? Bermudan Parliament Passes New Gambling Regulations, But Does It Mean a Casino?

After years of relative silence on the topic of casinos in Bermuda, the subject has been a frequent talking point in recent months. The government is now making gambling a priority, and lawmakers are keen to push it forward. Unfortunately, if certain politicians have their way, the British Overseas Territory (BOT) is still no closer to seeing any casinos.

Last week, the Senate in Bermuda’s Parliament in Hamilton approved a bill that further defines the role of the finance minister in gambling. This has been a source of controversy, with some legislators and even the former head of the Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission (BCGC) calling for the ministry to stay out of gaming regulations.

Premier David Burt is in support of the bill, which is a response to concerns over government interference in gambling. Burt is also Bermuda’s Minister of Finance and formerly oversaw tourism, but ceded control of this area in an attempt to facilitate the implementation of casino payment channels. However, three years later, there is still little progress.

The new legislation will give the BCGC even more control over the casinos, granting them oversight over gaming requirements and anti-money laundering regulations. During the debate, it became evident that there is a divide among politicians over the direction of the BCGC, with some voicing their opposition to the bill.

Craig Cannonier, Shadow Minister of Public Works and Tourism, raised concerns over the government’s lack of progress on the matter. He pointed out that other Caribbean resorts have already established casinos, while Bermuda remains stagnant.

Meanwhile, Anthony Richardson blamed the delay on the regulator’s independence. He argued that the only games being played were in the Senate itself.

Burt has admitted that the integrated resort model for casinos may not have been the best approach, and the new legislation opens the door to smaller-scale “amenity-style” casinos. However, the government has yet to address how licenses would be handled, which may be a moot point considering the current battle between politicians.

Opposition MP Scott Pearman has gone as far as to suggest that the opposition may back the initiative, but only if Burt relinquishes his role as Finance Minister. Ultimately, it appears that the main obstacle to the establishment of casinos in Bermuda is political infighting and an inability to find common ground.