UBP MPs Charlie and Kim Swan. *File photo
UBP MPs Charlie and Kim Swan. *File photo

FRIDAY, DEC. 30: A mini-poll on casinos in the Southampton West Central constituency is shaping up the same way as a similar survey in the east end, says MP Charles Swan.

Mr Swan said preliminary results showed nearly three-quarters of those polled backed a change in the law to allow casino-style gambling on the island.

He added: “I didn’t really know what to expect – but it doesn’t surprise me. People realise we have to do something to make our tourism more appealing.

“But people clearly want extremely strict controls on it – we must be cognizant of the detrimental social consequences as well.”

Mr Swan has spoken to around 3.5 per cent of his constituents so far — with 71 per cent in favour of legislation to allow gaming and only 13 per cent against. A total of 16 per cent are undecided.

He said: “I know it’s a small sample so far, but I think there is a definite trend towards things like casinos.”

Mr Swan has surveyed around 40 people in the constituency so far.

He added that it was clear from follow-up comments that it was thought that jobs would be created by casinos.

Mr Swan said: “We need not go full bore right away for on-shore gaming.

“We could start off small and build a base, say with a national lottery or hosting an online gaming firm, all with controls and a Gaming Commission.”

MP Kim Swan, who is carrying out a similar poll in his St George’s West constituency, said: “There definitely seems to be something of a trend. Charlie’s constituency is very different from mine, but there definitely seems to be a shift in opinion.”

Kim Swan – who has surveyed around seven per cent of St George’s West, has found 63 per cent in favour of legalising gambling, with 22 per cent against and 15 per cent undecided.

Charles Swan said that allowing gaming on board cruise ships docked in Bermuda was “a tough question” – but that ships could be allowed to open their casinos after a certain time at night and be asked to share revenue with Bermuda.

He added: “I believe that a multi-party approach needs to be used to explore the entire issue from research to implementation, including the private sector. An independent exploratory committee should be considered.”