Casino Gaming Act 2014 Passes In The Senate

December 18, 2014

Senators passed the Casino Gaming Act 2014 yesterday [Dec 17], with the legislation paving the way for casinos in Bermuda. Having already been approved by MPs in the House of Assembly, the Governor must now provide his assent before the Act officially becomes the law.

The Act creates provisions for a maximum of three casino licences to be given in Bermuda, however who exactly will get the licences has not yet been announced.  The 117-page Act [PDF] allows for the formation of a Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission, with a stated purpose to “maintain and administer systems for the licensing, supervision and control of casinos.”

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The developers of Morgan’s Point have already stated their interest, as have the Desarrollos Group, who are due to start construction on a new hotel in the east end next year, and some existing hotel properties are also thought to be interested in obtaining a casino licence.

The island’s declining tourism numbers have been cited as the reason for introducing casinos, with Tourism Minister Shawn Crockwell previously saying, “In the past three decades Bermuda has moved from a tourism industry leader to an industry outsider.

“In spite of our failing grades over the past decades Bermuda still has an opportunity to regain its position as a tourism industry leader but we cannot regain that position by doing things the same way.

“We have to improve our service levels and we have to introduce new products which include new properties, amenities and entertainment activities, and based on our research and analysis, a healthy gaming industry will in fact lead to a number of simultaneous benefits.

“The fiscal benefits include economic expansion and tax revenue for governmental entities and programs,” added Minister Crockwell.

The new legislation follows years of debate on the subject, and in his speech last week in the House, Minister Crockwell acknowledged the efforts of former Tourism Minister and Premier Dr. Ewart Brown who he called a “vociferous advocate in bringing casino style gaming to Bermuda,” saying that “it is my belief that we would not be here today had it not been for Dr. Brown’s efforts.”

When asked what he thought of the Minister’s words, Dr Brown said: “I appreciate the kind acknowledgement from the Minister. I suppose its a case of ‘better late than never’. I hope that Bermudians will have an opportunity to invest in the ownership of the business.”

The concept of having casinos in Bermuda actually goes back to over a century ago, with a group of American investors proposing building casinos and a race track here intended to remake the island into a mid-Atlantic Monte Carlo in the early 1900′s.

The 1912 plans — aimed at drawing a wealthy East Coast clientele to the island — were turned down by Governor Sir Walker Kitchener following a lengthy debate in the House of Assembly when the majority of the 36 Members of Colonial Parliament balked at the idea of turning Bermuda into a gamers’ paradise.

The legislation follows after the decision to change the original plan to hold a referendum on the topic, and in his briefing last week, Minister Crockwell said, “In December of last year the Government made the decision to proceed with the establishment of legalized casino gaming through the parliamentary process.

“This was a difficult decision for the government but we are confident it was the right decision for Bermuda. We are also confident that the majority of Bermudians support the introduction of casino style gaming.

“This is supported by various polling results which suggest that approximately 70 percent of Bermudians favour the legalization of gaming in Bermuda to assist in increasing tourism, creating jobs for Bermudians, and generating revenue on the Island.”

Bermuda will join a number of other island destinations in offering casinos, including Aruba, the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, St. Croix, St. Maarten, Curacao and Bonaire.

Minister Crockwell’s full briefing on the Act from last Friday follows below:

Mr. Speaker, the purpose of the Bill before the House today is to provide the legal framework required to permit the establishment of a casino gaming industry within Bermuda. The Bill will be subsequently augmented with regulations to enable implementation of an appropriate regulatory regime and administrative structure to effectively oversee the casino gaming industry.

Mr. Speaker, In December of last year the Government made the decision to proceed with the establishment of legalized casino gaming through the parliamentary process. This was a difficult decision for the government but we are confident it was the right decision for Bermuda. We are also confident that the majority of Bermudians support the introduction of casino style gaming. This is supported by various polling results which suggest that approximately 70 percent of Bermudians favour the legalization of gaming in Bermuda to assist in increasing tourism, creating jobs for Bermudians, and generating revenue on the Island.

Mr. Speaker, The Bill we will seek to pass today represents a significant and critical adjustment to our tourism product and to Bermuda as a destination. As Honourable Members know, casinos and gambling is a well-established industry. Bermuda, as a jurisdiction, is late in fully embracing this industry. The act of gambling itself has existed for many centuries. Items connected with gambling, believed to be from about 2300 BC, have been located in ancient China. Writings showing signs of gambling have also been found inside one of the pyramids in Egypt. Casinos are everywhere; even The People’s Republic of China has announced plans for a luxury casino-resort. Except in the Middle East, an individual that would like to participate in a game of chance can find a place to play within a short walk, drive or plane flight. Casinos are open in every country in Europe except Sweden and Norway, in every state in Australia and in many central and South American countries. Asians can visit casinos in Korea, Macau, Malaysia, Singapore or the Philippines and although casino gaming is technically illegal in Japan, its residents can visit mini-casinos that feature pachinko games and reel-type slot machines.

Clearly casinos are definitely not something new. The word “casino” comes from the Italian language for “little house.” It originally referred to a small pavilion located on the grounds of a large villa. The little house was used for parties that featured music, dancing, socializing and sometimes games of chance. Over the course of time, the games became the dominant feature of the casinos and the little house grew into a big gambling club. The first modern casino as we know it was established in Monaco in 1861, which is still a center for gambling today. Over the years, casino gambling has evolved and developed, producing a wide range of varied games. Casino games may be divided into three main categories: table games, gaming machines and random number games. Table games offer entertainment which includes the use of cards or dice, such as Blackjack or Craps. Gaming machines, often featured in the form of slot machines or video poker machines, can be played by one player at a time, without the presence of a third party such as a dealer. Random number games feature the choice of different numbers, such as in the games of Roulette or Keno.

