The Government may hold the referendum on gaming this year, Minister of Business Development & Tourism Wayne Furbert said during an interview with Elite Traveler.
When asked about gaming, Minister Furbert said: “Casinos won’t be the be-all and end-all. Bermuda is an upscale destination so it will be an additional product in the style of Monte Carlo. There will be a government referendum, and it may happen this year.”
“We are looking at other destinations. For example, in Singapore if you have a friend or family member you believe is gambling more money than they should, you can report it and there is a national body that will interview them. We think the key is to have checks and balances.”
Earlier this year, Premier Paula Cox tabled the Referendum Act 2012 in the House of Assembly, saying it would be followed by a referendum on gaming in Bermuda in due course.
According to a Government-commissioned study done by the New Orlean’s based Innovation Group [PDF], gaming would add nearly 3,000 jobs and up to $146 million a year to Bermuda’s economy.
Most of the island’s religious community is in strong opposition to gaming, with dozens of religious groups forming a group ‘United to Change’ to work to oppose any change to the law.
A new organization — the “Bermuda Hospitality Gaming Training Centre” — hopes to open a Training Centre to teach Bermudians the needed skills, saying that if legislation is passed Bermuda could experience an influx of foreigners being brought in to staff the casinos if we do not prepare in advance.
OBA Shadow Minister for Tourism Pat Gordon-Pamplin previously said: “The OBA has already said that the issue of gaming should be put to a referendum preceded by a comprehensive education campaign. This would highlight the pros and cons of the proposal and enable the public to render the most informed decision.”
In 2010 the topic was debated in the House of Assembly right now, with the vast majority of MPs against gaming.
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