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Are Florida lottery tickets being sold illegally in Bermuda?

Jun 20, 2018, 9:10 am

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The Bermuda Government was advised more than two years ago that the sale of American lottery tickets on the island appeared to breach "numerous" laws in the United States, including some designed to stop money-laundering.

A legal opinion was sought by the Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission on the issue from a leading gaming lawyer in Las Vegas, who identified a series of potential violations of federal and state laws.

His evaluation is understood to have been shared by the commission with at least two Cabinet ministers and members of the Betting Licensing Authority.

But nothing was done to stop the sale of Florida Lottery Powerball and Mega Millions tickets at Paradise Games on Court Street — a betting shop belonging to former Progressive Labour Party leader Marc Bean.

Mr Bean said last week that there was nothing illegal about selling foreign lottery tickets in Bermuda, which was why Paradise Games still offered the service and why other betting shops also sold lottery tickets from other countries, including Triple Crown Racing on Victoria Street.

Mr Bean said: "If the authorities — the law — tell us it is illegal, we will cease and desist. No one ever has. An opinion coming from someone in the States doesn't apply to us.

"The proper opinion to seek is from the United Kingdom Gambling Authority. We come under UK law and we are ultimately answerable to the Privy Council."

Mr Bean, who was Leader of the Opposition when the legal opinion was given, dismissed the idea that the One Bermuda Alliance government or the Bermuda Police Service opted to look the other way.

"That makes no sense," he said. "How could I get a free pass? I was an aggressive Opposition leader. Why would anybody give me favours?"

Mr Bean and his wife, Simone Smith-Bean, a lawyer who co-owns Paradise Games, said they were completely unaware of the legal opinion obtained by the commission from Anthony Cabot, who was then a partner at Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie law firm in Las Vegas. The gaming commission at the time had no involvement in regulating betting shops, although responsibility was later transferred to it.

David Burt, the Premier and Minister of Finance, told a press conference this month: "Betting shops are now under the purview of the casino gaming commission and they will regulate that area as necessary."

Mr Cabot, now a Distinguished Fellow in Gaming Law at the University of Nevada's school of law, told the commission in an eight-page memo in early 2016: "It appears that, by selling Florida Powerball tickets to Bermuda residents, Paradise Games is violating numerous Florida and federal laws."

His opinion was that the ticket sales appeared to violate two provisions of Florida state law and seven provisions of federal gambling statutes, some designed to prevent money laundering.

There is no suggestion that Paradise Games or any other betting shop has been used for money-laundering purposes.

The commission is understood to have passed the contents of the legal opinion to Shawn Crockwell, who was the minister responsible for casino gaming, and to the Betting Licensing Authority, which decides on applications for bookmaker's and pool betting agent licences.

Michael Dunkley, then the Premier, was advised by the commission in July 2016 that US lottery ticket sales potentially violated US federal laws designed to protect against acts that could facilitate money laundering.

The advice was shared with Mr Burt eight months later, while he was Opposition leader.

The licensing authority had already discussed the sale of lottery tickets at its January 21, 2016 meeting, resolving to "consider obtaining a legal opinion from the Attorney-General's Chambers".

Minutes of that meeting show that members raised concerns about "whether the sale of such lottery tickets in Bermuda was unlawful, primarily because it was unclear as to the process by which such lottery tickets were being sold, and as to whether the activity is permitted under the Betting Act 1975".

Mr Bean said the licensing authority did ask questions about lottery ticket sales "for a brief second", at a licence-renewal hearing in 2016, and determined that it was a legal activity.

He added: "Our policy is that we ask ourselves the questions. What's the process to ensure that they can legally redeem their winnings? If we couldn't answer that question, then we are at risk from a betting and bookmaking perspective. We could potentially be seen to be doing something untoward. We are not. We have our processes."

In 2014, Paradise Games said in a statement it used FML Web Shop in South Miami to obtain the lottery tickets.

FML was terminated as a lottery retailer in February 2017 for "conduct prejudicial to public confidence".

Mr Bean said tickets were now bought through one person using a variety of licensed Florida agents, after customers choose their numbers here.

"Historically, what we did was buy through our agent. They would purchase the tickets on our behalf from authorised agents.

