Bermuda Premier Ewart Brown recently told the BBC that if reinsurance companies based on the island nation are barred from doing business in the U.S., then other ways of raising money would have to be considered, including the creation of a gaming industry or even the introduction of an income tax.
The pro-gaming element suffered a defeat just three months ago, when a bill was defeated that would have allowed cruise ships to operate their casinos while in port. However, the cabinet is still studying an independent report from the Innovation Group on the potential impact of land-based gaming. The $300,000 report was initiated at the request of local hotel owners a year ago.
Brown’s comments to the BBC, though primarily in defense of the local reinsurance industry, instantly stirred up Bermuda’s anti-gaming forces.
According to the Royal Gazette, Shadow Finance Minister Bob Richards criticized Brown for trying to “scare Bermudians into accepting casino gambling.”
Richards, talking to the Gazette about Brown’s BBC interview, said that the premier’s “pro-gambling views are well-known,” but emphasized that establishing a gaming industry is not a magic solution.
“Gambling will not, on its own, solve the crisis in the hotel sector. Neither will it, on its own, liberate the hundreds of millions of dollars of investment funds that are required to redevelop our accommodation offerings for our visitors. Casino destinations have not been immune to this recession.”