Richards: Gaming’s attraction to investors is unproven
The jury's out on whether legalising gaming will make it easier to attract foreign investment to the Island, Finance Minister Bob Richards said.
While developers for high-profile projects such as Morgan's Point and the waterfront redevelopment believe that gaming would expand Bermuda's investment market, the Minister is looking for evidence.
“Its almost a meaningless statement. I don't disagree with it, but unless we can see how it's going to do that, unless we can look at some solid projects and economic models, we really don't know,” Mr Richards said.
“We really have to do our homework on this other than make some shallow statement like that.
“It's easy to say and it sounds plausible but to turn that into something real, you need to do some homework.”
Mr Richards sits on the cabinet level gaming committee, headed by Tourism Minister Shawn Crockwell.
He said work was ongoing, but nothing concrete had yet been achieved and Government is yet to determine its position on gaming.
“We understand that the Bermuda public is very interested in this and wants to know the timelines, etc, and this will be revealed in due course.”
Mr Crockwell has promised a referendum by the end of the year, but Government has yet to pass legislation which would set the stage for a poll on the issue.
The Tourism Minister has already gone on record as supporting gaming for Bermuda.
Morgan's Point developer Craig Christensen has argued that major developments in Bermuda face a disadvantage in the investment market relative to other jurisdictions which have legalised gaming.
But he stressed that it would not be a panacea. “Even with gaming, future developments will require far more vision and creativity to be successful and competitive,” Mr Christensen said last week.