Bermuda green lights casinos

| 15/12/2014 | 1 Comment

(CNS Business): Amid debate and controversy, Bermuda has passed legislation to allow casino gaming on the island. After a 10-hour debate in the House of Assembly the Casino Gaming Act 2014, tabled by Tourism Minister Shawn Crockwell, was passed in the early hours of Saturday morning. This follows the Cruise Ship (Casino) Act 2013, passed in October last year, which allowed cruise ships to keep their casinos open while overnighting in port on the island.

According to the Royal Gazette, Crockwell told the House during the debate on the new law he was confident casino gaming was right for Bermuda and that most Bermudians supported the legalisation, although he acknowledged that the subject remained a sensitive and emotive issue for some.

“The Bill we seek to pass represents a significant and critical adjustment to our tourism product and Bermuda as a destination,” Crockwell said, noting the general decline of the tourism industry since the 1980s. “In the past 30 years, Bermuda has moved from a tourism industry leader to an industry outsider.”

The minister hinted that only guests staying at a casino hotel would be permitted to use the casino’s facilities but said more details about the issue would materialise in the regulations, the local media reported.

The legislation specifies that no more than three casinos can be in operation at a single time, but that the minister can, after consultation with the Casino Gaming Commission, select more than three sites as being suitable for a casino.

Shadow Tourism Minister Zane DeSilva said he supported the legislation, but attacked the ruling One Bermuda Alliance party for reversing their decision to hold a referendum on the topic.

“Not only did they break their promise, but they also tried to mislead, and succeeded in misleading the people of Bermuda by stating that they cancelled the referendum because they heard that the PLP were going to undermine it,” he said.

Shadow Minister of Economic Development, Wayne Furbert said it was the “saddest days of my career in politics” and that casinos could attract the likes of pole dancers and prostitution, as has happened elsewhere. He also suggested that casinos in Bermuda could enhance the gang violence already present.

“Why can’t we structure our island around something that is more wholesome?” he asked.

In February, Opposition Leader Marc Bean claimed in the House that Premier Craig Cannonier revealed to him that a developer was willing to pay him “upfront for a casino licence,” while the Premier said the Opposition Leader was telling “bold faced lies.”

In the lead up to the 2012 General Election, the One Bermuda Alliance had pledged to hold a referendum on gambling, however in December 2013 the Premier announced they would bypass the referendum.

All gambling remains illegal in the Cayman Islands.

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Category: Stay-over tourism, Tourism

Comments (1)

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  1. Jim says:

    Well, if Bermuda want to introduce even more corruption into their society, that is their business. I do not see that it is anything to do with us. What is this article trying to say? Bermuda has implemented casino gambling, so the Cayman Islands won’t be far behind? Is this what you are implying?

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