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Julian Willock explains National Lottery System as revenue stream

Former Permanent Secretary, businessman and political aspirant Mr Julian Willock has urged the National Democratic Party (NDP) government to be serious about the weighty issue of new revenue streams. Photo: VINO
Mr Julian Willock appearing on the 3D Radio talk show with host Doug Wheatley (in photo) on Radio Station ZBVI 780 AM on Friday February 9, 2018. Photo: VINO/File
Mr Julian Willock appearing on the 3D Radio talk show with host Doug Wheatley (in photo) on Radio Station ZBVI 780 AM on Friday February 9, 2018. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- Former Permanent Secretary, businessman and political aspirant Mr Julian Willock has expanded on one of four revenue initiatives he first brought to the public’s attention last month.

It was on Friday February 9, 2018 appearing on the 3D radio talk show with host Doug Wheatley on Radio Station ZBVI 780 AM that Mr Willock explained his idea of having a National Lottery System.

Mr Willock first brought four revenue ideas to the forefront when he said he was disappointed that the Government recovery plan “lacks bold new revenue initiatives.”

The National Democratic Party (NDP) recovery plan only calls for tax and fees to help in raising revenue; however, Mr Willock argues that with 30% of the population gone, and another 30% of businesses not up and running mostly because of looting following the two Category 5 hurricanes of September 2017 and “we cannot rely on just taxes and fees to pay for a billion dollars in loans.”

Revenue! Think outside the box, a billion in loans

The young Virgin Islander warned the Dr Smith Administration that within the next year or two we would have loans for our post hurricanes recovery totaling one billion dollars. He told the radio host that the “people must remember before the two hurricanes that devastated the Territory we had some 7 to 10 loans already on our books, and if we do not have money to pay them back, we would default on those loans and it means that the UK, who is the guarantor of these loans, will have to resort to some options we may not like.”

Mr Willock said on the radio show that a National Lottery System is nothing new to developing countries, big cities and small island states. In fact, Mr Willock told the public that even the United Kingdom “our so call mother country has a national lottery system.”

How it works; legislation needed

How it works for example in the UK is that about 50% of the funds received from the system goes to the prize winners, 30% goes back to government for causes such as education, infrastructure and heath care, while the rest goes to cost, profits and national participating agencies.

The former Assistant Secretary in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour said “one of the first things we will need to do is get the legislation in place to make it possible.”

The former Director of the Water and Sewerage Department told the host and the public that while we are “drafting the legislation we can also cover pari-mutuel wagering at Ellis Thomas Downs, as we need money also to help with the funding of the Downs which could cost up to 5 to 6 Million, as the entire grandstands are to be replaced, all stables both regular and quarantine need to be rebuild, as well as the racetrack surface to be upgraded.”

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A national lottery system and hotel branding are some of the possible revenue streams for the Virgin Islands, according to Mr Julian Willock. Photo: Internet Source

Other suggestions for revenue

Mr Willock urged the government to be serious about the weighty issue of new revenue streams “as the time has come to think outside of the box, as we have a golden opportunity to make our post hurricanes rebuilding and recovery sustainable and not leaving the next generation in debt, which will affect their quality of life.”

The Virgin Islander businessman, who continues to bring issues and solutions to the table, also reminded the public that the Virgin Islands (VI) national debt “is approximately $200 Million…”

Mr Willock has also proposed a Citizen by Investment Programme, small manufacturing, along with hotel branding, to help diversify the VI’s tourism sector.