"We have one person who actually does the buying for us. There is nothing illegal in doing that; nothing at all.

"Once the new legislation comes into effect and if the new regime indicates something is illegal, we will stop offering the service."

He added: "If someone was to win one of those lotteries, the ticket gets redeemed in Florida. The agent in Florida gets a commission.

"I hope they do win one day. We have to fly them down there [to Miami] and they would have to go to the office that generated the ticket and exchange it for their receipt.

"Then we would fly them to Tallahassee, where they would redeem their winnings. We will pay for them, absolutely. That's customer service."

He said he welcomed tighter regulation of the betting industry, adding that improvements had been made in recent years by senior magistrate Juan Wolffe, the licensing authority chairman.

Mr Cabot gave an opinion only on Paradise Games.

Triple Crown Racing, which is owned by businessman Wendall Brown, is an authorised agent of the Caribbean Lottery and sells Caribbean Super Lotto tickets.

Mr Brown did not respond to e-mails seeking comment.

Mr Wolffe was unavailable for interview, as he was sitting in the Supreme Court, and questions sent to him to be forwarded to other authority members were not responded to by press time.

Economic development minister Jamahl Simmons, who is now responsible for betting shops, did not respond to questions, and nor did the casino gaming commission.

Mr Burt and Mr Dunkley did not respond to requests for comment.

A Bermuda Police Service investigation launched in 2014 into whether any local laws were breached at Paradise Games or other betting shops appears to have been dropped.

Acting police commissioner Mike Jackman said at the time that officers visited four betting shops in Hamilton to "check compliance with section 2 of the Lotteries Act 1944".

Mr Jackman said: "Those findings have been communicated to the DPP and the Bermuda Police Service is taking legal advice on whether or not any offences have been disclosed at any of the businesses."

A BPS spokesman said in January 2016: "The Bermuda Police Service at this juncture does not have any public comment on the aforementioned subject.

"We will in the future revisit our position in the event there is something we would like to communicate to the public via the media."

No further comment was provided in response to a request last week for an update. The Department of Public Prosecutions did not respond to questions.

The Florida Lottery said it had never authorised the sale of tickets outside of the state.

"For their own protection, we recommend players purchase tickets through our more than 13,000 authorised retailers," a spokesman said.

"The Florida Lottery strives to protect the integrity of our games so players and retailers alike can be confident in the games we provide to benefit Florida's students and schools."

Royal Gazette

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22 comments. Last comment 2 years ago by Bleudog101.
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Avatar
DMV
United States
Member #183847
August 18, 2017
283 Posts
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Posted: June 20, 2018, 11:53 am - IP Logged

FOR THE ALLIANCE

    music*'s avatar - DiscoBallGlowing
    Fresno, California
    United States
    Member #157851
    August 2, 2014
    3849 Posts
    Offline
    Posted: June 20, 2018, 12:14 pm - IP Logged

    The Florida Lottery spokesperson said all that needed to be said in the last few sentences of the post. 

     Mr. Bean? Isn't Mr. Bean a comedian in the U.K.?

    When will COVID-19 be finished?  A vaccine may protect all of us.

      Avatar
      Chasing $ Millions.
      White Shores- California
      United States
      Member #136473
      December 12, 2012
      6200 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: June 20, 2018, 2:34 pm - IP Logged

      It is possible, that the prevailing attitude is since the distance from Florida to Puerto Rico is almost the same as Florida to Bermuda- what’s the big deal? They both out there in the ocean, both spots are big on tourism, so what’s the harm in playing the lottery in Bermuda? If Puerto Rico can have it, why not them? It’s sunny all round, live a little.Big Smile

       * If they keep this up, it’s possible that PB & MM could soon be sold in convenient stores in Nigeria. Never underestimate Nigeria.

       * Voice of Reason *   

       

      People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it- George Bernard Shaw.

        Avatar
        Simpsonville
        United States
        Member #163184
        January 22, 2015
        2197 Posts
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        Posted: June 20, 2018, 2:52 pm - IP Logged

        It is possible, that the prevailing attitude is since the distance from Florida to Puerto Rico is almost the same as Florida to Bermuda- what’s the big deal? They both out there in the ocean, both spots are big on tourism, so what’s the harm in playing the lottery in Bermuda? If Puerto Rico can have it, why not them? It’s sunny all round, live a little.Big Smile

         * If they keep this up, it’s possible that PB & MM could soon be sold in convenient stores in Nigeria. Never underestimate Nigeria.

