From this forum I have long lobbied for a sports lottery. Around the world, many of the peers of Bahamian elite athletes benefit handsomely from lottery funds generated by their countries.
We don’t have a sports lottery, however, those within the sporting community should be celebrating because the next best thing has happened. Some of the funding that will be collected through licenses and other fees within the new element of the expanded gaming industry ought to be earmarked for sports development.
The sports industry is huge around the world and here in this country, it happens to be an amazing product, still waiting though to be fully maximized. Every sports organization should send their respective leaders forth to network with the relevant authorities about the Gaming Bill 2014 becoming law and what it means for the sports industry.
One of the great challenges the Ministry of Sports has had through the years, and an issue it deals with still to some degree, is the non-compliance of organizations. The sports ministry has always been quite flexible on the issue. Although the providing of structured budgets of events is a primary condition organizations are to adhere to before receiving grants, the sports ministry is known to take a relaxed position in this regard at times. Full compliance also includes financial reports on the spending of grants.
Always in the interest of sports development and opportunities for the young male and female athletes, the sports ministry has eased up on its compliance demands from time to time. Organizations have been known to put the sports ministry in a tough position by giving short notice on financial requirements for regional, and yes, sometimes international events.
So the ministry would relent. Perhaps it is time now for the ministry to take a hard line on compliance. To be sure, leaders of sports organizations are eagerly waiting to see how the situation in relation to revenue from the gaming industry will unfold and how the funding will be distributed.
No doubt some funding from the gaming industry will be directed to sports development. The exact arrangement might not be divulged, but the sports industry stands to be bolstered due to the passage of the Gaming Bill 2014.
The time is right to establish a new culture in dealing with sporting entities in the country. There will be a greater demand of the sports ministry once payments from the gaming industry start pouring into the Public Treasury Department.
The ministry should immediately take an uncompromising position on the issue of sports compliance.
Whatever the extent of a financial spillover to sports from gaming industry payments, the Ministry of Sports ought to ensure that the distributions are in line with a new culture for sports organizations.
The culture is full compliance.
The sports ministry should, in fact, adopt the motto “no compliance, no funding”.
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