Casino gaming regulations are finally public
A set of rules drawn up to ensure “high ethical standards” in Bermuda's gambling industry have been published.
The Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission said the Casino Gaming Regulations 2018 were designed to guarantee games are fair, honest and played with “security and integrity” as well as “sound operational and financial controls” in casinos.
The regulations also include provisions to make sure systems are in place to protect vulnerable players and that any fees or taxes are logged and paid.
Jamahl Simmons, the economic development and tourism minister, said yesterday: “The Government is pleased to confirm that the first tranche of the regulatory framework for gaming was completed last month.
“The second tranche is expected to be unveiled shortly.
“I would like to extend my thanks and congratulations to the chairman, executive and acting CEO of the BCGC as well as the Attorney-General's Chambers.”
The Royal Gazette reported yesterday that the BCGC has advertised for a new executive director for what is thought to be the third time since the resignation of Richard Schuetz in July last year.
But Leah Scott, the shadow tourism, transport and regulatory affairs minister, claimed the future for gaming in Bermuda was “bleak”.
She highlighted amendments made last year to the Casino Gaming Act 2014, that “effectively neutered the independence of the commission” and made it “subject to the whims and wishes of the minister”.
Ms Scott, also the One Bermuda Alliance deputy leader, added: “While the amendments to the Act do not allow the minister to determine who may be issued a casino licence, nor does it allow him, or future ministers, the ability to interfere with corruption investigations, the amended Act does require the commission to follow ‘general directions' on gaming policy put forward by the minister, as well as granting the minister the authority to replace commission members as and when the minister considers appropriate.”
She said: “What is clear is that we now have a non-independent commission and no viable candidate coming forth to take up the post of executive director with the commission.
“The Government promised jobs and training opportunities would arise from the establishment of casino gaming.
But Ms Scott added: “At the moment, the outlook for gaming, and its corresponding employment and training opportunities for Bermudians, appears to be very bleak.”
The BCGC's website said the regulations were available for inspection at its office on Hamilton's Church Street and can also be found online.
Although notice of the regulations was gazetted, with a notice that they could be inspected, the Government did not appear to have made a public announcement until it was contacted by The Royal Gazette yesterday.
Michael Dunkley, a former premier now an OBA backbencher, called on Mr Simmons in July to provide updates on gaming.
He said then that Mr Simmons had announced more than three months earlier that regulations would be introduced “without further delay”.
Mr Dunkley, added said he intended to examine the regulations.
He said: “In 2017, before the election, there was a great deal of work done on the regulations and I would be surprised if they threw all of that out and started again.
“We were working very hard through the Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission to get those done and I was aware that they had made tremendous progress. Only because of the election did we not table those and move them forward in the House of Assembly.
“I was led to believe that the work done was solid work and a good footprint for them to use, so I'm at a loss to understand why it has taken another 15 months to get the regulations made.”
No one at the BCGC was available for comment yesterday.