        Prior to reading the full article, had made up my mind they somehow intercepted the signal to the lottery and were printing their own tickets.

        noise-gate you know that Puerto Rico is a US Possession, but they still don't have Mega Millions.  Hey for that matter hook up all of our possessions like Guam and many others and let them play the lottery too.  One can play Powerball and Mega Millions in the U.S. Virgin Islands.  This is why I was prejudiced thinking they had got the wavelength or however it works and jumped right on it.

          Avatar

          Sweden
          Member #153624
          March 20, 2014
          210 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: June 20, 2018, 3:30 pm - IP Logged

          The Florida Lottery is not telling the whole truth, I have personally asked them years ago about a brittish winner that collected $1.000.000 from FL Lottery using Thelotters butler service. They confirmed the name with the same initials as the name Thelotter claimed was the winner.

          Return of Lotto Investment, ROI: 2019: 41% (march) | 2018 50% | 2017 47% | 2016 12,6% | 2015 20% | 2014 20%
          Return of Stock market investment: 125%

          Notable wins: Viking Lotto $1.152 - 2017

            Avatar
            Chasing $ Millions.
            White Shores- California
            United States
            Member #136473
            December 12, 2012
            6200 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: June 20, 2018, 4:23 pm - IP Logged

            Prior to reading the full article, had made up my mind they somehow intercepted the signal to the lottery and were printing their own tickets.

            noise-gate you know that Puerto Rico is a US Possession, but they still don't have Mega Millions.  Hey for that matter hook up all of our possessions like Guam and many others and let them play the lottery too.  One can play Powerball and Mega Millions in the U.S. Virgin Islands.  This is why I was prejudiced thinking they had got the wavelength or however it works and jumped right on it.

            Puerto Rico under US possession? Yeah l knew that. I also know that Japan has never been invaded by China, despite it sitting on it’s left shoulder.

             * Voice of Reason *   

             

            People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it- George Bernard Shaw.

              Avatar
              Simpsonville
              United States
              Member #163184
              January 22, 2015
              2197 Posts
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              Posted: June 20, 2018, 5:55 pm - IP Logged

              Puerto Rico under US possession? Yeah l knew that. I also know that Japan has never been invaded by China, despite it sitting on it’s left shoulder.

              You're too funny noise-gate...now go get your California Powerball ticket and call it a day!!

                Avatar
                Simpsonville
                United States
                Member #163184
                January 22, 2015
                2197 Posts
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                Posted: June 21, 2018, 7:21 am - IP Logged

                Puerto Rico under US possession? Yeah l knew that. I also know that Japan has never been invaded by China, despite it sitting on it’s left shoulder.

                noise-gate...played Powerball with Powerplay on-line around 9:15 p.m....hey, won $8; lucky 13 saved the day.

                  Avatar
                  DMV
                  United States
                  Member #183847
                  August 18, 2017
                  283 Posts
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                  Posted: June 21, 2018, 8:32 am - IP Logged

                  Congrats Oregon on your 5th Power Ball win since 1992. Last time a winner came from the state was in March 2007 a man from Milwaukee, won a $182.7 million jackpot. Maybe now people will stop yelling about how its always so rigged......or who knows maybe someone from the east coast was just driving through and just "happened" to be stopping through. Regardless you have one year to claim your prize too bad you can't remain anonymous. 

                  Party

                    Avatar
                    Chasing $ Millions.
                    White Shores- California
                    United States
                    Member #136473
                    December 12, 2012
                    6200 Posts
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                    Posted: June 21, 2018, 3:36 pm - IP Logged

                    noise-gate...played Powerball with Powerplay on-line around 9:15 p.m....hey, won $8; lucky 13 saved the day.

                    Good for you BD.l was hoping that Weshar75, who lives in Oregon would have seen his ship come in, however his blog said “No.” In any event l have been saying this for longer than l care to remember: Jackpot Winners for the most part, are from States that are close to large bodies of water *The Ocean. I may not be right, but l’m never wrong.