23 Responses to “Julian Willock explains National Lottery System as revenue stream”

  • voter (13/02/2018, 10:32) Like (5) Dislike (18) Reply
    Hands up for Willock
  • youths for willock (13/02/2018, 10:35) Like (12) Dislike (17) Reply
    Willock got it lock
  • How does this work? (13/02/2018, 10:39) Like (7) Dislike (1) Reply
    Say the BVIs has a population of 30,000. Say 35% play the lottery. That's about 10,000 players. Assume that 20% buy 5 tickets and the rest only one, so you'd sell 18,000 tickets. Going with a weekly draw, that generates $18,000 for a $ 1 ticket. Now if 30% goes to the govt, that amounts to $ 5,400 a week or about $ 280K a year. That seems like a lot, but not really very much is you're servicing a debt that is 1,000 times larger. The other part, is that 50% of the earnings towards prize money, so the prize pot is $9,000 per week (if someone wins every week). Even if nobody won for a whole year, the pot would be $ 750K. For sure a tidy sum but no where near the power ball jackpots of winning millions. That said, odds of winning in a smaller lottery may be larger Which would you buy? A ticket that gives you an outside chance for riches (such as Power Ball), or a ticket that gives you slightly better chance of winning a tidy sum. Lottery seems like a creative idea but the economy of scale in the Territory is url;ikely to make it a meaningful source of govt revenue. Might be easier (but maybe not so popular) to raise taxes by $10 per capita per year to gain same revenue.
    • cay (13/02/2018, 11:49) Like (4) Dislike (11) Reply
      Let the debate begins
    • Plank (13/02/2018, 11:54) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
      Would it be open for sale in jurisdictions outside the BVI such as is the present case with PR lottery and powerball? I’ve even seen scratch cards being sold within certain establishments- is that even legal? What say you Julian....?
    • Josiahsbay (14/02/2018, 13:59) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Any alternative revenue source other than taxes no matter how large or small is a help. You described only one revenue stream when Mr Willock mentioned others also. I recalled having heard medical marijuana, parimutal betting and perhaps even casino gambling. Some of these endeavors can extend beyond the borders of the BVI witch may increase the revenue return significantly.
  • one eye (13/02/2018, 11:49) Like (9) Dislike (8) Reply
    I like his ideas but the citizen by investment programs is a no no
  • Diplomat (13/02/2018, 12:05) Like (10) Dislike (12) Reply
    Willock’s thoughtful and in-depth process of identifying additional revenue streams is refreshing. Too often, politicians are adroit at identifying problems but rarely solutions and revenue streams. For revenue, they are fascinated with increasing fees and taxes on residents. True, the VI is a small economy with limited revenue streams; it also has limited means of diversifying its economy. Nonetheless, it must optimized opportunities to diversity the economy; it must improve, expand and link tourism with other sectors. In regards to a national lottery as a source of revenue, I’m not sold as yet. The VI has a small population of approximately 30,000; minors reduce that number. As such, the revenues stream from a VI lottery will be minimal. The USVI has a national lottery and a larger population and its revenue stream from it is minimal. The USVI has some serious financial challenges, ie, its retirement system.
  • either way (13/02/2018, 12:19) Like (10) Dislike (1) Reply
    the revenue always end up in the wrong hands of mismanagement theft and corruption.
  • Ya me born (13/02/2018, 12:21) Like (3) Dislike (3) Reply
    VI too small for any kind of returns from a lottery make any impact on the island's finances..when you factor in staff and management plus other fees it won't amount to much in the government coffers. Light manufacturing of what?Is it gonna be for local consumption?Manufacturing anything here would be an uphill climb with hardly any profits margins..invest in EDUCATION first and foremost..citizenship by investment my be the only glimmer of hope if the UK approves..that just the reality people
  • Liat 521 (13/02/2018, 12:22) Like (9) Dislike (25) Reply
    any body coming with solutions got my attention and even my vote. I sick of hearing the rain is falling and no one telling me where to go for shelter.

    This young man deserves to be in the next House of Assembly
    • Reader (14/02/2018, 10:21) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      I agree...let's continue to pool our ideas then agree on a few workable and beneficial revenue generating schemes.
  • long look me come form (13/02/2018, 13:07) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    • Ummm (15/02/2018, 17:47) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      The truck itself is minor repair. . I don't see why they can't do like back in the days and take chairs / sit in cars and enjoy the races .. that was the best anyway
  • 911 (13/02/2018, 14:23) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    Wait until vip wins before ndp tek the extra money
  • Dreamer (13/02/2018, 15:00) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
  • Albion (13/02/2018, 15:41) Like (4) Dislike (15) Reply
    I am not too sure about those particular ideas. But I do like the willingness to seek out new solutions and think outside of the box.
  • vip (13/02/2018, 17:40) Like (8) Dislike (13) Reply
    He has my vote
  • east man (14/02/2018, 04:18) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    Julian willock we have not seen you in zone 8
  • dude (14/02/2018, 14:48) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    lottery tax pays for schools n roads there is no down side to this really. And changing the legislation will even allow the cruise ships to stay longer as they can open casinos etc. We can get in on the billion dollar sports betting industry that has las vegas booming every yr. We can keep a major % of the $ we lose playing the other lotteries. It will also take care of our horse track and gov expenses.
  • Gordaguy2 (15/02/2018, 11:08) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Lotteries are like drugs - some get addicted and can't stop playing - it is a tax on the poor
    • @ gordaguy2 (18/02/2018, 15:57) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      We need to think creatively and outside of the box in order to improve funding for local government and loan repayments

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