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Bermuda Mulls Online Gambling Option

Written by:
Jagajeet Chiba
Published on:
Oct/30/2008
Bermuda

The Bermuda government has suggested it is interested in entering the multi billion dollar online gambling industry, but at what price?

The current climate for Internet gambling is tumultuous to say the least.  Countries from the United States to those throughout Europe have imposed laws against the activity.

"The Island is currently assessing its suitability as a centre of Internet gaming, following a path taken by rival jurisdictions including Antigua and Barbuda and Costa Rica," writes Tim Smith of the Royal Gazette.

Several years ago, Antigua turned to Internet gambling - a $12 billion global business - as a way to end its reliance on tourism, a problem Premier Ewart Brown is equally keen to solve in Bermuda, Smith adds.

Bermuda could prove a great location not just to US entrepreneurs but also to European operators should the United States government lift current restrictions on the activity once a new administration enters into office.

Flying time between Bermuda and New York is just over two hours. 

The Premier, through his press secretary Glenn Jones, has refused to give any information about what we could expect to see in Bermuda, or to confirm exactly what he had in mind when he announced Innovation would determine Bermuda's suitability as a centre of Internet gaming.

Dr. Brown's predecessor as Tourism Minister, Renee Webb, backed the study, telling The Royal Gazette: "I was publicly in support of legalising gambling. Firstly, because it already exists through bingo, horse-racing, football pools and Crown and Anchor.

"So you are not legalising gambling but extending what already exists Islandwide. I supported a national lottery where the benefits go to education, the arts and other national causes similar to the British lottery.

"With respect to casinos, I supported them in principle as sophisticated entertainment centres - containing restaurants, shows, and gambling tables.

"These forms of gambling endeavour exist worldwide in places that once outlawed gambling, such as Sri Lanka, Egypt, and Caribbean islands. In these cases it is not widespread but restricted to certain areas like hotels."

Ms Webb said she had two feasibility studies done in her time as a Minister and met with at least two groups who were interested in opening operations in Bermuda. The Premier also mentioned the feasibility study in an interview with the BBC World Service while on his current trip to the UK.

 

Jagajeet Chiba, Gambling911.com

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