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Charlotte Amalie
Wednesday, May 29, 2024


Feb. 1, 2002 – Six months after a proposal to introduce video lottery operations into the territory seemed to have died a natural death, it was brought back to life Thursday in a full Senate session where it was hastily approved and sent off to Gov. Charles W. Turnbull, who has twice vetoed the idea.
Turnbull stated last August in announcing his second veto: "I have again determined that video lottery is not in the best economic and social interest of the territory at this time."
The third time around, the proposal has a new twist — it's only for St. Thomas and St. John. Sen. Celestino A. White suddenly brought an amendment to that effect to the floor Thursday, where it quickly was approved by nine of his colleagues.
The amendment passed on at 9-1 vote with Sens. Adelbert Bryan, Douglas Canton and Adlah "Foncie" Donastorg absent. Sens. Lorraine Berry and Emmett Hansen II abstained. Sens. Donald "Ducks" Cole, Roosevelt David, Carlton Dowe, Norman Jn Baptiste, David Jones, Norma Pickard-Samuel and White voted yes. Sen. Vargrave Richards cast the nay vote.
The very idea of video lotteries earned the wrath of the St. Croix gaming community last summer, one opponent referring to it as the "crack cocaine of gambling." The territory's sole operating gaming operation, Divi Carina Bay Casino, threatened to halt its expansion plans if video lotteries were approved, and two other proposed casino resorts threatened to pull out of the territory. Opponents battered Government House with pleas and demands for Turnbull to veto the measure.
Southland Gaming of the V.I. was contracted three years ago by the V.I. Lottery Commission to set up and operate video lottery terminals in the territory if and when they are made legal. If the governor were to approve introduction of video lotteries, the company would have sole control over the gambling machines.

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