Casino gambling expected to be reality inside six months
Bermuda’s first casino could be open for business in the summer, the gambling watchdog signalled.
Jean Major, the chief executive of the Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission (BCGC), said the operation was “progressing well”.
Mr Major added: “June is entirely possible, but I don’t want to put a definite time line on it.
“I don’t see at this stage any substantial obstacles.
“The situation is progressing well. We have received some documents that we requested some time ago, but we haven’t got all of them yet.
“It’s a Herculean task as there need to be some 600 to 700 pages relating to things like controls of the security and integrity of the games.”
Mr Major was speaking after David Burt, the Premier, predicted three times last year that the casino planned for the St Regis Hotel in St George’s would open by the end of 2021.
Mr Major said before any casino could open for business it had to be granted a licence as a suitable operator and an approval to open which certified that it complied with the law.
The BCGC is examining the operator’s anti-money laundering procedures as well as other aspects of the business.
Mr Major said that people familiar with the process of opening a casino would not regard the expected delay as excessive.
The Opposition One Bermuda Alliance has raised concerns about the delay in casino gambling and accused the Government of creating a smokescreen around the project.
Cole Simons, the Opposition leader, also accused Mr Burt of a possible conflict of interest because he is also the tourism minister and responsible for the Bermuda Gaming Commission.
Mr Burt made predictions in January, May and September last year that the casino would be up and running.
He told MPs in the autumn: “It’s my hope, dream and expectation that we will have a casino opening before the end of the year.”
The Premier was speaking as MPs approved legal changes made after talks among the commission, the Government and banks about how to process gambling revenues.
Mr Burt said at the time success was “dependent on the willingness and support of correspondent banks to allow for the movement of funds in and out of Bermuda”.
He added: “It has been proposed by one local banking institution that in order to gain support of a correspondent bank a change of the law as proposed could assist.”
Jump-starting the casino industry was a major plank of the PLP’s 2020 election platform.
The Hamilton Princess Hotel is also involved in the three stage process to open a casino.