ermuda’s first casino could still open its doors this year, as Hotelco, the developer behind the St Regis hotel in St George, had submitted a formal application for a full casino licence this summer to the Bermuda Gaming Commission.
Bermuda’s Premier, David Burt, delivered the news to the House of Assembly on Friday, according to The Royal Gazette. “I can advise that the commission held a meeting on August 24, at which the application for a casino licence was considered,” said Burt.
According to the Premier, the applicant was invited and did make submissions to the commission in support of the application. The next steps are now being considered and Burt remains confident that there will be “a casino in Bermuda this year.”
Despite his support for the project, Burt said he could not confirm any date or make promises yet as the final decision relies upon the commission. Despite this, he remained confident in the casino launching.
“It’s my hope, dream and expectation that we will have a casino opening before the end of the year,” stated Burt, as he opened debate on the Gaming Amendment Act 2021. Approved by MPs, this legislation is set to prohibit members of the legislature from sitting on the commission.
Moreover, the amendment also aims at reducing conflict of interests between the Government and the Bermuda Gaming Commission, confirming “beyond doubt” what pre-amendment legislation implied: MPs are banned from serving on the commission.
The decision was reached after ongoing talks among the commission and the Government with island banks on the processing of gaming transactions. One influential local banking institution pushed for a change in the law in order to secure allowance for the movement of funds in and out of Bermuda.
The updated legislation also states that members of the gaming commission can be removed if found “unable or unfit” for the job.
While Opposition Leader Cole Simons found the progress made commendable, as well as the advanced talks with banks, Burt was questioned on the potential implementation of cashless gaming. On the subject, Burt said that it’s up to operators, banks and regulators to assess if casinos would adopt cashless technologies.