2 Hour Video: Full Coverage Of Gaming Meeting

February 5, 2014

The Government kicked off their series of Gaming Town Halls last night [Feb 4], with the first one being held at Penno’s Wharf in St. George’s, and full video coverage of the almost 2-hour event is posted below.

The Town Hall began with Tourism Minister Shawn Crockwell addressing the audience, and Attorney General Mark Pettingill and Senator Nalton Brangman were also seated on the panel.

Those present included Premier Craig Cannonier, Minister Michael Dunkley, Minister Pat Gordon Pamplin and OBA MPs Nandi Davis, Suzann Roberts-Holshouser, Sylvan Richards and Kenny Bascome.

PLP MPs Wayne Furbert, Lovitta Foggo, Lawrence Scott and PLP Senators Renee Ming and Diallo Rabain were also present, as was former Opposition Leader Kim Swan, who was offering attendees the opportunity to sign the petition calling for a referendum.

Photo Slideshow

Minister Crockwell said that we have seen a decline in tourism over the last few decades, a loss of hotel beds, and said we have a “dearth of entertainment.”

He said a study suggested that the ideal numbers of casinos would be three, as anything more could be “saturation.” He said they are not going to legislate three, but will be preserving one licence to attract new hotel development.

Saying “we need to get a new hotel in St George’s,” the Minister said so far they have had seven developers express interest in building on the old Club Med property, and they were hoping to have a “shovel in the ground” by the end of the year.

The Minister said that 98,000 people travel from the east coast to the Bahamas just to gamble, and said we have the opportunity to try and “induce” those visitors to come here instead. He said reports suggested we could get over 40,000 new visitors to Bermuda just by having casinos.

45 minute video of the presentation

Saying the proposed taxation rate on gaming revenues is 10%, the Minister said by the third year of casinos being implemented the Government could make over $11 million in revenue.

“It’s not just revenue coming to the Government,” said the Minister, who said the additional visitors will stay in hotels, catch taxis, eat at restaurants and spend money in various areas so the entire community will benefit.

He spoke about his trip to Singapore, and said they were denied access to a casino as they did not have their passports on them, and said we will also have tight security at our casinos.

The Minister said the minimum age of entry would be 21, and said they are looking at having an entrance fee for locals to get into casinos, saying that in Singapore the fee is $100 per visit, or $2,000 for an annual pass.

He also spoke about policies excluding people from casinos who may fall into categories such as being on financial assistance, being bankrupt, and/or in arrears in their child support payments.

The Minister said we can develop policies so people who have “no business being in a casino” cannot attend.

60 minute video of the Q&A

Minister Crockwell also spoke about potentially having a programme where family members can report anyone who may be having a problem with gaming.

The Q&A began about 45 minutes into the meeting, and one of the first to speak was local businessman Nelson Hunt, who is involved in the Morgan’s Point development.

Mr. Hunt said he noted there will be three casinos and asked if the Minister can name the three. The Minister said the specific properties have not been identified yet.

“I think you should be more specific,” said Mr. Hunt. “We have investors who have put a lot of money in to generate the jobs and keep the interest going. And I would be some kind of pissed off if somebody came in and jumped in front of us. And I can tell you, I can go ballistic.”

The evening went smoothly, with the exception of one very brief incident which saw an attendee trying to ‘shout over’ Minister Crockwell, who noted that he showed respect while others were speaking, and asked that the same courtesy be extended to him.

Premier Craig Cannonier comments after the Town Hall

Senator Diallo Rabain comments after the Town Hall

Steve Simons from the Bermuda Hospitality Gaming Training Centre

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Comments (19)

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  1. swing voter says:

    just ignore the collective opposition and get it done. when the investment money,jobs, and new resort construction shows up they’ll all shut up

  2. Nuffin but da Truth says:

    Gaming in Bermuda is clearly a done deal,you only have to look at the body language of the AG to see he is completely bored at the meeting as he KNOWS it’s a done deal!

  3. 21 Blackjack says:

    Hey Swan of the EX. Trust you got millions of signatures NOT.

  4. Get it done says:

    Minister Crockwell,

    I am happy to see you and your team have done extensive research on gaming as I’m all for it.

    But you and I both know that stating the poll results is useless in Bermuda. If you as the government felt this confident about your poll results then you would’ve had a referendum. Don’t use the argument that they cost money as you knew Bermuda’s financial state before you made that promise. Let’s not become like that other party that makes empty promises.

    All in all, job well done and I hope Bermuda can attract a few major hotel brands. But before we acheive this something has to be done about the BIU.

  5. roger says:

    From last night’s meeting The “Not Yet Finalized Gaming Policy” is Looking Up :) , Looking Good so far to me. The $ figures given are very encouraging, hopefully within reality & not a pipe dream. They don’t have all the answers so If some of Our input isn’t factored in the overall Policy I’d be upset at the OBA.

    • Bermuda boy says:

      We heard Ewart every day, what good did it do??? All the money is gone !

  6. watching says:

    Well at least we got to hear the Premier’s voice for the first time in 2014!

  7. Triangle Drifter says:

    It is so nice to see research done first instead throwing a stupid idea against the wall to see if it will stick.

    IMO all is not perfect though. If locals are going to be permitted to gamble clubs & bars should be allowed to have machines at the very least otherwise all of the profits from gaming will go sraight overseas to the hotel operators only.

  8. Family Man says:

    Its a pay to play game.

    Not much has changed; Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      Care to back that up? If you can, fine. If you can’t, STFU. Simple.

      • Concerned Citizen says:

        Let me repeat it then. This is pay to play, that’s why Shawn Crockwell is focused on just the club med site. Remember Jetgate? Exactly! Can’t get that cheddar up front from Morgan’s point or any other player already in the game. Per election, it was described as corruption!

        • Lois Frederick says:

          Do you really think they can carry on like you are insinuating, after all the former government has been accused of? The OBA has to be squeaky clean when it comes to all their finances. But I suppose you will still make the accusations. Par for the course really.

  9. Bermuda Boy says:

    Need a licence, ok. Have to pay $100.00 to get into a casino, we’ll go to Vegas or Atlantic City. My motto for Bermuda = don’t expect too much and you won’t be disappointed.

  10. Cordell W. Riley says:

    Thanks for providing this service, Bernews.

  11. Ess Ess Dee says:

    Can someone pls tell me what Nalton’s role was @ the table? It was difficult to watch the clip and take his clueless azzzzzz seriously! One minute it looked like he was the minute taker………then it appeared like he was listening intently…..not sure why tho……we all know that he is completely out of his depth! He should have taken a seat next to ” Mr. I have to move this country forward aka Craig! “. Craig can’t answer $hit unless it’s scripted and therefore sat in the audience like the incompetent dreamer he is…….n perhaps Nalton should have sat right next to him! Tweedle dee and Tweedle dum! Lol…… Diallo, I don’t kno u, but stay focused n keep @ it…….your a breath of fresh air!