                     * Voice of Reason *   

                     

                    People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it- George Bernard Shaw.

                      Avatar
                      DMV
                      United States
                      Member #183847
                      August 18, 2017
                      283 Posts
                      Offline
                      Posted: June 21, 2018, 3:53 pm - IP Logged

                      Good for you BD.l was hoping that Weshar75, who lives in Oregon would have seen his ship come in, however his blog said “No.” In any event l have been saying this for longer than l care to remember: Jackpot Winners for the most part, are from States that are close to large bodies of water *The Ocean. I may not be right, but l’m never wrong.

                       The one comment I can say about this is that 23 states do border some either of the oceans and along with that is the fact that most of those states have high populations. Then you also have 6 states that don't even participate (Alaska & Hawaii are the only 2-6 that border an ocean). Now if you go even further and add in states that are "close to large bodies of water that's probably a tally around 30. The one thing I can say is that it's getting more rare to see winners hit before 200M but still congrats

                        Avatar
                        Kentucky
                        United States
                        Member #32651
                        February 14, 2006
                        8921 Posts
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                        Posted: June 21, 2018, 4:08 pm - IP Logged

                        Prior to reading the full article, had made up my mind they somehow intercepted the signal to the lottery and were printing their own tickets.

                        noise-gate you know that Puerto Rico is a US Possession, but they still don't have Mega Millions.  Hey for that matter hook up all of our possessions like Guam and many others and let them play the lottery too.  One can play Powerball and Mega Millions in the U.S. Virgin Islands.  This is why I was prejudiced thinking they had got the wavelength or however it works and jumped right on it.

                        PB and MM can't even "hook up" all 50 states much less all the U.S. possessions and territories. The common denominator is none of them have lotteries. When the advertised $315.3 million PB jackpot was hit on May 19, the ticket sales in the Virgin Islands were only $14,000. Had a VI player match 5 numbers without the bonus number, the payoff would be almost the entire yearly sales. On the same drawing, Vermont and Wyoming sales were $87,000 and $85,000 respectively giving those lotteries very little wiggle room too.

                        Because each individual PB and MM lottery is responsible for secondary prize payoffs, I doubt any new small (in sales) lotteries will risk their future revenues on betting against having multiple tickets matching 5 numbers.

                          Dd2160's avatar - Lottery-016.jpg
                          USA USA
                          United States
                          Member #134249
                          October 22, 2012
                          9768 Posts
                          Online
                          Posted: June 21, 2018, 4:16 pm - IP Logged

                          When i lived in NY the number spot took bets for ct nj tex fl and a couple other states

                          this is a story thats been told.

                          So Im wondering how much the ticket cost...is it in bahamian dollars or us $$ lol

                          420 216 1420 0216 9998 3323 1991

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                            Simpsonville
                            United States
                            Member #163184
                            January 22, 2015
                            2197 Posts
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                            Posted: June 21, 2018, 4:18 pm - IP Logged

                            PB and MM can't even "hook up" all 50 states much less all the U.S. possessions and territories. The common denominator is none of them have lotteries. When the advertised $315.3 million PB jackpot was hit on May 19, the ticket sales in the Virgin Islands were only $14,000. Had a VI player match 5 numbers without the bonus number, the payoff would be almost the entire yearly sales. On the same drawing, Vermont and Wyoming sales were $87,000 and $85,000 respectively giving those lotteries very little wiggle room too.

                            Because each individual PB and MM lottery is responsible for secondary prize payoffs, I doubt any new small (in sales) lotteries will risk their future revenues on betting against having multiple tickets matching 5 numbers.

                            Guess vacationers/locals in the VI could care less about the lotteries.  This nutcase plays wherever he goes.  Next week will be Michigan.  I sent them a suggestion to put the beginning and end date of multiweek draws on their tickets as I think I mentioned before.  They did respond and thought it was a good idea and MAY look into it--that means NO.  So I'll get 15 weeks worth and figure out the end date whereas they could easily do it like all of the other states that I've played in do.

                             

                            VI does have their own lotter;, get their emails.  They never mention PB or MM.

                             

                            Puerto Rico, to the best of my knowledge has had @ least two jackpot winners in Powerball.  Don't know why Mega Millions isn't offered?