“Bermuda’s Casino Gaming Act is passed” By Royal Gazette’s Owain Johnston-Barnes and Sarah Lagan

Legislation to introduce casino gaming to Bermuda was passed in the House of Assembly in the early hours of Saturday.

The debate drew mixed reviews but was finally agreed upon with two mirno amendments at 1:45am after about ten hours of discussion.

(IMAGE VIA - bernews.com) The Casino Gaming Act 2014 tabled by Tourism Minister Shawn Crockwell drew cautious support from some Opposition Progressive Labour Party members, along with a number of attacks on the One Bermuda Alliance's record - particularly the party's abandonment of a promised referendum.

(IMAGE VIA bernews.com) The Casino Gaming Act 2014 tabled by Tourism Minister Shawn Crockwell drew cautious support from some Opposition Progressive Labour Party members, along with a number of attacks on the One Bermuda Alliance’s record – particularly the party’s abandonment of a promised referendum.

Opening the debate, Mr Crockwell told the House he was confident casino gaming was right for Bermuda and that most Bermudians supported the legalisation of gaming in Bermuda, although he acknowledged that the subject remained a sensitive and emotive issue for some.

“The Bill we seek to pass represents a significant and critical adjustment to our tourism product and Bermuda as a destination,” Mr Crockwell said, noting the general decline of the tourism industry since the 1980s. “In the past 30 years, Bermuda has moved from a tourism industry leader to an industry outsider.”

The Minister said that while casino gaming would not be a panacea for Bermuda tourism, it would serve as a catalyst for job creation and investment in the industry.

He also told the House that there had been “extensive” public consultation, noting that three public forums were held and a recording of one of these, held in St George’s, was broadcast “continuously” on television.

Mr Crockwell added that the legislation would be “substantially augmented” in the future by regulations.

Later in the evening, he hinted that only guests staying at a casino hotel would be permitted to use the casino's facilities

Later in the evening, he hinted that only guests staying at a casino hotel would be permitted to use the casino’s facilities

During his answers in the House, the Minister said that more details about the issue would materialise in the regulations.

The legislation specifies that no more than three casinos can be in operation at a single time, but that the Minister can, after consultation with the Casino Gaming Commission, select more than three sites as being suitable for a casino. (REST OF ROYAL GAZETTE‘S LANDMARK ITEM CAN BE READ here)

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