Minister of Economic Development and Tourism, Jamahl Simmons told MPs that the process of developing casino regulations that “hit a stumbling block” under the previous leadership, “have now been removed by the new Gaming Commission”.
In a Ministerial Statement delivered in the House yesterday, Mr Simmons said the regulations will be enacted in three phases “without further delay”.
He noted that “casino gaming in Bermuda cannot move forward without the enactment of a casino operational framework”, which is “contained in the draft Regulations that were presented to the previous Government prior to the last General Election”.
“In fact, the Attorney General’s chambers and the Commission have agreed that, for expediency and without sacrificing due diligence in the drafting process, that the prudent way forward would be to complete the drafting and enactment of the regulatory package, under the negative resolution procedure, in three phases,” the Minister said.
He stressed that the regulation package, “in its entirety, must be enacted prior to any casino commencing operations”.
“Without them, the Commission will not be able to fulfill its role as the supervisory and regulatory body and a casino cannot operate.”
Regulations that must be completed immediately will be carried out in the first phase “for the commission to commence the suitability stage of the licensing process”.
“The second phase has been identified as comprising six sets of Regulations which must be enacted prior to the beginning of the construction phase of the casino. These will regulate and facilitate the construction of, and the procurement of systems for the casino premises.
“The final phase will see the enactment of the remaining Regulations. They must be enacted prior to the completion of construction and the opening of a casino,” he added.
There are 19 sets of draft regulations in total, including provisions for a casino’s internal control policies.
“These internal control policy regulations would govern co-operation agreements between the Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission and other foreign gaming regulatory bodies,” said Mr Simmons.
“They relate to the exchange of information for the purposes of investigations and suitability inquiries.
“These regulations seek to protect the confidentiality of any exchanged information.”
He noted that regulations are also being finalized to make provisions relating to the approval of the Commission of:
- vendors and other contracts which the casino enters into;
- the licensing of employees,
- marketing agents,
- gaming vendors and equipment,
- the provision of monitoring of patron accounts,
- patron credit and issues such as problem and responsible gaming,
- exclusion orders,
- dispute resolution,
- disciplinary procedures; to
- the role and functions of the casino’s compliance committee as examples.
In closing, the Minister “reiterated” the Government’s commitment “to delivering on its promise of establishing casino gaming in Bermuda for the purposes of increasing employment, investment and tourism on the Island”.