Commission’s Alan Dunch: ‘Enough Is Enough’

March 23, 2017

“Enough is enough,” Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission Chairman Alan Dunch said, saying that “no longer can some of these criticisms be ignored, the right thinking people of Bermuda deserve to know the real facts.”

Mr Dunch said, “In the 18-month period that the Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission has been fully operable, it has found itself the subject of criticism from time to time, largely from politicians and others who either know not what they speak of or are simply ill informed. Others have their own vested interests.

“Whilst unfortunate, this is not entirely unexpected given the general lack of in-depth understanding on what is involved in creating a gaming industry from scratch and the natural tendency of people to be impatient. In addition, Bermuda has never made a real effort to regulate the existing gaming products on the Island, so there is a low level of understanding as to what is involved in a well-regulated gaming market.

“The general approach of the Commission, in the face of criticism, has been to keep our heads below the parapet and let the shots be fired over us whilst at the same time getting on with the task of creating this new industry as expeditiously as we can.

“However, enough is enough. No longer can some of these criticisms be ignored – the right thinking people of Bermuda deserve to know the real facts. Here they are…

“Neither Mark Pettingill Nor Shawn Crockwell Have Ever Worked In Casino Business”

“Neither Mark Pettingill nor Shawn Crockwell have ever worked in the casino business or in gaming regulation. To our knowledge they have never published an article on gaming or its regulation in a reputable journal, or lectured on the topic in a University.

“Yet, for some reason they feel capable of defaming the efforts of a great many people on the Island and beyond, who have the extensive experience to back up their positions. I fear this is not driven by a desire to assist the public policy goals of the Island in introducing integrated resort casinos, but to benefit their own self-interest.

“Truth be told, the Commission has spent months working closely with the Bermuda College, many of the Island’s accounting companies, the faith community, the recovery community, the legal community, the charities community, and numerous other segments of Bermudian society to ensure gaming is properly introduced and integrated.

“We have sought help from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, the UK Gaming Commission, the Governor’s Office, the US Consulate, the Nevada Gaming Control Board, and numerous other governmental groups.

“Bermuda’s Financial Intelligence Agency, National Anti-Money Laundering Committee, and the Bermuda Police Service have also collaborated with us. Still it is Mr. Pettingill’s opinion, as stated in the House of Assembly last Friday night, that the Commission should be given a “zero” for our “net worth in advancing the gaming product in Bermuda”.

“In so stating, Mr. Pettingill displays an incredible amount of arrogance and ignorance.He not only insults the Bermudians who sit on the Commission, but also the Executive Director, a man of more than 40 years’ experience in this industry, and the hard working local staff in the Commission offices, a group whom he has yet to take the time to come in and speak with to gain a better understanding of the work that has been done and is ongoing.

“This is not the only thing that has been misrepresented. In November and February during discussions on gaming matters in the House, Mr. Pettingill claimed to be the only person in Bermuda who is a member of the International Association of Gaming Advisors [IAGA].

“I was astounded by this, as I am in fact a member, even attending functions in Las Vegas and London at the invitation of the IAGA. Other members include Minister of Tourism Michael Fahy and Commission staff Debra Blakeney, Julie Grant and Richard Schuetz.

“What strikes me as supremely ironic is that when checking the IAGA website [back in November, February and again on Monday], we cannot find Mr. Pettingill’s name in the listing of members. It appears that Mr. Pettingill was not being honest with his fellow Parlimentarians.

Statements Over Casino Fees Are “Simply Untrue”

“The recent statements made in the House of Assembly by Mr. Pettingill and Mr. Crockwell, under their cloak of parliamentary privilege, over casino fees are simply untrue.

“Not one operator has come to the Commission offices to complain about fees. I recently met in London with a prospective operator that indicated they have absolutely no problem with the fees. Mr. Schuetz [the Executive Director of the Commission] and I both sat down with a representative of the St. George’s hotel project, and when we told the Project Manager the fees he offered no complaint or resistance.

“Doing our due diligence, the Commission has spoken with a number of accredited and well-known international gaming operators as part of our research into fees and taxes – doing so with the view to obtain a better understanding of what may or may not be acceptable in different jurisdictions, taking into account the various factors that influence those jurisdictions.

“I Asked Myself ‘What In The World Is He Talking About?’’

“Other statements attributed to Mr. Crockwell include that the Commission met with an Australian operator, who expressed concerns about the level of fees. When I read this I asked myself ‘what in the world is he talking about?’. I can unequivocally state Mr. Crockwell is wrong. This too would appear to be a misrepresentation designed to further he and his law partner’s agenda, whilst at the same time undermining the integrity, competence, hard work and bona fides of the Commission.

“Mr. Pettingill would do well to remind himself that the Commission that he is so critical of was appointed by his law partner, Mr. Crockwell, against the backdrop of praising their integrity, honesty, and hard work. Is his law partner a man of such poor judgement that he would appoint a group of five people who after 18 months have accomplished zero?

