Betting shops to be regulated by BCGC

  • Government revenue: betting shops paid $1.7 million in tax in the financial year 2015-16

Betting shops are to be regulated by the Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission in the future — but the commission is not in charge of them yet.

Jamahl Simmons, the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism, told the House of Assembly on February 9 that responsibility for managing and regulating betting shops would soon be transferred to the commission.

He said it was expected that all gaming would eventually be regulated and supervised by the body under the leadership of new commission chairwoman Cheryl-Ann Mapp.

A week later, ministerial responsibility for the betting shops was shifted from David Burt, the Premier and Minister of Finance, to Mr Simmons.

The latter has yet to table an amendment to the Casino Gaming Act 2014 to bring betting shops under its umbrella.

In the meantime, bookmaker’s and pool betting agent licences are still being dealt with by the Betting Licensing Authority, with Mr Simmons’s ministry responsible for carrying out financial background checks on licence applicants.

The Royal Gazette asked the Premier, the Ministry of Economic Development and Tourism, and the BCGC a raft of questions about regulation of the betting industry last month.

A spokeswoman for Mr Burt said on April 5: “The Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission remains under the Ministry of Economic Development and Tourism. Additionally, betting will fall under the gaming commission.”

A Ministry of Economic Development and Tourism spokeswoman said on April 17: “We don’t have anything further to add at this point. I believe the best group to answer these questions is the gaming commission.”

Deborah Blakeney, general counsel for the commission, said on April 27: “The Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission does not regulate betting shops and, as such, we respectfully direct you to address your questions to the chair of the Betting Licensing Authority.”

Authority chairman Juan Wolffe was unavailable for an interview.

* Update: Mr Burt told a press conference today: “Betting shops are now under the purview of the casino gaming commission and they will regulate that area as necessary.”