Bill Tabled To Allow Cruise Ship Gambling In Port

September 21, 2013

[Updated] A bill that would allow cruise ship passengers to gamble at the casinos on board the ship while it is docked in Bermuda was tabled on Friday [Sept 20] in the House of Assembly.

The bill said that a licence will only be granted to a cruise ship that is scheduled to remain at port in Bermuda overnight for a minimum period of 12 hours. The legislation would allow casinos to be open from 9pm and 5am while in port, and would only allow passengers to gamble.

The proposed fee structure ranges from free [for ships with a passenger capacity of under 2,000] up to $180,000 [for ships with over 5,500 passengers].

Under the proposed legislation, a Class D ship with a passenger capacity more than 3,000 but not exceeding 3,500 must pay $105,000 for a season licence if the ship makes fifteen or more voyages to Bermuda in one season; but $7,000 for a licence if it makes 14 or less voyages to Bermuda in one season.

A Class E ship with a passenger capacity more than 3,500 but not exceeding 4,000 must pay $120,000 for a season licence if the ship makes fifteen or more voyages to Bermuda in one season; but $8,000 for a licence if it makes 14 or less voyages to Bermuda in one season.

A Class F ship with a passenger capacity more than 4,000 but not exceeding 4,500 must pay $135,000 for a season licence if the ship makes fifteen or more voyages to Bermuda in one season; but $9,000 for a licence if it makes 14 or less voyages to Bermuda in one season.

Update Sept 23: The full copy of the Act is below [PDF here]:

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  1. Terry Lister: ‘Bill Will Enhance Cruise Experience’ | | October 1, 2013
  1. Mike Hind says:

    Argh! Who is proposing this? Why?

    Can ANYONE give me a reason we should be trying to keep folks ON the ships?

    • Because we have enough damn problems to deal with our own selves on our shores, and gambling and legalizing immorality should be at the darn bottom of our things to do list. put some ideas together that is going to be a money making venture for this country should be key and if you look at casinos in other places they have all taken hard hits in the past 10 years, but some bright jack ass is convinced it will work here, no different then our education, we take out a curriculum that worked to bring in crap that is heavily flawed.

      • Mike Hind says:

        So… because we have other problems to deal with, we should make things harder for ourselves? Huh?
        Your post is full of a rather severe lack of understanding.

        It’s not about casinos bringing money in.
        It’s about them forcing us to improve and upgrade our product.

        The number one problem we have is that we are not worth the prices that we – because of logistics etc. – HAVE to charge.

        We NEED to upgrade. We NEED to be planning on a better product.

        THIS doesn’t help us get there and does, in fact, push us back several steps.

        As for immorality? Whose morals and why do we have to follow them?
        I have no problem with gambling. Why do your rules of morality have more sway?

    • yesman says:

      Whats with the negativity?

      People should have the option to do whatever they like. It’s their damn vacation. Bermuda just needs to provide the best vacation experience possible. Only then will you see numbers start to rise.

      • Mike Hind says:

        The negativity is – as I may have mentioned… oh, yes, there it is – is that this legislation keeps people on the ship.

        You’re right that we need to provide the best vacation experience possible. This stops folks from, you know, experiencing the vacation. It keeps them on the ship. Did you miss that?

        • yesman says:

          It should be their choice which equals a better vacation experience –Did you miss that point?

          You cannot dictate someone’s vacation. That’s the same small minded dumb Bermudian mindset that needs to be erased.

          Stop focusing on legislation, maybe if Bermuda had better tourist attractions, more entertainment and more things to do people would “Want” to get off the boat.

          • Mike Hind says:

            Um… yeah. We can.

            The dumb mindset would be the one that says “Let them do whatever they want, even if it means that we don’t get to make any money off them…”

        • Johnny says:

          I have to agree with you on this one Mike Hind. It makes no sense to keep people on the ship and to have the casino open to 5am will only ensure that some passengers actually sleep away their day in Bermuda(spend no money).

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      Statistically 80 – 90% of passangers are back on board by 9, so the notion that we are robbing our local life of anything is already off. Truth is, after 9, we really don’t have much that interests the average cruiseshipper. Allowing ships to operate their casinos from 9pm to 5am isn’t going to rob us of anything we don’t already get from the clients, but the fees will certainly be a needed addition to the coffers.
      The proposed fee structure seems quite flawed though, i think it would have been a lot more equitable if you simply set a fee based on passenger cabins and nights in port. This current structure has an ackward space amount for ships here for 14 visits and ships here for 15

      • Mike Hind says:

        And here’s the problem.
        This way of thinking shows that we’ve given up.

        Instead of working to create an industry again (as we should have been doing for years), we’re just giving up and letting them keep people on board.