Mr. Speaker, the expansion of casino gaming in the United States has close parallels in other countries. Casinos had been prohibited in the United Kingdom until the 1968 Gaming Act provided a new legal basis for them. Casinos in Australia were illegal until 1972, when enabling legislation at the state level authorized a single casino in Tasmania. In Canada, charitable casinos first appeared in the late 1970s in western provinces, when temporary casinos allowing small stakes betting to raise money for non-profit enterprises were permitted at the annual summer exhibitions such as the Edmonton’s Klondike Days and Calgary Stampede. Over time, the charitable casinos became less te mporary, constraining regulations were relaxed, and regulatory authorities were established at the provincial level, thus paving the way for more substantial Canadian casinos in the 1990s.

Mr. Speaker, without doubt the issue of gaming in Bermuda is not new and it remains a very sensitive and emotive issue within our community. Therefore, the obvious question maybe why introduce casino gaming in Bermuda now? However, before I expand on the rationale for introducing casino gaming in Bermuda it’s important to highlight and acknowledge that one might suggest participating in a game of chance is very much a part of Bermuda’s culture. We are renowned for Crown and Anchor which is a permanent feature at “Cup Match” our most celebrated event on the Public holiday calendar and Crown and Anchor is also played at cricket county games. Sports betting shops have been in operation for a very long period of time and the playing of Bingo has been and continues to be a favourite form of entertainment for many residents for as long as I can remember.

Mr. Speaker, Honourable members and members of the public may recall the Green Paper that was presented by the former Government in 2010, that took the position that any gaming activity must be framed within the broader context of tourism, and it is within that context that this Bill has been tabled and is being debated today. Yes, it is about tourism and this Government’s efforts to revitalize this very important sector of our economy.

Mr. Speaker, We are all aware that the Bermuda tourism sector has seen near zero compound annual growth in total visitation over the past three decades. While during the same period global tourism has experienced exponential growth, specifically related to direct tourism investment in physical plant and equipment. With the exception of refurbishments there has been virtually no investment in new properties in Bermuda. After the five [5] year moratorium on new building introduced by the Bermuda Government in 1973 and with no subsequent new build since the moratorium, actual number of properties have fallen from 112 in 1980 to 47 in 2013 a decline of 58%. Actual number of beds fell from 9,215 to 5,265 a decline of 43% and actual number of rooms fell from 4,608 to 2,538 a decline of 45%. In the past 30 years, Bermuda has lost approximately 60% of its physical tourism assets.

Correspondingly, occupancy rates ranged from a high of 73.9% in 1980 to a low of 51.1% in 2009. The average over the period 1980 to 2013 is 60.1%. The industry occupancy benchmark for investment in new hotels is 70%. Additionally, arrivals peaked in 1987 at 630,296 with 76% Air and 24% Cruise. In 2011, arrivals reached 655,236 with 36% Air and 63% Cruise; an almost complete reversal corresponding with the decline in accommodations.

Mr. Speaker, there have been efforts and initiatives put forward and implemented to try and reverse this downward spiral of tourism accommodation and hotel investment. A good example would be the Hotel Concessions Act that was introduced in 2000 by the then Government. While many of the existing properties have and continue to benefit from this Act, it has had no material impact on driving new investment. By comparison actual tourism re-investment has been significantly below international industry standards and norms with the quality of rooms and services falling below expected customer experience. In the past three decades Bermuda has moved from a tourism industry leader to an industry outsider.

Mr. Speaker, in spite of our failing grades over the past decades Bermuda still has an opportunity to regain its position as a tourism industry leader but we cannot regain that position by doing things the same way. We have to improve our service levels and we have to introduce new products which include new properties, amenities and entertainment activities, and based on our research and analysis, a healthy gaming industry will in fact lead to a number of simultaneous benefits. The fiscal benefits include economic expansion and tax revenue for governmental entities and programs.

Economic expansion is a direct result of the capital investment associated with the gaming facilities which will lead to more jobs and increased spending on goods and services within our community. By no means is the introduction of casino gaming the panacea to revitalize our tourism industry but it can certainly be a catalyst for jobs and aid the recovery of tourism.

Mr. Speaker, since the Government’s decision to advance the development and establishment of a domestic gaming industry, the Ministry of Tourism Development & Transport has been working collaboratively with civil servants and administrators as a crossMinisterial initiative to create the legislative and administrative framework necessary to do so. The Ministry of Tourism Development & Transport also sought the assistance of and engaged Spectrum Gaming Group [Spectrum] to provide expert advice and services on this initiative. Spectrum is a company based in New Jersey, USA with a professional team that specialize s in developing and improving gaming regulatory agencies around the world. We also researched gaming policies and legislation in other jurisdictions including various states in the USA, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, the Caribbean and Singapore.
The latter is coincidentally the jurisdiction which the Government has decided to use as the primary exemplary model for its gaming industry.

Having completed the required research and having considered the various models for casino gaming, the Government has decided to adopt and implement an Integrated Resort Model that will provide resorts with amenity casinos in Bermuda.

Mr. Speaker, As the Minister responsible, I conducted a broad public consultation campaign where I articulated the vision the Government had embraced for the introduction of this new industry. This included three [3] public forums, which were held in the Eastern, Central and Western areas of the island as well as an in camera meeting with an extensive delegation from the social services industry. I made a similar presentation to the Executive of the Bermuda Hotel Association and met with the Chamber of Commerce.

