Vote: Do You Favour Introducing Casino Gaming?

December 2, 2013

[Updated] “Do you favour the introduction of regulated casino gaming for the purposes of creating new jobs for Bermudians and encouraging hotel development,” is the question that will be posed to the public in the upcoming referendum, according to a Bill tabled in the House of Assembly on Friday [Nov 29].

In the recent Throne Speech the Government committed to holding the referendum in the first quarter of 2014.

Minister of Tourism & Transport Shawn Crockwell previously said, “The implementation of a regulated and dynamic gaming industry, which includes luxury casinos that cater to our tourists, has the potential of creating a brand new industry for Bermuda which will create new jobs for Bermudians and offer exciting entertainment for our guests.”

Chamber of Commerce President Ronnie Viera previously said the Chamber supports some form of gaming in Bermuda, but the Chamber’s Executive is not in favour of a referendum on the subject.

Update Dec 4th – Online voting now closed:

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Do you favour the introduction of regulated casino gaming?

  • Yes (79%, 462 Votes)
  • No (21%, 121 Votes)

Total Voters: 583

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Mr. Viera said, “The way questions are worded in a referendum is critical and can often predetermine the outcome. The Chamber is also concerned about how Government plans on educating the general public in advance of a referendum so that we can all make an informed decision.

“In the opinion of the Chamber, cost is another very important reason to forgo a referendum, as a considerable sum would have to be spent on a campaign to provide information to the public and prepare for a referendum.

“Additionally, more valuable time and resources would have to be deployed to run the actual election, disrupting commerce island-wide. It will not be an inexpensive process and we contend that the money can be much better spent, or saved.”

Not everyone is in support of gaming, with various religious groups raising objections, as well as the Bermuda Environmental Sustainability Taskforce [BEST].

A position paper produced by BEST [PDF] states: “The net economic benefits of casino gambling are known to be small at best for already well-established economies such as Bermuda’s, while the potential social and economic downsides have the potential to be huge. The risk does not seem worth taking.”

Gaming in Bermuda has been discussed for a long time, with reports extending back to at least 1912, when then Governor Sir Walker Kitchener rejected a proposal to establish casinos and gaming halls in Bermuda.

Update 1.08pm: Shadow Finance Minister David Burt has called the question “loaded”, and also tweeted a link to the Gaming Referendum Bill [PDF] the PLP introduced last year which had the question “Should there be licensed casino gaming in Bermuda?”.

 

 

The full Gaming Referendum Act follow below [PDF Here]:

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Comments (60)

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  1. question says:

    Why do we need more hotels if the ones we already have are NEVER at capacity and struggling?

    • Zeus says:

      Hence why they are trying to introduce additional promotional tools and entertainment for their guests with casino’s and all the bells and whistles that come with!

    • swing voter says:

      Bermuda Hotels do poor marketing and the price point is too high….lower your damn prices and you’ll have 100% occupancy. If I can get a large modern room at a 4 star airport hotel anywhere on the east coast for $75.00 weekend rate. Why can’t our hotels do the same with 25% of their unused inventory on weekends, just to fill the space?

      • OpenMind1609 says:

        Lets answer that with a question that we all had in high school:
        You need to buy a nice steak for a special dinner to impress your Ace Girl. Your mate Javon owns a grocery store.
        Assume his business requires you to sell filet for at least $8 to have any hope of making a profit, as the wholesale cost of the beef, electricity to run the compressor on his refrigerator, labour used to cut and package the steak, and rent for the shop to sell the steak are driven by open market forces that Javon have very little control over, and costs him at least $7.50 per pound.
        Question: How long do you think you will be in business if Javon sells you steak for only $7 per pound? Second question, if Javon can sell your beef for $12 per pound on Wednesdays, but you wont buy unless he drop his price to $7 on all the other days, how long will your mate Jevon stay in business if he sells you your beef for only $7 per pound?

        • Katherine says:

          Oh fak Javon cooks up some well steaks too hur me

        • ragoo says:

          if Javon normally sells his steak for $8 on Monday and on Saturday when he throws it out because it’s rotten, how much has he lost? What if Javon sold it for $7 on Thursday while everyone else was still selling theirs for $8? would someone be more likely to buy it? Would he lose less? Now stretch out your imagination… What if Javon included a salad with the steak cut and precooked on Friday at lunch for $9 when the rush was in? Economics is never that simple.

      • haha says:

        Bottom line: the cost of living is too high on this island, but it must be in order for everything to work together and get paid, etc. Not much you can do about those prices…sadly!

      • Um Jus Sayin says:

        I agree, after the tourists pay for their hotel stay, they wont have any money left to gamble with. If you let locals gamble, you will take a gamble with rent/mortgage, bills not getting paid. Children going hungry – no money for food and other essentials. Why gamble with Bermudians future. I say lower plane fare and hotel rates, get the tourists here and then allow them (ONLY!!!) to gamble in the hotels.

