The Tourism Minister has welcomed a new poll that shows a little more than half of Bermudian voters support casino gaming.

The survey, conducted by Profiles of Bermuda, shows 51.2 per cent of voters favor bringing casino gambling to the island. That’s up from 45.6 per cent in 2012.

“The result of this poll is very encouraging and shows that the majority of voters polled support the Government in introducing casino gaming as part of an integrated resort,” said Tourism Minister Shawn Crockwell. “This Government is committed to reviving our economy through foreign investment and encouraging job creation. We have made great progress on this mandate and hope to see some real progress on the construction of a new resort in St. George’s which may include a casino.”

The percentage of those polled who were opposed to casino gambling remained the same at 43 percent. However, those unsure of casino gambling dropped from 11.1 percent to 6.1 percent. The survey was conducted between March 20 and May 18 of this year; 375 people were polled.

The margin of error for the survey is 5 per cent, something local activist Jonathan Starling, who was one of the driving forces behind a petition seeking to have a casino gambling referendum was sure to highlight. The government has walked back a campaign pledge to  put the issue before voters.

Currently, said Mr Starling, it’s not possible to make an informed choice about casino gambling in Bermuda.

“We’ve yet to have a full appreciation of the pros and cons, the true costs and benefits, of introducing casino gambling,” said Mr Starling.

He added, “While these polls indicate a slight majority in favour of casino gambling now, a large minority are opposed.  By ditching the referendum almost half of the population has been alienated and denied a say, despite having been promised one in the 2012 election.”