Mr. Speaker, Despite the Government’s efforts to educate the public about our vision for a gaming industry it is fair to say that there is still some misinformation out there in the public domain about the casino gaming industry and what we as the Government plan to implement here in Bermuda. Therefore it is paramount that I provide an overview of the provisions in the Bill and highlight significant components.

The Casino Gaming Act 2014 is the legal framework to govern the operation of casinos in Bermuda and it is drafted to be comprehensive and rigorous. The Bill seeks to put in place a legislative and regulatory framework that will help provide an environment where the Integrated Resorts can succeed, while seeking to mitigate the potential negative consequences of the casinos on our society. This Bill will subsequently be augmented with various supporting Regulations to enable the implementation of a corresponding regulatory regime and administrative structure to effectively oversee the casino gaming industry in Bermuda.

The Bill comprises 14 Parts, and deals with the key aspects of regulating casinos in Bermuda. It has 3 broad objectives. First, the Bill will provide for the setting up of the casino regulator with the necessary powers to enforce the regulatory regime. Second, the Bill will set out a regulatory regime for the casino operator and related business parties. Third, the Bill will provide for a number of social safeguards.

Part 2 of the Bill has provided for the establishment of the Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission [the Commission], which provides for the Commission’s constitution and structure. The Commission will have a minimum of five [5] members for purposes of issuing and overseeing licences for casino gaming. The primary objectives of the Commission are to be responsible for enforcing the provisions in the Casino Gaming Bill and regulating casinos in Bermuda. This is consistent with overseas practices, where dedicated bodies are set up to regulate casinos.

The Commission will have powers to investigate and enquire into the casino operator’s background, accounts and associates as that term is defined in clause 3 of the Bill. The investigations, which are very thorough and often involve the key directors and management, are standard practice in well known overseas gaming jurisdictions. Such comprehensive investigations are also being conducted for the bidders of our Integrated Resorts.

Mr. Speaker, Part 3 creates provisions for the licencing of casinos and allows for a maximum of three [3] casino licences within Bermuda for casino gaming and to allow for the necessary processes to uphold the parameters of issued licences. Only suitable persons will be licensed to operate a casino in Bermuda.

The considerations with respect to “suitability” include whether the applicant for a casino operator licence is of good repute. The applicant must also demonstrate that there is a sound and stable financial background.

Details related to the application, matters to be considered in determining applications, investigation of applications, the granting, refusal and renewal of a casino licence and a casino licence fee are provided in this Part. To ensure no casino operator is involved or participates in the operation of another casino in
Bermuda, a casino operator is not only allowed to mortgage, charge or otherwise encumber the casino licence except with the Commission’s approval. After consultation with experts, transfer of a casino licence will not be allowed ─ a new application will be required. Part 3 also has provisions for disciplinary action against a casino operator, the ability for the Commission to appoint a temporary manager and a right of appeal for an aggrieved operator.

Part 4 creates provisions for the Supervision and Control of Casino Operators; it is extremely important to ensure there is robust supervision and control over the operations of the casino. This is to prevent the ownership of the casino from falling into wrong hands. Therefore, having obtained the licence, the licensee must remain suitable throughout the validity period of the licence.

Where there are material changes to the licensee’s circumstances or of its associate, particularly those that could affect its suitability, the licensee is required to report these changes promptly to the Commission.

Mr. Speaker, Part 5 creates provisions for Special Employees. To ensure that the integrity of our casinos is not compromised from within, the Bill requires not only that casino operators be licensed by the Commission, but also that their key employees [in the Bill referred to as special employees] must be licensed . No one shall be allowed to work or hold key positions within the casino without a special employee licence. Only suitable persons will be licensed to operate the casino or to work in positions of influence in the casino. The considerations of “suitability” include whether the applicant is of good repute with regard to character, honesty and integrity, and has the ability to work in the capacity that he or she has applied for. Mr. Speaker, Part 6 creates provisions for Casino Operations, A casino operator must ensure the casino layout complies with the prescribed requirement and is not allowed to change the layout without the approval of the Commission. All games played in a casino and rules for those games must be approved by the Commission. All gaming equipment for use in a casino must be approved and a casino operator can only purchase gaming machines from approved manufacturers and suppliers.

Gaming measures are also covered under this part and the measures include the arrangement of linked jackpots, assistance to patrons, operation of security equipment and the issuance of credit. Besides casino operators, a licensed international market agent is also allowed to grant credit to a Patron and the supervision and control of international market agents and their representatives is provisioned for. You may also note Automatic Teller Machines [ATMs] are not allowed to operate within the boundaries of casino premises.

To endeavour to mitigate the social ills of casino gambling in Bermuda there are specific provisions in this part of the Bill concerning entry to and exclusion from casino premises. As exclusion orders affect a person’s freedom of movement, exclusion orders should not be made lightly. Respondents must be given a fair hearing.

There are four types of exclusion orders which bar a person from entering the casino premises. First, there is a voluntary exclusion order by which an applicant effectively bars himself from entering the casino. Second, a casino operator may itself issue an exclusion order to bar a person from entering the casino the casino perator is required to notify the Commission of the persons under both the self-exclusion and casino operator exclusion lists. Third, the Commission itself may issue an exclusion order to prohibit a person from entering a casino, and fourth is the family exclusion order that is covered specifically under Part 10. Besides the “excluded persons”, there is another group of persons who are also prohibited from entering a casino’s premises. These are the minors, persons below 18 years of age and Part 7 of the Bill solely concentrates on minors.