    • lets think about it says:

      I agree…. I have said that for years that we (our hotels) do not run at anywhere near full capacity all year round such as the neighbors to the south.

  2. Nuffin but da Truth says:

    Bermuda is so far behind the rest of the Islands when it comes to Modern Tourism needs and wants!

  3. CBA says:

    Wow that’s an interesting way to pose the question. I support the creation of jobs (who wouldn’t?) but not if the profits are going to be given to a few individuals and not society generally.

    • Greed Killed Bermuda says:

      BINGO!! Loaded question if there ever was one.

  4. Crapshoot says:

    The question is way too broad.

    While I generally support the idea of casino gambling, I am still left with the following questions:

    1) Will Bermudians be allowed to gamble?

    2) Can anyone apply for a casino licence? or just hotels

    3) Will there be sports betting and slot machines? Or just table games?

    • Toodle-oo says:

      Although there’s a few other responses of like mind , I’ll choose yours to piggyback my response to.

      I agree , the question is too broadly worded to get an accurate response from people who think in terms of details .

      Even Bernews’ poll is not worded well enough for me to participate !

      It should probably be along the lines of ..

      ‘Are you in favour of regulated gambling in hotels for the participation of their guests only ?’

      or

      ‘Are you in favour of regulated gambling island wide for participation by all , visitors AND residents ?’

      BUT you can only answer one question. The first one takes a lot of the fear out of the equation for the church lobby and would probably assist in a much higher ‘yes’ vote if they knew that locals could not participate. It would also identify those not as liberal who would not likely pick choice number 2

    • Balanced Facts says:

      We already have legalized sports betting!

  5. the people says:

    The wording of the question raises a bias..disappointing.

  6. the people says:

    Do you favour the introduction of regulated prostitution for the purposes of creating new jobs for Bermudians and encouraging hotel development,

    • Sara says:

      NO

      • []D[]|\/|[]D says:

        Why not?

        • Sara says:

          To be quite honest, I do believe regulated legal prostitution works for some districts but not for a small tiny dot like Bermuda.

          • We all we got says:

            so why would casinos work for bermuda?

            • Sara says:

              Because last time I checked Bermuda was in the tourism market and tourism is currently dead in the water. Many feel that this is the only way to truly stay afloat and competitive with other jurisdictions. I personally feel that casinos should be part of a hotel and the only way to gamble would be if you are a guest in the hotel and have that tightly restricted similar to the Bahamas.

              • Toodle-oo says:

                Based on what you say your position is do you notice that the question as worded by Government AND Bernews is not specific enough for you to honestly partake in the referendum or ‘survey ‘ ?

            • Mike Hind says:

              Easy. Casinos would force us to up our game.
              We’d have to improve across the board. Entertainment, service, quality of restaurants, hotels… everything.
              It would create jobs, improve tourism and entertainment and help out with IB. One example would be plane tickets. The lower the tickets, the more attractive we are to IB. Healthy tourism = lower ticket prices.
              And hotel prices.

              We’d also get some investment into our hotels. This will not happen without gaming. That’s a simple fact of life.

              The problem with the conversation about gaming is that – other than the religious one, based on other people following the rules of someone else’s belief system – almost all of the arguments against it are quite valid.
              However, none of them make a lick of difference in the grand scheme of things.
              Gaming isn’t a “Should we?” it’s a “It has to happen. When will it?”
              We HAVE to have gaming. It has to happen.

  7. the people says:

    Do you favour the introduction of regulated marijuana salea for the purposes of creating new jobs for Bermudians and encouraging hotel development,

  8. Vote for Me says:

    ‘Do you favour the introduction of regulated casino gaming for the purposes of creating new jobs for Bermudians and encouraging hotel development’

    Beyond the obvious bias of the question, we must ask if there is any evidence that new jobs and hotel development will result from the introduction of casino gaming!

    If the introduction of gaming is the panacea, the next step would be to allow existng hotels to have gaming licences. New hotels would be built once the existing ones are generally full and in a good financial standing. If you extend the logic, gaming licences should be given to at least Tuckers Point, Pink Beach, Elbow Beach, both Princesses, The Reefs and Cambridge Beaches before any new hotel permits are granted. Is that the intention???

    Whilst we may favour a new hotel in St. George, Par La Ville and Morgan’s Point, none make sense on the basis of the proposed gaming referendum.

    Reference the Chamber of Commerce, they appear to be short sighted at best. Their real concern is that a referendum lessens the chances of success for gaming, as opposed to a Government Bill, which would be supported by both parties. Perhaps the Chamber can assist in providing unbiased information to their members and the community at large??