“Mr. Crockwell also suggests that he has received phone calls from a litany of people who are sitting at the table right now, individuals with designated site orders, that said that they were not consulted on the level of fees. I find this surprising given that there are only two entities with designated site orders, and we have spoken to both of them, and neither indicated any complaint about the fees.

Conduct Suggests He Has “Another, More Personal Agenda”

“I have known Mr. Crockwell all of his professional career. I was his Pupil Master and called him to the Bermuda Bar amidst some controversy. He then sat in the office next to me and practiced law alongside me for over six years until he became a Cabinet Minister. Throughout that time, I never doubted or questioned his commitment to the law or to the people of Bermuda. However, his statements of late have left me wondering and in some doubt. His conduct suggests he has another, more personal agenda.

“There are a great many people in Bermuda that understand the efforts that have been made by this Commission to introduce a well-regulated integrated resort casino industry into Bermuda. Although we practice an open door policy, few politicians have made the effort to drop by our offices and gain a better understanding of what we are doing. Certainly Mr. Pettingill has not done so and, since his departure from the Cabinet, nor has Mr. Crockwell.

“While some are determined to shield their activities from the public, we want Bermuda to know we will continue to do our part to ensure transparency and that the best interest of the people of Bermuda prevails. The only clients we are trying to enrich are the people of Bermuda.”

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Comments (22)

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  1. skeptic says:

    Thank you !

    • Nanny Pat says:

      Agree. Well said Mr. Dunch. That said, it is sad that Mr. Dunch had to take time to respond to these shady individuals. Let’s be done with this now. No need for the shady duo to respond. Done and dusted.

      (PS: I don’t have a stand on gaming in BDA because I don’t know enough about it so I won’t say anything pro or con. Perhaps others who know nothing should do the same.)

  2. Acegurl says:

    Mr Dunch, you are to be commended for such a well written and comprehensive report. It is more than apparent that the major critics of the Gaming Commission have their own agendas. Their actions speak for themselves. Keep up the good work!

  3. Proud Bermuda Onion says:

    Thank you for your due diligence!

  4. Huh? says:

    Its Clear where their interests lie (pun intended)

    “Sugar is more addictive Than Cocaine, we should tax it”
    “Don’t tax Gambling too much because it could scare investors away”
    -Pettingill

    Isn’t Gambling addictive too?!? No one is loan sharking to get money for BubbleGum.

  5. wahoo says:

    Well said I hope that makes the two of them feel some sense of shame. It sure does sound as if the two buddies have perhaps made some promises that they are fighting to keep.

  6. foah says:

    Ouch – talk about putting them in their place!

  7. just wondering says:

    As I recall didn’t the gaming act require something like 80 amendments to it? That as I recall was due to the work of the Commission pointing out the numerous mistakes in the legislation that the then Minister (Crockwell) proposed based on the Singapore model – which he wanted – seems odd for him to be so critical of a mess that he played a large part in making

  8. Do Right says:

    David Burt, Zane Desilva, Mark Pettingill, Shawn Crockwell……Ewarts team…..connect the dots

    • Double S says:

      Functional unity…

    • Do Right says:

      You might not like what I said but it is the truth. The irony is that all 5 men would not deny it, in fact, they make no apologies for it!

  9. Truth is killin' me... says:

    Worry about the sharks on the land and not in the sea. They wear suits and smile through sunglasses!

  10. Stinky D. says:

    I wonder if Crockwell and Petingill were still OBA would these things have been said about them

  11. San George says:

    We already have casinos that serve a useful purpose – Insurance Companies. Gaming casinos serve no useful purpose other than to fleece the vulnerable. Mark, Shawn and Dunch will not be the victims of this – those least capable will be victimized.

  12. Revelations says:

    EXACTLY. And the entire “going independent” by the two of them was significantly motivated by their ultimate (personal) agendas. Just waaaaatch who their new clients are….

  13. Sage says:

    Pettingall didn’t impress me as a defense attorney either.

  14. Cow Polly says:

    Alan Dunch for Premier as leader of the non-political Enough is Enough party. Gets my vote.

  15. Rasta says:

    Crockwell and Pettingill,should leave the setting up of casinos to the professionals!

  16. Clare says:

    Well said, Mr Dunch! I’ve seen first hand the work you, Mr Schuetz, Ms Grant, Ms Blakeney, and the rest of your team have been doing to consult with many stakeholders, operators, local companies, and frankly anyone who expresses interest. I’ve found you all to be open, determined to help create jobs for Bermudians, and to do this with integrity, while finding and reducing the risks to the whole jurisdiction including problem gambling and money laundering. It’s far more complex a task than it looks from the outside, and I’m grateful for all your work, as a Bermudian who believes in Bermuda. Please keep pushing ahead.

  17. Y-Gurl says:

    What a joke, typical Bermuda……gambling is 20 years past it’s “best by” date but we will never learn, it’s a dying industry in a lot of established jurisdictions and yes certain people will get very rich from it but it’s far from being the magic bullet for Bermuda

  18. craps says:

    well said but for gods sake get on with it before the train leaves the now empty station. we may have missed the boat already