Mr. Speaker, Part 8 of this Bill deals with Casino Internal Controls. In addition to investigative and enforcement powers, the Commission is also the approving authority for various aspects of casino operations. The Commission will oversee casinos’ system of internal controls and accounting procedures. This is a critically important component of this Bill as we need ensure and apply all appropriate measures to uphold and maintain our high jurisdictional reputation. It is therefore of critical importance that casino operators be required to comply with and adhere to antimoney laundering [AML] and anti-terrorist financing [ATF] measures which will be set out in Regulations. Consultation with key stakeholders will occur with respect to these Regulations to ensure necessary consistency.

Mr. Speaker, typologies produced by agencies that have oversight of the financial industry has consistently identified a money laundering risk with the gaming industry. Within the sector, casinos represent the greatest risk for money laundering activities. Therefore, there will be further consultation with the Ministry of Legal Affairs and the National Anti-Money Laundering Committee [NAMLC], and we will be guided by their recommendations when drafting the regulations. Casinos are cash-intensive businesses and cash is a favourite medium of laundering because of the anonymity it provides to the money launderers. This fact is evident, with obligations on casinos being significantly enhanced in relation to Customer Due Diligence [CDD], record keeping, reporting of suspicion, and comprehensive regulation and supervision. Specific regulations will be made to ensure a casino operator shall perform such customer due diligence measures to detect or aim to prevent money laundering, financing of terrorism and uphold the integrity of our very reputable financial system. In addition to the forthcoming regulations, a casino operator shall have regard to such customer due diligence measures as may be set out in the Proceeds of Crime Act 1997, the Anti-Terrorism [Financial and Other Measures] Act 2004 and any relevant regulations made under those Acts.

Provisions are also provided for the administrative and accounting procedures of a casino that must be approved by the Commission. This encompasses the entire casino operation including matters such as: accounting procedure, audits and submission of reports.

Mr. Speaker, Part 9 covers the taxation of the industry; the Government will generate revenue from levying a tax on the casino’s gross gaming revenue but the tax must be set at a rate to encourage development and create a stable and strong gaming market. The cost of regulating the industry must also be covered by revenue generated from the casino tax and funds received will also be earmarked for specific programs approved by the Problem Gaming Council. This part also has provisions for General Reserve and provides for the establishment of regulations in consultation with the Minister of Finance.

Mr. Speaker, Part 10 covers another critically important component of the Bill as it establishes the Problem Gaming Council which I just referred to. The Council will comprise of a Chairman and not fewer than four [4] and not more than eight [8] other members appointed by the Minister in consultation with the Minister of Health. Its mandate is to see to the prevention, redress and mitigation of harmful gambling practices. The primary function of the Council is to appoint a panel of assessors to decide on applications for the exclusion of persons from casino premises to be made, to publish educational materials, carry out research or other educational activities relating to casino gaming. As these provisions seek to restrict a person’s freedom of movement, natural justice provisions have been included.

Mr. Speaker, we recognise that gambling can lead to a range of problems for a small minority of individuals and their families and we have a responsibility to try to protect individuals and mitigate the negative societal impacts that can result from problem gambling. Problem gambling can stem from participation in any or multiple forms of gambling activity, and not just casino gaming. Problem gambling can be seen as both an individualized issue affecting the person concerned, and a public health issue affecting the community as a whole through the social and financial costs of the problematic behaviours. This complex issue of problem gambling can only be managed through the combined efforts of personal responsibility, the efforts on the part of the operators and our social safeguards. In the design of any social safeguards, we must not inadvertently erode the role of personal responsibility, family support or community involvement.

Mr. Speaker, Part 11 addresses casino advertising and promotions with the specific details to be provided in the regulations. Parts 12 and 13 address criminal offences related to the gaming industry and corresponding enforcement powers; and the final Part of the Bill. Part 14 addresses miscellaneous issues and subjects not captured by the preceding Parts. Additionally, the Bill has two [2] Schedules: Schedule one [1] sets out the constitution and proceedings of the Commission and Schedule two [2] identifies persons to whom information may be disclosed as referenced in Part 14 Miscellaneous under the provisions for preservation of secrecy.

Mr. Speaker, much effort by many individuals has resulted in the development of this Bill, there was extensive research undertaken of existing policies and legislation in other jurisdictions and wideranging consultation with industry experts that has produced a very comprehensive Bill that complements the Integrated Resort Gaming Model that we will implement. In comparison to other countries and Island nations we are entering the game late but we have taken the approach of learning from others by introducing legislation that takes into consideration the pitfalls and mistakes made by other jurisdictions and positively set us apart from the rest of this world.

Mr. Speaker, I conclude by reiterating my comments provided in a previous ministerial statement updating member on the progress of the Bill that is being debated today; “The implementation of Casino Gaming legislation in Bermuda is a major statement and a jurisdictional decision that will be closely observed by our competitors and potential investors in the tourism industry. This is also a significant achievement for this Government and it is a decision that bears an enormous responsibility that this Government does not take lightly.” Therefore, we will continue and remain steadfast in our efforts to make sure the industry has the appropriate regulatory structure and system to safeguard our community while simultaneously aiding the revitalization of our tourism industry and our economy as a whole.

Mr. Speaker, before I take my seat I would like to acknowledge the efforts of the former Tourism Minister and Premier, the Hon. Dr. Ewart Brown who was a vociferous advocate in bringing casino style gaming to Bermuda and who under his leadership produced a great deal of research on this topic, which culminated into a Green Paper on the pros and cons of casino gaming in Bermuda which this Honourable House debated in 2010.

