A referendum to allow gambling in Bermuda will be held within the first three months of 2104. *AFP photo
A referendum to allow gambling in Bermuda will be held within the first three months of 2104. *AFP photo

The gambling referendum will be on the cards for the first quarter of 2014.

Tourism Minister Shawn Crockwell said Government will table the Referendum Act 2013 on Friday, which will contain the question for the highly anticipated referendum on allowing casino gaming in Bermuda. 

The Tourism Minister said this is an exciting time for Bermuda and that approving the introduction of casino gambling may be the game changer that the economy needs. 

Minister Crockwell said in a press release: “The implementation of a regulated and dynamic gaming industry, which includes luxury casinos that cater to our tourists, has the potential of creating a brand new industry for Bermuda which will create new jobs for Bermudians and offer exciting entertainment for our guests. 

“The Cabinet Gaming Committee is in the process of finalizing the Government’s vision for a new gaming industry. 

“Our research shows that if done correctly the introduction of casino style gaming in Bermuda can generate much needed revenue for the Government and provide jobs and even careers for our people.” 

The Minister said casino style gaming has been extremely successful in boosting tourism numbers in Aruba, Bahamas and the Dominican Republic. He added Puerto Rico has generated hundreds of millions of dollars in gaming revenues which has been used to fund their Tourism Authority and provide financial backing for hotel development. 

Minister Crockwell added: “Most, if not all, of our competitors have introduced casino style gaming as an amenity for their tourists in their destinations.  As the Chairman of the Bermuda Tourism Authority recently stated, Bermuda needs to get competitive again.”

The Minister stressed that the Government has done its due diligence in looking at sophisticated networking systems that will allow it to monitor and control this industry.  A Gaming Commission will be established to regulate and oversee gaming and every precaution will be taken to mitigate against any negative impact on society. 

The Minister said: “We strongly believe that we have the intellect and commitment to create an industry that will be beneficial to Bermuda and if we all work together we can ensure that this industry will be successful and possibly the envy of the world.  Singapore has done it and so can we.”