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May 2016    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 31, No. 5   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Win a Tropical Dive Resort? Or Not.

from the May, 2016 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Doug and Sally Beitz ran the Kosrae Nautilus Resort for 21 years, adjacent (they say) to some of the finest reefs in the world. But now it's time for them to return to Australia and pass their dive resort on to someone else. They've come up with a novel way to raise the money they think their property is worth, yet keep the price within reach of anybody with a few dollars to spare. But, is this really a sales deal, or something else entirely? You judge.

Employing a form of crowd funding and social media, they are offering tickets in a raffle to win an 80 percent share of the resort. The remaining part is retained by the local land owner. Ticket prices range from $49 to $349, according to how many chances a prospective winner might buy. We asked them why they chose such a unique route, and they replied, "We like to do things a bit differently . . . .If we end up not selling enough raffle tickets, then we will go down the traditional sale road."

So, if on July 26 when the draw is made you find that you have won this dive resort with your $49 ticket, we hasten to point out that you must have a bundle of cash on hand to capitalize the running costs. You'll need to ensure that you are well advertised to attract future customers, that you understand local culture, and you get along with the staff, and on and on ... so it's not for the faint-hearted. In fact, if you wonder what you might be getting in to, dredge up a copy of that 60s book by Herman Wouk, Don't Stop the Carnival,for a primer on potential problems. And, if that doesn't scare you off, then here's where to buy into the lottery. www.wintheislandestates.com

But, here's what scares us off. From the website, "If less than 50,000 tickets are sold, the advertised prize is not available. In this case, the prize winner is given 50 percent of the total amount of tickets sold. For example, if 25,000 tickets were bought for $49.00, the total amount equals $1,225,000.00. In result, the winner receives 50 percent of $1,225,000.00 which equals $612,500."

It's hard to imagine 50,000 tickets being sold online for this, so if you decide to buy a ticket, then basically what you are doing is entering a Micronesia Lottery, with half the money gambled on lottery tickets going to you and the other half presumably going to those who staged the lottery. Might as well invest in a Triton mini rebreather.

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