Mr. Speaker, I supported Dr. Brown’s efforts on this issue at that time and voted in the affirmative during the debate on the Green Paper. It is my belief that we would not be here today had it not been for Dr. Brown’s efforts.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Part III clause by clause

This Bill seeks to make provision for to provide for integrated resorts, to allow casino gaming, to establish a Casino Gaming Commission and to establish a Problem Gaming Council to address problem gambling, and matters incidental and connected therewith,

Clause 1 provides the title of the Bill.
Clause 2 defines certain terms that are used in the Bill.
Clause 3 provides the meaning of “associate”.
Clause 4 confers power on the Minister to designate a site on which a casino may be located for a specified period.
Clause 5 confers power on the Minister to revoke a designated site order or pursue cancellation of a casino licence if it is necessary in the public interest.
Clause 6 provides for the establishment of the Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission.
Clause 7, and Schedule 1, provide for the Constitution of the Commission.
Clause 8 sets out the objects of the Commission.
Clause 9 provides for the functions and duties of the Commission.
Clause 10 sets out the powers of the Commission.
Clause 11 provides for the appointment of committees.
Clause 12 makes provision for the appointment of a Chief Executive and other staff.
Clause 13 provides for the functions of inspectors.
Clause 14 sets out the powers of inspectors.
Clause 15 enables inspectors to require the name and address of any person in a casino.
Clause 16 enables an inspector to seize any gaming equipment on a casino premises or any item relating to gaming if he reasonably suspects it to be unauthorised by this Act.
Clause 17 provides for the funds and property of the Commission.
Clause 18 provides the financial year of the Commission as ending on 31st March.
Clause 19 provides that all moneys collected by the Commission under the Act will be paid into and form part moneys of the Commission.
Clause 20 enables the Commission to open a bank account.
Clause 21 provides how the moneys of the Commission will be applied.
Clause 22 requires the Commission to keep proper accounts and records.
Clause 23 provides that the Commission accounts must be audited by the Auditor- General or any other auditor appointed by the Auditor-General.
Clause 24 provides the powers of the Auditor.
Clause 25 requires the Commission to provide a copy of its audited accounts and financial statements to the Minister to be laid before each House of the Legislature.
Clause 26 requires the Commission to submit an annual report of the activities of the Commission to each House of the Legislature.
Clause 27 provides for the symbol of the Commission.
Clause 28 provides that the Commission must ensure that there are no more than three[3] casino licences in force in Bermuda.
Clause 29 declares that casinos duly licensed in accordance with this Act are lawful.
Clause 30 provides for the enforceability of gaming contracts, given that they are unenforceable at common law.
Clause 31 makes it unlawful to operate a casino without a licence.
Clause 32 provides for the application for a casino licence.
Clause 33 provides that the Commission must not grant a casino licence unless the applicant and associates of the applicant are suitable persons and sets out matters the Commission must take into account in making its decision.
Clause 34 requires the Commission to perform specified evaluations in connection with licence applications.
Clause 35 requires the Commission to undertake investigations necessary to enable it to properly consider an application as respects the suitability of applicants. If a person refuses, the Commission may refuse to consider the application.
Clause 36 enables the Commission to require an applicant or an associate to provide information relevant to an investigation. If a person refuses, the Commission may refuse to consider the application.
Clause 37 requires the applicant for a casino licence to notify the Commission if a change occurs in the information provided to the Commission prior to a decision being made on the licence application.
Clause 38 enables the Commission to grant or refuse to consider an application for a casino licence.
Clause 39 provides the fee for a casino licence.
Clause 40 provides for the renewal of a casino licence.
Clause 41 enables licence conditions to be amended by the Commission or by a casino operator making a request to the Commission.
Clause 42 requires the boundaries of a casino to be defined by the casino licence at the time it is granted. The Commission may redefine the boundaries from time to time.
Clause 43 provides that a casino licence remains in force for the period for which it is granted unless cancelled or surrendered.
Clause 44 prohibits a casino operator from mortgaging or otherwise encumbering the casino licence without the approval of the Commission. Transfer of a casino licence is not permitted — a new application must be submitted instead.
Clause 45 defines the terms for the interpretation of Chapter 2 which relates to disciplinary action against a casino operator.
Clause 46 specifies the grounds for disciplinary action against a casino operator.
Clause 47 specifies the penalties that may be imposed on a casino operator. This clause enables the Commission to cancel or suspend a casino licence, fine the operator up to $1 million or issue a letter of censure.
Clause 48 specifies the procedure that must be followed where the Commission proposes to take disciplinary action against a casino operator.
Clause 49 enables a casino operator to surrender the casino licence, but only if the Commission consents.
Clause 50 provides for the appointment of a temporary manager if a licence is cancelled, surrendered or suspended.
Clause 51 provides for appeals to the Supreme Court against decisions of the Commission regarding licences.
Clause 52 enables the Commission to give directions concerning the conduct, supervision or control of operations in the casino to the casino operator.
Clause 53 provides for the Commission to initiate an investigation at any time of, and if directed to do so by the Minister to investigate, a casino.
Clause 54 requires the Commission to carry out regular investigations as to whether the casino operator remains a suitable person to hold a licence and if the licence should remain in force.
Clause 55 enables the Commission to require the casino operator, or a person associated with the operator to provide information, records or attend before the Commission.
Clause 56 requires certain changes in the casino operator’s situation to be notified to the Commission, and other changes to be approved by the Commission.
Clause 57 requires a casino operator to notify the Commission of a change in the situation of any associate, of a kind of change specified by the Commission.
Clause 58 enables the Commission to carry out ongoing monitoring of associates and others connected to a casino operator.
Clause 59 sets out definitions for the interpretation of Part 4, Chapter 2 [contracts].
Clause 60 sets out requirements with respect to controlled contracts.
Clause 61 sets out requirements with respect to notifiable contracts.
