Dunch proven to be a soothsayer over casino gaming
In today’s edition of The Royal Gazette (February 23, 2023), an article refers to the ongoing saga that has become synonymous with this government’s ability — inability would be a more appropriate expression — to introduce casino gaming to the island.
In 2017, Alan Dunch, the outgoing chairman of the Bermuda Gaming Commission, stated in response to The Casino Gaming Amendment Act 2017 that the changes “completely undermined” the organisation as a “wholly autonomous, independent regulatory body which would operate free from political interference and government dictate”.
He further stated that the obligation for the commission to follow general directions from ministers was a “potentially sad and seriously backward misstep in the ongoing efforts of Bermuda to introduce a gaming regime that will be recognised and perceived both locally and in the international gaming community as one that has integrity, independence and an unfettered ability to minimise, if not eliminate entirely, in fact and in appearance the possibility of corruption”. And finally that “the result may well be to impede Bermuda’s ability to attract first-class people of the utmost integrity to both operate and regulate the gaming industry here”.
Fast forward to 2023, and David Burt’s solution is to introduce legislative changes that would enshrine in law that the Minister of Finance will become responsible for the gaming sector.
How prescient Mr Dunch’s words have become. Is it any wonder, therefore, that today there is still not one casino in Bermuda, nor is there ever likely to be given the present environment. On the basis that the Premier cited the casino industry as one of the four key drivers of economic growth, six years later he and his government receive a huge “F” grade for progress on this initiative.
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