Gaming legislation could be approved by end of year Crockwell
Much-anticipated legislation to bring casino gaming to Bermuda has missed its chance to go before Parliament — but will be tabled before the year’s end, according to Tourism Minister Shawn Crockwell.
The Bill will be presented along with associated regulations to introduce limited gaming, overseen by a Casino Gaming Commission and a Responsible Gaming Council.
The Minister told MPs he made “no apologies” for the gaming bill still being under draft — pointing out that Singapore’s legislation, on which Bermuda’s model is based, took two years to create.
“There is probably no other business that has so many aspects of its operations so heavily regulated,” Mr Crockwell said.
“It is vital to Bermuda’s reputation that we get our gaming statutory structure right, and this government is committed to doing so.”
A cross-Ministry Gaming Legislative Drafting Committee has been established, and Government has contracted US consultants Spectrum Gaming Group to assist.
Mr Crockwell said Government’s abrupt and controversial decision last December not to hold a referendum on gaming had been “difficult” but right for the Island, as recent polls show that 76 percent of residents support the introduction of casino gaming.
The Southampton West Central MP added that the enabling legislation for gaming would be “the most important component in ensuring we have the best regime and administrative structure to effectively oversee the domestic casino gaming industry”.
Its implementation would stand as “a major statement and a jurisdictional decision that will be closely observed by our competitors and potential investors in the tourism industry”.
Casinos licences would be revocable, Mr Crockwell said, and policy priorities would include the thwarting of “corrupt influences”, along with preventing “problem gambling”, underage gaming and money laundering.
Although the Island is a comparative latecomer to the industry, he said Bermuda would be able to learn from the mistakes of other jurisdictions by implementing gaming at this stage.
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