Clause 62 provides for suspension of contracts.
Clause 63 specifies the effect, where a contract is suspended.
Clause 64 further provides for circumstances where a contract is suspended.
Clause 65 contains definitions used in Part 5.
Clause 66 requires persons exercising certain functions in relation to a casino to have a licence.
Clause 67 requires that an application for a special employee licence be in a form approved by the
Commission and that a prescribed fee and other information accompany the application.
Clause 68 enables the Commission to require a special employee associated with a casino operator or a casino employee to apply for a licence.
Clause 69 requires the applicant for a special employee licence to notify the Commission if a change occurs in the information provided to the Commission prior to a decision being made on the licence application.
Clause 70 enables the Commission to require an applicant or an associate to provide information, records, etc. relevant to the application. If the person refuses, the Commission may refuse to consider the application.
Clause 71 requires the Commission to investigate each application for a special employee licence.
Clause 72 provides that a licence is subject to any condition imposed by the Commission and conditions may be varied or revoked by the Commission.
Clause 73 requires licensed special employees to wear identification at all times while on duty in a casino unless exempted by the Commission.
Clause 74 enables the Commission to issue a provisional licence pending a decision on an application for a special employee licence.
Clause 75 provides for duration of a special employee licence.
Clause 76 applications for a special employee licence renewal must be made in a form approved by the
Commission and are subject to a prescribed fee.
Clause 77 enables the Commission to issue a replacement special employee licence, for a prescribed fee.
Clause 78 defines the terms for the interpretation of Part 5, Chapter 2 which relates to disciplinary action against a special employee.
Clause 79 specifies the grounds for disciplinary action against a special employee.
Clause 80 specifies the procedure that must be followed where the Commission proposes to take disciplinary action against a special employee.
Clause 81 specifies the penalties that may be imposed on a special employee. This clause enables the Commission to cancel or suspend a special employee licence or issue a letter of censure.
Clause 82 enables the Commission to suspend a special employee licence pending disciplinary action.
Clause 83 provides that during a period of suspension, the licensee is deemed not to have a licence.
Clause 84 provides the return of a special employee licence to the Commission when the licence is suspended or cancelled.
Clause 85 requires the casino operator to terminate the employment of a special employee if notified by the Commission that the person’s special employee licence has been terminated.
Clause 86 requires the casino operator to provide information relating to employees to the Commission.
Clause 87 requires a special employee to provide information to the Commission.
Clause 88 requires the holder of a licence to notify the Commission of a change in the situation of a licensee of a kind specified by the Commission.
Clause 89 provides for appeals.
Clause 90 provides for the casino layout to comply with whatever requirements the Commission may prescribe.
Clause 91 provides for the Commission to approve the games and rules of games to be played in a casino.
Clause 92 enables the Commission to give directions to a casino operator on the games that may not be played in a casino.
Clause 93 provides for the Commission to investigate and approve gaming equipment for use in a casino.
Clause 94 provides that a casino operator is not allowed to use a gaming machine unless it is obtained from a gaming vendor approved by the Commission.
Clause 95 provides that a person may apply to the Commission to be an approved gaming vendor.
Clause 96 provides that a casino operator may conduct gaming on a simulated basis under prescribed conditions.
Clause 97 provides that a linked jackpot arrangement is unlawful without the approval of the Commission.
Clause 98 provides for assistance to patrons.
Clause 99 enables the Commission to provide directions on all casino procedures for security and safety. A casino operator who does not comply with the directions is liable to disciplinary action.
Clause 100 makes provision regarding credit.
Clause 101 provides that no casino operator can provide an ATM within a casino.
Clause 102 provides that no person can perform the functions an international market agent or representative without a licence.
Clause 103 provides for the Commission’s supervision and control of international market agents and international market agent representatives.
Clause 104 provides that the Commission may suspend or revoke the licence of an international market agent in any case to prevent a threat to the security of the public or of casino operations.
Clause 105 provides that a casino operator must notify an inspector of any dispute of winnings between the casino operator and the patron.
Clause 106 provides that any person aggrieved by a decision of the inspector may appeal to the Commission in the prescribed manner and within the prescribed time.
Clause 107 provides for payment of claim after a decision.
Clause 108 provides that a person aggrieved by a decision of the Commission may appeal to the Magistrates’ Court.
Clause 109 provides that a person, except an inspector, remains in a casino only by licence of the casino operator.
Clause 110 enables an inspector to enter a casino at any time and remain on the casino premises to exercise his functions.
Clause 111 declares the power of police officers to enter a casino at any time and remain on the casino premises to exercise their functions.
Clause 112 enables a casino operator to make an exclusion order prohibiting a person from entering or remaining in a casino.
Clause 113 enables the Commission to make an exclusion order prohibiting a person from entering or remaining in a casino.
Clause 114 provides for duration of an exclusion order.
Clause 115 provides for variation of an exclusion order.
Clause 116 requires the casino operator to prepare a list of excluded persons and if required provide a copy of the list to the Commission.
Clause 117 prohibits a person who is the subject of an exclusion order from entering and remaining in a casino.
Clause 118 requires a casino operator to bar excluded persons from entering and remaining in a casino.
Clause 119 requires that a person in charge of a casino, an agent of a casino or a casino employee who knows a person who is the subject of an exclusion order is in the casino must notify an inspector to have the person removed.
Clause 120 provides that all winnings of an excluded person, a person subject to a family exclusion order or a provisional family exclusion order, or a minor shall be forfeited to the Consolidated Asset Fund.
Clause 121 provides that a casino safeguard against certain conduct within a casino premises.
Clause 122 contains definitions of terms used in Part 7.
Clause 123 prohibits a minor from entering a casino.
