Gambling in The Bahamas
Casino gambling was first legalized in the Bahamas in 1969 and has been a major part of the country’s crucial tourism industry. However, the casinos are open only to foreigners. It is reported that gambling is very popular among locals but can only be done illegally.
Unlicensed card rooms and betting shops called “web shops” operate in plain sight without interference from the authorities. A national referendum to legalize betting shops failed in 2013. Some speculate that after the referendum the government will begin a crackdown on underground gambling operations, but as of now none has occurred.
While it is illegal for foreigners to use online betting sites from the country, last year the law was changed to allow sports betting in the “foreigners only” casinos. Many Americans now place bets in casinos in the Bahamas.
Online Gambling in The Bahamas
The government does not issue licenses to online gambling providers. In addition, it is illegal for Bahamians to use unlicensed or foreign-operated gambling and sports betting sites. However, many locals use unlicensed sites in “web shops” in plain sight of the authorities. While it is illegal, it appears that regulators and police turn a blind eye to it.
While foreigners can gamble in land-based casinos, it is not legal for them to access online gambling sites. A bill was introduced on the issue in 2013 but did not pass.