  9. JUNK YARD DOG says:

    THE WHEEL OF FORTUNE .

    Round and round she goes where she stops no body knows.
    Can I have one of those thing on my patio ?

    I would have thought that Bermuda could have an “International Lottery” for everyone with the same profit margins as ” Gaming” , got to have several winning pots, each International Visitors get one free pink ticket at airport .
    Pay weekly draw winnings out by $100.00 value voucher good for one year only in Bermuda Dollars to Visitors to spend winnings for Holiday in Bermuda. The Government could 22.25 % tax the profits.

    Sort of” What happens in Bermuda stays in Bermuda”
    Now watch all the other Overseas territories come up with the same idea.

  10. Kim Smith says:

    Just as I thought, a skewed question. This unbalanced question should not be permitted to be the Referendum question.

  11. Gopher says:

    Do you favour the introduction of regulated crack houses for the purposes of creating new jobs for Bermudians and encouraging hotel development?

  12. Concerned says:

    No

  13. Stuart Hayward says:

    For anyone interested in viewing the pros and cons of gambling, BEST’s position paper “The Gamble of Gaming” is available on our website best.org.bm. Click on “Resources”, then click on “Papers & Publications”.

    • Greed Killed Bermuda says:

      What do you think about the question Stuart?

  14. JONESER says:

    Vote for it….. Yes

    • Toodle-oo says:

      Not the way the question is framed . Too vague and misleading . Of course everyone wants more employment but that’s the trick part of the question to tug on people’s heartstrings without thinking of the details.

  15. Snowangel says:

    Gaming will open many doors for Bermuda and help us get out of debt. I know a lot of people may be opposed to the idea of casinos but you need to think about the benefits. If it is carefully monitored there really should be no huge negative implications. Bermuda needs to do something and I do not see anything else being suggested that would help get Bermuda out of the horrible situation we are in.

    • Kim Smith says:

      So, please, Snowangel, please give us some of the details as to how “Gaming will open many doors for Bermuda and help us get out of debt.”

  16. Kindley says:

    Only the very wealthy could afford to fly over, stay a week or longer and visit the casinos….the average visitor could not afford to gamble their money away and who would want to be in a casino when they could be outside enjoying the beauty around them! Maybe Tucker’s Point and some would benefit because they are the ones with the big bucks.

    • Mike Hind says:

      And?

      Why bringing the very wealthy to Bermuda a bad thing?

      (And ‘the average visitor’ at this point is already choosing a vacation with casinos – the cruise ships.)

    • Common Sense says:

      I have to totally disagree with “Kindley’s” assertion. I know dozens and dozens of Bermudians who go to Vegas quire regularly for one purpose, and one purpose only – to gamble – and NONE of them are wealthy. During a recent conversation with a shop assistant in Hamilton she told me that she goes to Vegas because they provide her with “free” accommodation every time she goes! Free visit indeed! I didn’t know that casinos were charitable organisations.

      How about asking our hotel owners and potential hotel owners and investors whether they believe, or have done market research, to establish whether it is worth their while to invest in Bermuda hotels if we allow gambling? Or have they already given a clear indication that unless we allow gambling they will not gamble on investing in our Island?

  17. John E. Thorne says:

    As the question is too vague, I would have to vote NO. Casinos need volume of people in order to make money and in order for the gamblers to have a chance of winning something. As Bermuda is so small having a casino in each hotel makes no sense and you cannot allow one hotel to have one and not the others. I therefore am of the opinion that if we allow casino gambling then there should only be one centrally located in Hamilton that does not have a hotel attached to it. Furthermore residents of Bermuda should NOT be allowed to enter the casino unless they are employed by the casino. In other words, Bermuda residents would not be allowed to gamble in the casino.
    As there would only be one casino tourists would take taxis into Hamilton to gamble and would probably eat before or after in a restaurant located in Hamilton. This would help both the taxi and restaurant industries.

  18. Tuckers Point does not have the big bucks. They are broke and in the hands of the receivers

  19. Get it on says:

    Premier Cannonier,please show some leadership on this issue!

  20. Blackjack says:

    NIKE. Just do it. It will either work or not and for those that are against like BEST and a few others go find something else to do.Very simple don’t like it don’t do it, Stay home and twiddle your thumbs, Very glad it is a “loaded” question. I am sick of all the churches ( who have gambling BINGO ) and do gooders telling me how to live my life. If I fall then I shall get up, brush myself off, see what went wrong and start fresh with new found knowledge. JOB PLEASE.

  21. John Strong says:

    Gambling in unavoidable – it is just a matter of when. Government Minsters – just do the right thin and vote on it. Cancel the referendum and put the money saved to a better use.

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