Clause 124 provides that a casino operator must take steps to bar entry of a minor into, and if a minor is in the casino to remove the minor from, the casino.
Clause 125 provides that a casino operator must refuse entry to minor.
Clause 126 provides that proof of age may be demanded.
Clause 127 provides that it is an offence for a minor to use false evidence of age.
Clause 128 enables the Commission to require the casino operator to display signs relating to the exclusion of any person under the age of 18.
Clause 129 sets out penalties with respect to minors who contravene the provisions of this Part.
Clause 130 requires the Commission to approve the system of internal controls.
Clause 131 contains provisions relating to bank accounts to be kept by the casino operator.
Clause 132 makes specific provision regarding AML and ATF requirements for casino operators.
Clause 133 requires a casino operator to keep proper accounts.
Clause 134 provides that a casino operator must prepare financial statements and accounts.
Clause 135 provides for an assessment by the Commission.
Clause 136 provides that a casino operator must keep all records relating to the operations of the casino and retain them for at least 7 years.
Clause 137 requires the casino operator to have the accounts audited by a person approved by the Commission.
Clause 138 enables the Commission to require a casino operator to appoint a special auditor and specify the terms for the special audit.
Clause 139 requires a casino operator to submit reports on the operations of the casino to the Commission at specified times.
Clause 140 requires the casino operator to pay a casino tax and makes provision for the tax to be prescribed.
Clause 141 defines the term “gross gaming revenue”.
Clause 142 requires a casino operator to submit monthly tax returns.
Clause 143 provides for general reserve funds.
Clause 144 enables the Minister to make regulations relating to casino tax.
Clause 145 provides the responsibility of the Tax Commissioner regarding casino tax.
Clause 146 contains definitions of terms used in Part 10.
Clause 147 establishes the Council on Problem Gaming [“the Council”].
Clause 148 provides for the functions of the Council.
Clause 149 enables to the Council to conduct its business and validates its proceedings and decisions.
Clause 150 provides the grounds for the Council to make a family exclusion order.
Clause 151 empowers the Council to dismiss any frivolous or vexatious complaint for a family exclusion order.
Clause 152 provides that the chairman of the Council may constitute a Committee of Assessors [“the Committee”] for consideration of complaints for family exclusion orders.
Clause 153 requires the chairman of the Committee of Assessors to hear and determine complaints for family exclusion orders.
Clause 154 provides for complaints for a family exclusion order and how a person may apply.
Clause 155 provides for an application by or on behalf of a person under the age of 18.
Clause 156 provides for an application on behalf of an incapacitated person.
Clause 157 provides the terms of a family exclusion order.
Clause 158 enables to the Committee to make a provisional family exclusion order.
Clause 159 enables the Committee to make a family exclusion order in the absence of the respondent in specified circumstances.
Clause 160 provides in respect of conduct of proceedings for family exclusion orders.
Clause 161 enables the Council to confirm, vary or revoke a family exclusion order.
Clause 162 provides for the service of a family exclusion order.
Clause 163 requires the Council to maintain a list of excluded persons naming persons excluded from a casino by a family exclusion order.
Clause 164 provides for confidentiality of proceedings of the Committee.
Clause 165 enables the Minister to make rules for the purposes of Part 10.
Clause 166 provides that any advertising and promotional activities relating to a casino require the approval of the Commission.
Clause 167 makes provision for penalties.
Clause 168 makes offences concerning prohibited items.
Clause 169 makes it an offence for a person to interfere with gaming equipment.
Clause 170 makes it an offence for cheating during the playing of any game in a casino.
Clause 171 makes it an offence for a person to be in possession of chips outside of a casino.
Clause 172 makes it an offence to forge or counterfeit chips, a chip purchase voucher, a match play coupon, any licence issued under the Act or a special employee’s form of identification.
Clause 173 makes it an offence to impersonate a special employee or an inspector.
Clause 174 makes it an offence to enter a casino using another person’s name or identification.
Clause 175 makes it an offence to refuse to provide information in specified circumstances.
Clause 176 makes it an offence to destroy or falsify documents required by the Commission, an inspector or an authorised person.
Clause 177 makes it an offence to provide false or misleading information to the Commission, a police officer, an inspector or an authorised person.
Clause 178 makes it an offence for a person to refuse access to, obstruct, hinder or delay the duties of persons under the Act.
Clause 179 provides for prosecution of offences.
Clause 180 provides that a person suspected of committing, or attempting to commit, or who has committed an offence may be detained at or near a casino until the arrival of a police officer.
Clause 181 provides an inspector or authorised person with certain powers of enforcement.
Clause 182 provides there is no general right of compensation from the Commission for the revocation,
suspension or variation of the terms of any licence.
Clause 183 provides that any licence or approval granted under the Act is a revocable privilege.
Clause 184 enables the Commission to conduct investigations of suitability.
Clause 185 enables the Commission to require the holder of any licence or approval to provide a security deposit of such amount as required by the Commission.
Clause 186 enables the Commission to accept a written undertaking by a holder of any licence or approval granted by the Commission.
Clause 187 enables the Commission to direct a casino operator to provide information to assist a law enforcement agency.
Clause 188 provides offences by bodies corporate.
Clause 189 provides for the preservation of confidentiality.
Clause 190 provides for cooperation with any foreign regulatory body.
Clause 191 provides for protection from liability for acts done or omitted in good faith.
Clause 192 provides a general penalty for persons guilty of an offence under the Act for which there is no penalty provided in the Act.
Clause 193 provides that all financial penalties under the Act must be paid to the Commission.
Clause 194 enables the Minister, by order, to amend Schedule 2 to the Act.
Clause 195 provides for the service of summonses and notices etc.
Clause 196 gives the Minister regulation-making power.
Clause 197 gives the Minister power to make rules.
Clause 198 provides for the adoption of codes, standards of performance or specifications.
Clause 199 provides for codes, standards of performance or specifications to be issued by the Commission.
Clause 200 provides for guidelines regarding compliance.
Clause 201 provides for savings.
Clause 202 provides for consequential amendments.
Clause 203 provides for the commencement of the Bill

