Some residents will be denied access to casinos
Some Bermudians will be barred from entering casinos in a bid to limit “potential social risks” to the Island, Government has confirmed.
Minors and anyone receiving financial assistance will be banned, while gambling addicts could be blacklisted if concerned relatives notify the authorities.
And an independent gaming commission is also expected to impose an entrance fee for all residents and ATM machines will not be allowed on betting premises in a bid to curb gamblers from emptying their bank accounts.
The moves were confirmed by Government last night following a poll for The Royal Gazette which showed overwhelming support for a casino to be incorporated into a planned new hotel in St George's.
But while 76 percent of 408 respondents backed the plan, many supporters expressed reservations about allowing residents to gamble.
Of the 310 people who approved a casino for the east end, almost half — 48 percent — said the facility should be open only to tourists.
That poll, conducted by Global Research, mirrors a similar survey conducted by Government last November, which suggested that 74 percent of residents support hotel casinos on the Island.
Last night Tourism Minister Shawn Crockwell said he welcomed the latest Royal Gazette poll result.
And he said that, while there were no plans for a blanket ban on all residents from entering casinos, regulations will be drawn up to restrict some locals from gambling.
“I am encouraged by this poll result which shows that 76 percent of residents support the introduction of casino gaming,” Mr Crockwell said.
“This is very similar to a poll the Government conducted in 2013 which showed that 74 percent of residents support resort casino gaming.
“The Government has also been very clear that local residents will be allowed to participate in any casino — as long as they meet the criteria that will be established by the regulations.”
The OBA Government pledged to hold a referendum on gaming prior to the December 2012 general election.
But it dropped that plan a year later, claiming that the Opposition Progressive Labour Party had threatened to undermine the process.
Instead, Government has pushed ahead with plans to set up an independent gaming commission which is expected to grant licences for casinos in three hotels.
Asked yesterday when legislation legalising hotel casinos will be tabled in the House of Assembly later this year, Mr Crockwell would only say that an update on the legislation was “imminent”.