Timeline: Gambling, Casinos, Laws, Allegations

February 19, 2014

The topic of casinos continues to dominate the headlines, with controversy swirling after allegations about a casino licence were made by the Opposition Leader and subsequently denied by the Premier.

Casinos are presently not permitted under Bermuda law, however with the decision set to be made in Parliament it is seen as likely that the law will change, and casinos will be introduced to Bermuda.

The topic of gambling and the correlated laws have been debated by politicians for years, and some of that process is laid out below in a chronological timeline, along with aspects of the present controversy.

The other political controversy — the recording  — is a separate matter so not included in this timeline, which in no way represents every single move on gambling, and starts from the beginning of our archives.

March 2010: Former Premier Tables Green Paper On Gambling [Link]

Former Premier Dr Ewart Brown tables a Green Paper on gaming in Bermuda which was done by the New Orlean’s based Innovation Group. The paper [PDF] said gambling could add nearly 3,000 jobs and over $100 million a year to Bermuda’s economy.

May 2010: BDA and UBP Have Differing Positions On Gaming

The now defunct Bermuda Democratic Alliance and United Bermuda Party [which later merged to form the OBA] take different positions on gaming. The BDA said [link] they support the “concept of gaming in Bermuda,” while the UBP said [link] they “do not believe the small potential benefits of gambling cited by the Government out-weigh the substantial risks to the social fabric.”

May 2010: MPs Debate Gaming, Majority Are Against [Link]

MPs debate the topic, with the majority of MPs speaking against gaming. 20% were for gaming, 65.71% were against, 5.71% were unclear, and 8.57% of MPs were not present for the debate. Around half of the MPs who took part in that debate are no longer sitting in the House as of 2014.

Jan 2012: Former Administration Explore Changing Cruise Casino Policy [Link]

The laws at this time restricted cruise ships from opening their casinos in port, and former Transport Minister Derrick Burgess said “The possibility of opening the Casinos in port is an option that I will explore with my Cabinet colleagues.”

June 2012: PLP Table Referendum Act In Parliament [Link]

The former Government table the Referendum Act 2012, with former Premier Paula Cox saying it would be “followed by a referendum on gaming in Bermuda in due course.”

Dec 2012: One Bermuda Alliance Elected [Link]

The OBA swept the PLP from power after 14 years, winning a 19-17 victory at the polls and 52% of the popular vote [15,928 votes to 14,186]. During the campaign, they pledged to hold a referendum on casinos.

March 2013: “Jetgate” Occurs [Link]

Premier Craig Cannonier, Attorney General Mark Pettingill and Tourism Minister Shawn Crockwell flew to Washington via a private jet, with recent reports indicating a 4th person was also on the flight. The Premier said he was contacted by a “wealthy individual from Maryland” who had “extensive experience in the gaming industry and wanted to share with the Government his views regarding gaming’s potential to help revitalize our tourism industry and generate jobs…”

April 2013: Report About Cancelling The Referendum Delivered To Minister [Link]

An internal report, which was subsequently leaked to the press, was delivered to Minister Shawn Crockwell about the ramifications and circumstances of possibly cancelling the gambling referendum.

May 2013: Minister Says Referendum Will Be In Summer or Fall [Link]

Speaking in the House of Assembly, Minister Crockwell said, “This Government will lay the gaming referendum bill this session and we expect to hold a referendum at the end of summer or beginning of fall.”

Sept 2013: Alleged Meeting Between Opposition Leader and Premier

According to Opposition Leader Marc Bean, he and the Premier held a meeting in September 2013, with the allegations that appear further into this timeline alleged to have stemmed from this September meeting.

Oct 2013: MPs Pass Cruise Ship Casino Bill [Link]

A Bill allowing cruise ships to keep their casinos open at night while docked in Bermuda is passed by Parliamentarians, with MPs from both side of the aisle voting in favour of it.

Nov 2013: Referendum Bill tabled in the House of Assembly [Link]

The Bill said the question to be posed would be: “Do you favour the introduction of regulated casino gaming for the purposes of creating new jobs for Bermudians and encouraging hotel development.” The phrasing drew criticism from the PLP and BEST.

Dec 2013: Premier Announced There Will Not Be A Referendum [Link]

Premier Craig Cannonier announced at a press conference there would not be a referendum on gambling, and the matter will be decided by a vote in Parliament, citing the Opposition’s “threat to disrupt the referendum.” The PLP denied any such threat.

Jan 2014: Petition Launched Calling For Government To Hold A Referendum [Link]

An online petition and website was launched calling for the Government to hold a referendum on casinos by former Independent political candidate Jonathan Starling, former UBP Leader Kim Swan, BEST Chairman Stuart Hayward and Michael Ashton.

Jan 2014: Minister Announces Integrated Casino Resort Model [Link]

Minister Shawn Crockwell said that Government has decided to embrace the “integrated casino resort model” for Bermuda [casinos at hotel properties] similar to the Aruban and Singaporean casino models.

Jan 2014: Two Ministers Travel To Singapore [Link]

Minister Shawn Crockwell, Attorney-General Mark Pettingill and a technical officer all traveled Singapore where they met with various entities to discuss gaming models.

Feb 2014: Allegations Made About Premier & Casino Licence [Link]

In the House of Assembly, Opposition Leader Marc Bean alleged the Premier told him a developer was willing to make an “upfront payment” for a casino licence,” while Opposition MP David Burt also made allegations about the Premier.

