The government, though, has been happy to give the Bermuda Gaming Commission (BGC) $10 million as part of this year’s budget, allowing it to operate in the 2023-2024 financial year. The money is listed as a guarantee, meaning that the regulator will receive it regardless of how much work there is.
Bermuda’s Gambling Regulator Keeps on Going
This is significantly higher than the contribution that was allocated for the BGC back in 2018 when the commission only received around $500,000 as a guarantee. Like back then, there were no casinos to regulate. In fact, attempts to regulate casinos have been slow if not – completely missing.
Stakeholders are beginning to lose interest, too, as they don’t understand what has caused the limbo. Century Casinos confirmed in January that it would no longer pursue a project that it hoped to bring around to the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club Resort where a casino was supposed to arrive.
St. Regis Bermuda Resort has expressed concerns that the promised casinos, which have guided some of its business decisions over the past years, may not be coming after all – a sobering realization when you consider that the gambling regulator is presently getting more money than the Bermuda Tourism Authority (BTA), which is supposed to attract visitors that translate into profits for the resorts.
The BTA has been allocated only $5 million for the financial year, although tourism is a bigger driver of the state’s bottom line than the non-existent gambling sector. The fact that there are no casinos, though, has not discouraged the BGC from tentatively but firmly adding to its headcount, which now sees 11 people employed from five when the regulator was launched all the way back in 2015.
Naturally, local media has questioned the logic behind investing in a regulator that has failed to muster any significant legislation or a basic framework that can help the government debate the merits of bringing casinos to the territory. For nine years and counting the BGC has produced little or no results.
Why The Delays, Nobody Can Tell
A specific reason as to what has held up the regulator was also not provided. The cause of the problem could not be just festering at the BGC, but also in the government. The first person to head the commission was Richard Schuetz who served a year and who had a salary of $215.000. But concluding his first year in office, he concluded that Bermuda was not really looking to regulate the industry or wasn’t acting very convincing either way.
Yet, the BGC is confident that it can grow even further. 14 positions are available all together, which means 3 more remain to be filled. Interest in bringing casinos seems to be similar to interest in joining the commission, though – there is not much of it. Still, the money keeps flowing.