Time for a Bermuda lottery, anyone?
Most Bermudians know that we are fighting a battle to reduce the country's debt burden and balance the books. On one side of our imaginary scales, we have (government) income, on the other (government) expenditure.
As every household knows, to bring our scales into balance, we can either:
• Increased revenues (taxes)
• Decreased expenditure (government spending)
All expertly explained by Nathan Kowalski in these pages in March of this year.
“Sisyphean task of dealing with Bermuda's debt”, March 16, 2015
Although we all wince at the thought of higher taxes, they certainly are on the way.
Perhaps a slightly more “pleasant” tax increase would be “The Bermuda Lottery”.
Although our population size limits the payout, it also increases the odds of winning. Also, with an online site and tickets available to tourists, we could significantly increase the weekly income.
Here's a cursory look at the numbers:
Ontario lottery and Gaming Corporation reported (12 months ending March 2014) — a Core Lottery Player is someone who buys lottery tickets once a week or more. Approximately 20 per cent of Ontario adults are Core Lottery Players.
So let's say 20 per cent of residents (65,000 x 20 per cent = 13,000) buy a $10 ticket every week, 10 per cent goes to administration and retail commission — 50 per cent or $58,500 — is paid out (13,000 x 10 = $130,000 minus 10% = $117,000 X 50% = $58,500)
OK, it's not EuroMillions but not bad and, with rollover and overseas players, that will increase some weeks. Not to mention the “non-core players” who may have a flutter once a month.
So what's in it for the Government? The other 50 per cent ($58,000 per week) goes on to the revenue side of our scales.
That's just over $3 million per year, a drop in the ocean of debt but a start. As an afterthought, perhaps non-resident players could be tempted to play by having Bermuda-themed prizes such as flights and all-inclusive holidays.
Airlines and local hotels should heavily discount the cost of these prizes because they will receive considerable publicity.