It Starts Here In Nassau

The Bahamian Club in the roaring 1920s

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The Royal Commission of Inquiry into Casino Gambling in the Bahamas in 1967 captures the ethos of The Bahamian Club, which was situated on West Bay Street, and the property is just a stone’s throw away …opposite Arawak Cay or the Down Home Fish Fry. The Commission states The Bahamian Club began its operations in the early 1920s. The Bahamian Club was quite exclusive, as it was illegal; and by 1939 the Governor in Council made recognition of the fact that the laws of the  Bahama Islands criminalized any form of gambling. The Bahamian Club only opened its door during the peak three months winter tourist season, when Nassau was home to hundreds of well-heeled snow birds. The Tourism Industry was beginning to find its fertile setting and eventually the Legislative Council would amend the laws to allow for a special Exemption Certificate to allow Casino Gambling. Bahamians were not allowed to gamble in The Bahamian Club and had menial jobs on the outside of the property. Foreigners were flown in to serve guests on the Casino tables and its other environs. By 1966 the Wallace Groves business empire in Freeport Grand Bahama was looking at ownership of the Bahamian Club and its casino exemption license. That license would eventually be the foundation of the Casino operations at Resorts International on Paradise Island. A wonderful history of Olde Nassau and the excitement of the roaring 20s. The first kid on the casino gambling block was The Cat Cay Club where Louis Wassey the developer hosted hundreds of tourists who could play in the Casino, which until the advent of the Exemption Certificate in 1939, was quite illegal.



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