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Comments (24)

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  1. San George says:

    Three licenses – creation of another group of near monopolies in Bermuda; should not have inserted the limitation.

    • John E. Thorne says:

      Bermuda is a small place and in order for casinos to be profitable you need volumes of people gambling in them. I am of the opinion that 3 licences may turn out to be too many as it is. I understand though that to get investors to build new hotels casinos had to be made legal. One in the east, one in the west and one in Hamilton makes logical sense to me. Time will tell.

      • Longtail says:

        So true JET… casinos operate on the premise that a lot (volumes) of people are needed, each (on average) loosing a little bit of money, whereas with Bermuda’s limitations we need a smaller amount of people all loosing a lot of money to make casinos work here. Time indeed will tell!

        • Black Soil says:

          The mission IS to get more people to visit Bermuda. Vegas was once a desert you know.

    • Not exactly says:

      Atlantic City is now suffering due to the oversaturation of their local gaming market. The cap is definitely better than converting Bermuda into a no holds barred slot machine in every cafe kind of place.

    • Coffee says:

      It is for the exact same reason San George espouses that I take the position that casino’s in Bermuda should be nationalized .

    • Purple Koolaid says:

      The act does allow for the increase if the demand is there.

  2. Triangle Drifter says:

    Amazing how fast Government can pass things once they put their minds to it. Finally.

    The gaming ship sailed long long ago. Oh well, it won’t be any real big deal for the hotels but at least it will be another revenue point & a service for those who want it.

    • Sooooo says:

      TD… I agree, Gaming is a “fad of the past” with so many Casino’s dotted around US cities, it’s not the tourist attraction it was 15-20 years ago. Just look at Atlantis in Nassau, it’s been on the decline the past 4 years.

      That said, I think we needed to add something to bring investors, and new jobs to the island. Gaming will do just that, it will create a new cash flow throughout the island.

      • Purple Koolaid says:

        Yes, it certainly is no longer a sole reason to travel. However, its a good option to have when the weather is not so great outside. In most areas Gambling also subsidizes entertainment and even hotel rooms for our guests.

        Will it be the magic potion and solve all of our issues? No, of course not! Will it help us sell Bermuda the fun destination instead of Boremuda, I hope so!

        We owe it to ourselves to at least give it a try!

  3. Y-Gurl says:

    What’s the time difference between Bermuda and North America…oh about 20 years?

    • Common Sense says:

      …. and who was in power during 14 of those last 20 years?

  4. Jus' Askin' says:

    And the ‘Little Guy’ is left out again, Thanks OBA ;-)

    • Jus' Wonderin' says:

      How is the little guy left out again? Please explain…

      • Triangle Drifter says:

        The clubs, the bars, the smaller propertys who can’t even have a few machines. Drive around states like Montana or Nevada, machines are everywhere. Even liquor stores.

        • Creamy says:

          But there are other places (lots of them) where you can only gamble in the casinos, and places do not have gaming machines. Gaming machines everywhere is tacky.

        • Jus' Askin' says:

          Thank You as Jus’ Wonderin’, Jus’ Don’t Get It. ;-)

  5. Cafe Au Lait says:

    It was much talked about but I’m certainly glad they did not go in the direction of not allowing Bermudians into the casinos.

    Barring everyone to protect a few people would just not be playing fair. There are people who will lose their money whatever the situation.

    Nothing government can do will protect those few people from this – so why should the rest of us be denied?

    All in all this is a good decision and brings us into the 20th century. Yes, the 20th century. We’re still behind but at least we can start to catch up.

  6. tom cooke says:

    With the soon to be built hotel in st Georges wanting a license, I am sure the greenS would like one for H.P, what about South P… Morgan’s point want one… and I am sure Dock yard would like one for the Amrica’s cup venue.. how are you going to limit the licenseS to only 3….

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      Big mistake IMO if only limited to 3. Not everywhere will want a full service casino. Plenty will want a few machines.

  7. Dread says:

    One casino will work!
    Give a gaming license to any NEW hotel development with a minimum of 300 hotel rooms.
    3 casinos are not sustainable and will cheapen the product!

    • Purple Koolaid says:

      Why would you say that? As a person who enjoys a little blackjack and roulette I seek out casinos wherever I go. Can we expect a Vegas style Maega Casino to be built? Of course not! I have played in small and mid sized casinos on Cruise Ships, in Costa Rica, and Even Vegas. I’ve also played in larger casinos in Vegas, Atlantic City, Kansas, Toronto, Connecticut, Hollywood Florida, and Atlantic City, to name a few. Are the bigger ones better, or classier? Hell No! Monopoly is never a good idea.

  8. Sid says:

    Now we just need a national lottery to fund scholarships.

  9. Jus' Askin' says:

    OBA – Oppressing Bermudians Again ;-)