Feb 2014: Premier Denies Mr. Bean’s Allegations [Link]

Premier Cannonier strongly refuted the allegations made by Mr. Bean, calling them “bold faced lies”,”utter nonsense,” “below the belt” and “simply untrue.” The two Cabinet Ministers named by Mr. Bean also refute the allegations.

Feb 2014: Premier Sends Legal Letter To MP [Link]

A lawyer acting on behalf of Premier Cannonier sends a legal letter to Opposition MP David Burt alleging that his statements were defamatory, with Mr. Burt saying he stands by what he said.

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Comments (14)

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  1. BetttyTrump says:

    Looks like the UBPoba have not been TRANSPARENT OR HONEST IN REGARDS TO THIS MATTER. THEY HAVE EGG ALL OVER THIER FACES…It is hard for them to have a straight face or look into someone eyes with out feeling uncomfortable…if one studies the timeline and information carefully…..oooh TRANSPARENCY REALLY…..do not forget the REPORT commission by M. Cockwell…early in the entire timeline, which was not revealed until last week. ….as the chess pieces continue to move slowly…..

  2. Betty Trump says:

    The timeline is great to see the outline of events. It does point out that the government has failed to be Transparent in regards to this key issue, and deny folks their right to have a say on this matter.

  3. me says:

    Excellent work Bernews!!What a great help, as usual…

  4. Gotham says:

    Once a casino(s) is a fait-accompli, whoever is in charge can hardly revoke or renegotiate the terms and conditions. It is this that Bean, his boss and various other interested associates must find most distressing. Too bad, you had nearly fifteen years to sort this particular issue out and completely and utterly failed.

  5. My two cents says:

    What is unusual about M. Crockwell asking for a report on the consequences of dropping a referendum after Mark Bean stated the PLP’s support for a decision being made in the House, rather than by referendum, as the OBA previously stated? That’s missing from the timeline, by the way…

    March 2013: Opposition Leader calls for the Government to drop the referendum

    “Forget the referendum. Let’s just make a decision now. If Government says it is within our national interests to avoid the cost, expenses and hassle of a referendum, and you want to make a decision — just bring it, man. You will have our full support. Bring it. Bring it.” – Marc Bean

  6. swing voter says:

    I’m no fan of the UBP but they knew how to keep unemployment low and the trickle down consistent….the OBA will do the same….with a twist that more common folk will benefit…I’m willing to take a risk on them. the alternative has already damaged the goose and the OBA are simply trying to repair that damage….I’ll stick with the lesser of the two political evils for now….

  7. What an effin joke says:

    Its not too short before the PLP will return as the Government after all this alleged corruption.Back to the polls and bye-bye OBA.
    Release the hounds….I mean the tapes!!

    • LOL (original TM*) says:

      So did everyone on here hear the interview with Minister Cockwell?


      • more than enough says:

        i did. his explanation about the jet gate scandal was weak at best.he also claimed that the report about cancelling the referendum didn’t cost anything, although when coaxed, admitted it was done by an employee of his, and yes, of the government. he went on to say that only he had seen this report, something that i find hard to believe. this after all is the type of document or business plan that should, and would be shared with his colleagues. considering, after the fact, it seems that many of the strategies outlined therein have indeed been implemented. craig had to have seen this document…after all, he heard the recording with nandi and marc, which apparently is more personal and shawn said that he has read transcripts of the recording. he said a lot about the pro golfer too. i wonder if the premier will take legal action on shawn next.

        • more than enough says:

          he also said that m&p workers wanted to meet with him, and it was outside of his remit. this could have been avoided.
          communication… did we not learn this the other day?

  8. john doe says:

    Plp recked this island all those years bringing in stars for the jazz festival thats were Bermuda money is gone. If the OBA choose to have gambling here ibsay let them more money coming in more jobs. PlP take a seat.

    • What an effin joke says:

      How is gamgling going to produce more jobs?? If you haven’t realized most of our visitors come from countries were they already have gambling.How many people that you know of that cant wait to come to Bermuda to gamble. Haha The only money that will be coming in is peoples rent,grocery and mortgage money because the only way for the casino to survive is if its open to Bermudians. Remember we don’t have the numbers in tourism alone for a casino to be sustainable.This is a fact! I have worked in the casino business before!

  9. OMG says:

    Really Bermuda? Here we go with negative green shirt crew. Destroy Bermuda and the progress we have made. Everyone is looking but we all know that you like to keep your people (my people) down. So, with that continue with all this crap. I try and be objective but it’s getting harder and harder. I take people as I find them and respect people for what they bring to the table. So far, I just drama and people looking for crap to (female dog) about. I need facts and proof and even then it depends if it all really matters.

    We have to remember this is politics and these type things happen; this is the opposition’s job. I’ve see it happen all over the world and Bermuda is no different.

    Before we are quick to judge I would weigh it all out and wait for proof. Who really cares if a fourth person was on the plane?????? I really don’t care. I do not believe that the Premier was doing this for personal gain either………….like we are able and intelligent people.

    I am not convinced that the Premier said what Marc is acusing him of saying and I like Marc. I must say I am getting very irritated at the way he is communicating though. I think Marc made comments to Nandi and he has been pushed in a corner and he is lashing out. That shows me a lot about a person. Sorry Marc you lost me on this one.