Tourism Board members to be polled on gambling views

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Tourism Board Chairman Maxwell Burgess will ask fellow board members for their “specific views” on legalised gambling in Bermuda to produce a “comprehensive statement” on the controversial subject.

That statement will be produced by the board’s Gaming Sub-Committee, “to further enumerate the positive advantages” of gaming for the island’s ailing tourism industry.

Deputy Chairman John Jefferis has been asked to poll “qualified hotel developers” to gauge their interest in “investing in hotel developments in Bermuda as a result of the introduction of gaming to the island”.

In a statement released yesterday, Mr Burgess said: “The Tourism Board continues to support the matter of legalised gambling in Bermuda.”

And he has asked for the additional research to be carried out “as expeditiously as possible”.

“There is no doubt that a major advantage of gaming is that it is a non-weather related activity and could have a positive effect on winter business,” he added.

Last Friday Premier Paula Cox tabled legislation to facilitate the referendum process to poll residents on the subject of gaming.

On Wednesday this newspaper reported Seventh-day Adventist Church members will be taking a ‘vote of conscience’ when Bermuda goes to a referendum on gambling.

Although the church has historically condemned gaming, Bermuda Conference President Jeffrey Brown said “members will be encouraged to make their own minds up before the historic vote on the subject”.

According to the latest Mindmaps poll on gambling for The Royal Gazette, last December 60 percent of residents thought gambling should be legalised, with 30 percent against and the rest unsure.

The only age group collectively against gaming was senior citizens over the age of 65.

No time frame has been set as of yet, Ms Cox told members of the House of Assembly last week the referendum on gambling would take place “in due course”.

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Published May 25, 2012 at 8:42 am (Updated May 25, 2012 at 8:41 am)

Tourism Board members to be polled on gambling views

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