niches – but the ‘Holier-Than-Thee‘ screamed “NO,” louder than anyone else with little if any logic; despite countless references in the Bible of blessed characters doing some games of chance (Once crucified, the robe of Jesus was selected via dice rolls by Roman guards and no one objected to this method of passing property along, while Thomas was selected from Candidates to replace Judas via drawing of straws between the remaining disciples)!

At one point in Barbados’ gaming history, there were scratch games/B’dos Turf Club/Olympio via BOA/Caribbean Lottery – this last entity was very interesting! It was created in part by the former head of Black Entertainment Television (BET), Robert Johnson – and a former shareholder was the late Johnnie OJ Simpson: Fit/AcquitCochrane (So wait, you thought Cochrane visited here because he liked Bim? Nah-mon, Johnnie was investigating how his disposable cash-flow was being distributed – get with the Programme, nuh?)


If you refer to the start of this item, considering Barbados has lottery, horse-racing and Bandits – do we REALLY have the right to grab a whip and chase the Money-Chancers? These type of folk weren’t even in any temple, far away from it actually, what I have a problem with is how Sr Citizens go and chance away most, if not 90%, of their Pension at Gaming venues, the Cashiers don’t even suggest to the oldsters to keep at least 35% of their money for food and utilities? I have seen this happen, especially when I was a Trainee Manager at such an institution in Bridgetown back in May 1996… Yet there is a way to prevent this from happening, keep on reading!

More than once, this Web Magazine showed numerous pro’s & con’s of Professional Gambling, the US Embassy tacitly supported an initiative from a Bajan entrepreneur who created winnings via proxy prizes in lieu of money so there could be a form of gambling and more than one hotel across Bim would like to have an arcade and spin the ball on that good ol’ wheel… Even further – if you recall a counter rumour for the last Elections in Barbados… The BLP hinted that the late David Thompson cut a deal to allow special kind of Gaming Machines (not like Bandits yet similar) to land in the Port, once the DEM’s get in Office? Then the new form of chancing one’s money would be spread across Barbados. Does anyone recall how B’dos Free Press ripped the Nation for not digging further on Ma Pau, allegedly a community of friendship but more an alliance on performing and reaping profit from games of chance – however, Free Press never followed on the fact Ma Pau did set a franchise here, in Hastings and they had a 1/2 hour on 104.1 with Jude Eastmond where they touted fetes and, uh, psst! BTW – if you wanna play mechanised games where you may or may not win a prize, you can do that too (Say, ain’t that gambling?)…


In 2009, a new sensation met with consternation from BOA, Turf Club and Gtech – Video Lottery Terminals (VLT‘s) which operated under the name of Island Treasures – they used to be popular at various rumshops like “Close Of Play” opposite Pickwick Gap behind Kensington Oval. The outcry against, gasp, MORE competitors was extremely short-lived as Bajans got very frustrated at the new system which appeared more difficult to extract funds than Bandits, Scratching, Horses or Mega 6 and its various ticketed cousins.

{CLICK FOR BIGGER} Why are gaming machines which are due to go to the DR having a branch office in Barbados? Here's CAGE's philosophy;- "Caribbean CAGE LLC (An RLJ Companies Majority-Owned Company) is a U.S. Virgin Islands-based company that manages, develops, operates and distributes video lottery terminals in a number of countries and territories throughout the Caribbean and Latin America. CAGE is owned by RLJ Gaming LLC, RBW Gaming LLC and Cage HR LLC (Hard Rock). The Company was founded by Robert L. Johnson and Robert B. Washington, and is majority-owned by Johnson, who is the founder and chairman of The RLJ Companies and Black Entertainment Television (BET). Within The RLJ Companies portfolio, Johnson owns or holds interests in businesses operating in hotel real estate investment, private equity, consumer financial services, asset management, insurance services, automobile dealerships, sports and entertainment, and video lottery terminal (VLT) gaming. As a local-focused gaming business, CAGE installs and maintains VLTs at gaming sites such as restaurants, bars, lounges, liquor stores, convenience stores and other venues."

Let’s step back a bit, when DVD’s first came out they were appreciated but not popular. While clearer to view than VHS or video-cassettes, they were as big or larger than vinyl 33 LP’s and so not very portable… When DVD developed technology to be same size as a CD then their popularity not only resurged but eradicated VHS. Why do I refer to this?

I am wondering if VLT’s are hoping to make a clandestine return to Barbados’ gaming community but through a more circuitous pathway than before so as to develop advance marketing & research? Check the following statement I got from Carib-PR;-

International Game Technology, a global leader in creating the major games that players love and the systems that improve the player experience, announced today it has entered into an exclusive agreement with Caribbean CAGE LLC (CAGE), a video lottery terminal (VLT) and gaming terminal operator in Latin America and the Caribbean, to supply several thousand video lottery terminals in licensed bancas (Bancas de Apuestas Depotivas) in the Dominican Republic and to connect those gaming terminals to the IGT Casinolink® gaming management solution system.

This agreement with Caribbean CAGE highlights IGT’s expertise in the global VLT market and in gaming management solutions,” said Patti Hart, IGT President and CEO. “Partnering with this industry-leading gaming company in the Caribbean and Latin America has given IGT an opportunity to launch our successful VLT products in the Dominican Republic. CAGE is well known in the industry for delivering great gaming experiences to its players, which makes this partnership with IGT a perfect fit.”