        (I’d like to see where you got your statistics, though…)

        We SHOULD be saying “They’re going back on board by 9. How do we keep them out here?” instead of “Ah, well, they’re going back on board anyway. Might as well let them gamble.”

    • frank says:

      when a ship is in port for 2 or more days with the casino closed they loose money it’s either open the on board casino or the ships will simply bypass Bermuda it’s that simple in most other ports the ships are in port like 8am to 5pm then their gone to the next

      • Mike Hind says:

        Why is it different now? This has never been a problem before.

  2. Vote for Me says:

    The license fee structure seems to limit any money that will be raised from this.

    Also, when you factor in tours, dinner and getting ready for dinner, we may be giving visitors a good reason to get back on the ship as early as possible each night.

  3. Alvin Williams says:

    A day late; a dollar short; one more PLP policy that the anti-Bermudian one term OBA government is rushing to put in place; although some short-sighted PLP politicians went along with the than political opposition in an effort to stymie former premier Ewart Browne attempt to pass the very same bill which would allow cruise ships on board gambling while in port.
    And the result cruise ship after cruise ship cancel their Bermuda port of calls. Yes it should have been a PLP government policy since it’s premier at the time brought it forward. Let’s hope that within the PLP that type of short sighted view point is no longer to be found.

    • CBA says:

      Let’s hope political ‘leaders’ learnt their lesson about using sneaky tactics to try to pass legislation. Dr Brown tried to rush this behind the backs of almost everyone, so it ended up where it belonged…defeated! Now that it’s being handled competently, it will probably pass :)

  4. Nuffin but da Truth says:

    We squeeze enough money out of the Cruise Liners…soon they will tell Bermuda to get stuffed and not come some already have.

  5. Just One says:

    I kind of like the idea to get more money from the cruise lines, but I think 9pm is way too early. Perhaps 11pm or later until 5am… Could still make some passengers too tired to get up and see Bermuda the next day…idk also interestd to know how they came up with these license fees. There’s a big gap between $7,000 and $105,000, but a small difference between 14 voyages and 15 voyages… This proposed fee structure doesn’t scale very good!

  6. Mike Hind says:

    Not a good idea, at all. But I fear that we’ve been put into a position where the cruise ships have the leverage to force this to happen.

    I don’t care which party suggested this. It’s a bad idea.

  7. Terry says:

    They will still come (the cruise ships) regardless.
    Not in the quantity they have been but a dollar a day is better than none.

  8. Alicia says:

    I think this is a great idea. When ships are down in the Caribbean, they leave the port at night to sail to the next destination so their casinos can be open, which isn’t the case when ships come to Bermuda. Most people are on board by 9pm or so, and those who don’t want to see Bermuda nightlife will be on the ship by then already for dinner and the shows that they offer on the ships.

    Although I don’t agree with the scale for the larger ships, I do agree with free for the ships with less than 2000 passengers as hopefully we will attract some smaller ships for st. George’s and Hamilton, where we can also then get dock fees and the money from the passengers in our shops.

    If bermudians want to gamble, then they have to sail on one of the ships, so it’s a great start to gambling in Bermuda!

    • Terry says:

      Bermuda Pilots don’t work in the dark.
      Some will get it.

      • Time Shall Tell says:

        Terry, Bermuda Pilots at work before most of Bermuda even awakes.

  9. Goodidea Badidea says:

    I don’t understand the value of this bill. The idea is to get people OFF the ships and spend their money, not to get them to hole up on the ships only coming off to buy souvenirs and go on pre paid tours.

    Why can’t we just get on with it and build a small casino at dockyard?

  10. My Kind says:

    Idiotic idea to let them open casinos on the ship while in port. Legalize gaming and have a casino onshore that passengers can go to when they are here .

    This is a no brainer.

  11. Alaina says:

    I really don’t understand why we’re working so hard to court the low end cruise ship business. We already know that the passengers spend very little money here – the sleep on the boat, they eat on the boat, and now they’ll be able to further entertain themselves on the boat. The save up all year for the all inclusive cruise, and really can’t afford to do very much outside of that, especially on an expensive island like Bermuda.

    Seems to me that it would economically beneficial to turn our attention to a demographic that might actually spend some real money here….how about the yachting community on the US East Coast?

    • Alicia says:

      The majority of the smaller cruise ships are actually more expensive then the mega ships and as such attract a clientele that normally has more money to spend in our shops once they are here.

  12. Terry says:

    It’s all about money.
    We have seen this with the previous Government who had at the time the strong arm and avenues to get it and make it.
    Beyoncé has left the room. FACT.
    The new Government is trying to pick up the pieces and get things done and re-elected even only after 9 months. Fact.

    But the bull**** and greed will continue. Fact.

    Who suffers?
    Not he MP’s, Senators, Civil Servants.
    The average Joe, Mom, Dad.

