Casinos in Bermuda
Update December 2013: A legislation has been passed in the island that lets the cruise ships docked in Bermuda to keep the on-board casinos open for the cruise ship passengers from 9pm until 5am. The timing restriction ensures that there is no business conflict with the bars, pubs, night clubs and restaurants in the island as most cruise passengers anyway return to their cruise ship by that time. This move has been made to boost the number of cruises calling Bermuda.
Update May, 2010: Casinos in Bermuda won't probably see light of the day in near future, although the debate has been on since a long time whether to allow casinos and gaming in the island. The Premier of Bermuda Dr. Brown had introduced the Green Paper recommending casinos to boost tourism in the island.
However, he seems to have backed out from introducing a legislation through a white paper. This has happened after majority of his Government Ministers of Parliament (MPs) opposed it. During the lengthy debate, 24 MPs spoke out against the Green Paper, including Deputy Premier Paula Cox and six members of Cabinet.
Only five MPs including two members of the Bermuda Democratic Alliance supported the move to introduce gaming and casinos in Bermuda. Paula Cox suggested other local entertainment instead. Many of the MPs even questioned why such a discussion was taking place when Bermuda was in the middle of escalating gang violence. They felt the House had more pressing matters to discuss instead of gaming.
At the end of the lengthy debate the Premier said: "Some of the speakers voiced their lack of support for gaming in Bermuda right now, which leads me to believe that at some point in the future, the idea of gaming might again come up in the House. I would encourage that".
This was the second time when an effort for gaming expansion in the island has been shut down. Last year, the Premier of Bermuda tried passing a legislation to allow cruise ships to open the casinos while docked in port. It too failed due to lack of support from the Government MPs.
Dr. Brown had taken the lead again to introduce the Green Paper this time proposing the advantages of gaming in Bermuda. He said it was part of a series of changes the Island needed to make to revitalize the tourism industry.
Prior to the debate, many hoteliers also agreed that a casino in the Island would be a big boost and help entice travelers to Bermuda.
However, even the church group that has a major influence, had taken a negative stance on the matter. They maintained that it would lead to corruption and a degradation of social values.
The Roman Catholic church recently issued a statement on gaming in Bermuda.
"The establishment of a casino in Bermuda can be good or bad depending upon the use that people make of the casino," said church leaders. "In and of itself, a casino is not intrinsically evil. The decision to establish a casino in Bermuda depends upon the prudent judgement of the Bermuda Government, including adequate provisions for regulating the casino for the benefit of the common good.
"The predicted benefits to Bermuda tourism and job creation will have to be measured against the legitimate fears that have been raised regarding the mental health problems, potential excessive debt and the family and social problems associated with gambling addictions as well as the criminal elements that are often associated with casinos and gambling."
So net to net, there will be no casinos in Bermuda in the near future.
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