Tourism Minister Jamahl Simmons maintains the new legislation for Bermuda’s “fledgling gaming industry”, brings the Island on line with other jurisdictions.
The legislation tabled by the Minister on Friday, gives him the power to sack Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission Chairman Alan Dunch, and broadens the power of politicians over the governing of local casinos.
The Chairman’s contract expires in May 2019. Mr Dunch has maintained that he doesn’t intend to resign any time soon, and that there is no statutory rules in place to form the basis of his removal.
In a statement released to Bermuda Real last night, a Ministry spokesperson said: “The Casino Gaming Amendment 2017 tabled by the Minister on Friday brings Bermuda in alignment with other jurisdictions in terms of allowing the Government to provide policy direction and allow the Minister to remove members of the Commission who do not follow legal directions of the Government.
“This mirrors Singapore Gaming Legislation as seen in that jurisdiction’s Casino Control Act (Chapter 33A) Clause 11, Schedule 1.
“It is unfortunate that there remains individuals committed to dragging Bermuda’s reputation through the mud, irrespective of the facts and irrespective of the damage such systematic misinformation campaigns could inflict upon Bermuda,” the spokesperson added.
The proposed amendment states: “The minister may at any time revoke the appointment of a member who is unable or unwilling to perform his duties as a member, or in such other circumstances as the minister considers appropriate.”
The amendment allows Government to give policy direction to the Casino Gaming Commission, and would not interfere with independent investigations by the commission, or the enforcement of Bermuda’s gaming laws.
The new Bill empowers the Minister, after consultation with the commission, to “give general directions to the commission as to the policy to be followed in the achievement of the objects of the commission under this section”, and “the commission shall give effect to any general directions given by the minister”.