This strategic agreement with IGT is a dynamic and exciting business opportunity for us to expand our reach across the Caribbean and Latin America,” said Robert L. Johnson, chairman of The RLJ Companies and majority owner of CAGE. “IGT’s track record of delivering world-class technology — including terminals, games and systems — will help CAGE empower small businesses to generate sustainable cash flow in these challenging economic times.”

IGT’s technology will expand our capability by offering enjoyable games for consumers and players, as well as additional sustainable annual revenues for specific needs of many of the countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, such as health care, education and sports,” said Bob Washington, chairman and CEO of CAGE. “We at CAGE could not be more excited about our newly formed relationship with IGT and its commitment to deliver unique gaming solutions to our markets. The opportunity to partner with IGT in the Dominican Republic will provide us with the tools and the systems to monitor and ensure compliance with existing laws relating to video lottery terminals/slots in licensed bancas in the Dominican Republic,” he concluded.

IGT will begin by delivering several hundred VLTs in the spring of 2011, and will continue shipping additional units to the Dominican Republic on a monthly basis. A large percentage of the games IGT will supply to CAGE will be part of the Game King® 6.0 Multi-Game suite, featuring the industry’s top blackjack, poker and video slot themes. This multi-game suite offers 46 poker selections, 13 video slot titles, 9 keno games and blackjack. Additional games being provided to the Dominican Republic include player favorites such as Coyote Moon®, Cats, Kitty Glitter®, Da Vinci Diamonds® and Pharaoh’s Gold®.

In addition to the VLT’s, IGT Casinolink® will be used by CAGE to centrally monitor the bancas operations. IGT Casinolink® has the capability to connect the management of video lottery terminals, slot machines, table games, account-based wagering, marketing and casino cashier services into one comprehensive system. The system’s extensive reporting capabilities allow for better planning and operational decisions in addition to increased control, accountability and monitoring of casino cashier operations. This scalable solution can be used in single and multi-site casino properties. IGT Casinolink® meets Gaming Standards Association (GSA) compliance protocols, which gives operators the ability to respond to ever-changing business and market needs.

When I investigated the Caribbean CAGE website, I discovered a subsidiary was right here in Barbados! It is located at Warrens – can it be possible CAGE and RLJ are considering to re-establish a branch of VLT’s in Barbados once again?


What do other islands do with casinos? In the Bahamas and Cuba, they disputed concerns of locals trying to gamble their lives away by making legislation so only visitors are allowed to use their casinos. Over in Antigua, a lack of gaming has led to Unemployment woes, according to Caribbean 360;-

Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer has revealed that the United States’ failure to comply with a World Trade Organisation (WTO) ruling on online gaming is hurting Antigua and Barbuda financially – and significantly so – not only though lost earnings and jobs but because it has forced the country into an expensive legal battle.

And he has made it clear that all options are being considered to resolve the dispute, including going outside the WTO for satisfaction…”

Although resolute that the US must open up its domestic remote gaming industry to fair international competition, as the WTO ruled it should, the Prime Minister was quick to note that the summit was not about making an enemy of America, but about the economic survival of the people of Antigua and Barbuda and finding a fair and sustainable resolution for stakeholders in the industry.”

As far as I’m concerned, the Caribbean, including Barbados, can no longer have this Luddite or knee-jerk and/or ostrich-type mentality towards Gaming and IT – a combination of both entities providing an Offshore Poker palace for other communities across the world, like Chinese and Indians who love chance, can only serve to get ourselves out of the current financial doldrums.

All regional governments, not just Bee nor DEM nor just Spencer/Castro(s)/Ingraham, but all 15 Caricom members along with Spanish, French and Dutch speaking territories need to wake up and examine the avenues towards legalisation of Gambling and Online Betting as a valid means of Revenue. It would also stop the hiding and sneaking in here and there and remove potential bribery of officials towards easing restrictions on machinery and relevant equipment.

By making it part of an Island’s infrastructure one can tax it and profit from it and reduce the need to lien into the population’s pockets.

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5 Responses

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  1. You made some good points there. I searched on the subject matter and found many have a similar view.

  2. While I understand your stance, including religious and infrastructure POV’s, are you not tossing the baby out with Bathwater? Just because 2 PM’s (from the same party) wanted to open the way for Full Gaming Options does not necessarily make it correct. Having been a card dealer in both Vegas & Atlantic City I can assure you it’s not all that glamorous. Barbados is much better off the way it is, look at what you yourself observed about Slot machines and old people?

  3. You can make a case for ANYTHING! Don’t be surprised if Owenite apologists try to make you look bad by saying anything they can dream up. No one could REALLY be so stupid as to actually oppose innovation based on reasons I’ve seen here. If Barbados as a nation of bettors refuses full gambling based on reasons given by the “skeptics” (who probably cannot figure a way to profit from the venture, which is why they oppose it)

  4. Im looking to visit Barbados, but would also like to visit a casino (w/ tables). Which islands closest to Barbados offer FULL casinos?

  5. As far as I recall, Antigua definitely, not sure of St Lucia? Try a li’l googling, usually does the trick!


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