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Bermuda Passes Casino Gaming Amendment Act

- December 5, 2016 By Oliver Young -

All operators will have to go through a three stage application process.

The new Act provides more detailed guidelines regarding casino establishment on the island.

Bermuda is an island in the Sargasso Sea and one of the British overseas territories. This island passed a Casino Gaming Act in 2014, which was supposed to legalise casino gaming in the country. The logic behind the adoption of this act was that it would bring higher tourism profits and that it will open new jobs on the island.

But, even though gambling was formally legalised with the 2014 Act, casinos haven’t yet been established. Moreover, the original law was far from clear on matters regarding sports betting and daily fantasy sports. Bermudan lawmakers soon realised that the law had to be amended and a new Casino Gaming Amendment Act was drafted and proposed this year. The Amendment Act was passed and now we can expect a more hands-on approach.

The Casino Gaming Act of 2014 Wasn’t Detailed Enough

The fact that the law had to be amended is not at all surprising. Many countries, including countries where gambling has, more or less, always been legal, like the UK, pass and enact amendments of their gambling laws. The law from 2014 enabled the establishment of the Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission, an organisation modelled on the UK Gambling Commission and similar licencing bodies, whose role is to provide “licencing, supervision and control” of casinos.

Under the provisions of the law, the Gaming Commission was allowed to issue three casinos licences to relevant organisations. Bermuda also invited Richard Schuetz to assume the position of Executive Director of the newly established body. Schuetz previously worked as a commissioner for the Californian Gaming Commission, a man with over four decades of experience in the casino gaming industry.

Before the law was passed, polls were conducted and most of them showed that Bermudans are staunch supporters of casino legalisation. The results of one poll showed that over 70% of the people on the island were in favour of legalisation. All studies underlined the economic benefits from the legalisation, including an expected boost of tourism revenue and creation of new jobs for the locals.

Three Stage Application Process for Casino Operators

The goal of the Amendment Act that was just passed is to give a more detailed and more precise legal framework that will enable the establishment of casinos in the country.

Bermuda will implement a 3 stage application process and every company which would like to obtain a licence will have to pass all three stages. Initially the companies would obtain a provisional licence, but that licence won’t allow them to start offering gambling services, but merely to start working on a construction project for a new casino.

The new Act also has provisions regarding so called ‘problem gambling’. A council will be established and its purpose would be to ensure that casinos are well aware of the problem and know how to deal with people who are considered to be problem gamblers.

There will be designated areas where players would be allowed to gamble on their mobile devices, but real money gambling won’t be available to those who are physically outside the designated areas. No operator based in the country would be able to offer online gambling, except in the case where the players are actually on the premises.

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