The Bermuda House of Assembly last month passed a controversial measure to allow casino gaming on the island territory of the U.K. The Senate followed the Assembly action a few days later. The law authorizes three casinos, all of them within hotels. Governor George Fergusson is expected to sign it.
During the 10-hour debate on the measure, Tourism Minister Shawn Crockwell told fellow legislators that most people in the territory support allowing casinos and said that the measure would be good for Bermuda.
The measure was passed partly to help boost tourism in the islands, which has declined in the last 30 years. “The bill we seek to pass represents a significant and critical adjustment to our tourism product and Bermuda as a destination,” said Crockwell. He predicted that it would create jobs and encourages investment in the island’s economy. The measure authorizes three casinos on sites that will be determined by the Casino Gaming Commission.
There is some talk that when details of the measure are released only tourists staying at the casino hotels would be allowed to gamble. Crockwell said the measure would be “substantially” augmented by regulations. The legislation does not appear to allow for stand-alone casinos.
Some members of the opposition party in the Assembly support the legislation, but argue that the people of Bermuda should be allowed to vote on it. During the 2012 election, the ruling party had promised to hold a referendum on the issue, but recently stated that the public was sufficiently involved in “extensive consultation” in drafting the legislation, and noted that $500,000 would be saved by not holding an election.