  13. Micro says:

    Those of you worrying about people running back onto the ship as early as possible to gamble, just how much of a benefit was banning gaming in the first place?

    • Mike Hind says:

      Huh? When we had an entertainment and hospitality industry, “banning” it was an IMMENSE benefit. People actually got off the ship.
      This legislation gives them yet another reason to stay on board.

      • theothersidebda says:

        I think you hit the nail right on the head “When we had an entertainment and hospitality industry”…. So the key then is to offer a compelling entertainment product. Not everyone gambles and I’m sure many would much rather be off the boat if there is a reasonable option for nightlife beyond a some bars. Until someone can offer more and better options, I don’t see why its a bad idea to offer consumers something they might enjoy. Otherwise, why bother to cruise here at all if the nightlife is limited?

        • Mike Hind says:


          We should be trying to build an entertainment and hospitality industry again!

          How does THIS help that?

          • curious says:

            Who is we? The government? Private business?
            Private individuals are more then welcome to put a business together to try to keep tourists out and part them with their money.

  14. Enforcer says:

    No where else in the world are cruise ships allowed to open casinos or shops in port. Why should we be any different – This is a desperation bill. Ships are not by passing Bermuda because of their casinos not being allowed to open. Just look at our head tax – that is one of the highest that I know of. They are looking for the best market where they spend less and make more. The seven day cruise experience coming to Bermuda puts less money in the cruise line pockets. A seven day cruise experience in any other market allows for the casino to open daily whilst moving from port to port – just build a nice casino in Dockyard or Hamilton and let the dollars stay onshore and provide employment for Bermudians.

  15. yesman says:

    Its about time damn time!!!!!!!!! Tired of these conservative views and ways.

    • Mike Hind says:

      Trying to keep tourists in Bermuda, spending money, is a “conservative view and way”?

      How does that work?

  16. Ride says:


    Are you perhaps missing a zero in the “14 or less visits” fee?

    You state a Class F would pay $135,000 for 15 or more visits but $9,000 for 14 or less visits. Should that be $90,000 instead? If not it seems this would be an incentive to for ships to visit less. The other ship classes seem similarly to be missing a 0 in the 14 or less visit category.


    • Bernews says:

      No zeros are missing. According to the Act that was tabled, licences for ships making 14 visits or less range from $5,000 to $12,000.

      Sorry for the lack of copy of the full Act, we tried to get our hands on an e-copy to no avail, but hopefully we can update with it soon. We are working off a hard copy we picked up at the House.

  17. Nice one says:

    This is great! Let’s reward the hotels and cruise ships that are here and perhaps others will follow. Thanks and good luck getting it passed.

  18. Amazing says:

    If the $$ are correct they are certainly going to cause cruise ships to visit less frequently…14 or under. That only would make business sense.

    These fees must be structured because they have ships ready to sign up and come here next year. The fact is that tourist do not get off the ship for anything, even if it is in dockyard. We take them to the hot beach all day and when they get back on the ship they get a shower, something to eat and go sleep or stay on the ship because it is free or entertainment packages were sold to them on the way sailing to BDA. Plus a lot of tourist have children when they come here, they are not going to leave them on the ship while they go and gamble…not going to happen.

    So, if we look at it that next year St Geo and Hamilton can have one or two ships in port and they gamble at night on ship, people won’t be complaining if they have had ‘thousands of extra tourist’ spending money during the day with tours, beach and stores.

    If this is the reason, I can swallow that a little easier…if not, Min Crockwell, add a zero please.

  19. somuchless says:

    Hello people are you missing the point? You are complaining about the casinos opening at night will keep the people onboard for entertainment purposes. Well what about the new local entertainment (singers, etc) that will be going onboard to perform. You should be complaining about that cause now having local entertainment go onboard there’s deff no reason to get off at night.

  20. No referendum? Another broken promise!

  21. Bermudian says:

    Bermuda has lost it’s relationship with God and has picked up guns, gays, and now gaming…… they will work on ganja!!!………..All the wrong g’s.

    ……..And we would call this PROGRESS!!!

    • Not buying it says:

      I don’t see the church taking up a collection for the economy….

  22. My Kind says:

    Bermudian: A relationship with an imaginary friend is never going to save Bermuda. Legalizing gaming may be a start though. I do believe it should be for tourists (hotel guests) only.

  23. Bermudian says:

    @ Not buying it……Could you please show me where there is an introduction to take up collection for the economy….if you could I would make a donation.

    @ My kind…….Only time will tell…..I think those that believe in the Big Bang Theory actually have more faith then me!

    I think a good start would be ask the Lord…….”What would he have us to do”???

  24. Bermudian says:

    @ not buying it……not an introduction (but instruction)!!! Sorry