Bermuda Issues First Casino License

Bermuda Issues First Casino License

The Caribbean island of Bermuda has been waiting for a casino for close to ten years, but the wait is finally over. The Bermuda Gaming Commission awarded the first gaming license to St. Regis Bermuda Resort

However, even though the resort will be able to welcome casino enthusiasts soon, it is still not clear exactly when Bermuda’s first gaming floor will open. The strict approval process and the regulatory hurdles that St. Regis has to clear are expected to take some time.

Despite these obstacles, though, the good news is that the Bermuda Gaming Commission (BGC) has signed off on the first casino license and has already charted the way forward for the St. Regis Bermuda Resort.

A Three-Stage Process

One of the first things the regulator will need to do is convince banks to start working with prospective casinos, which might be easier said than done. Ironically, even though Bermuda is a tax haven, banks harbour money-laundering concerns when it comes to the gambling industry.

According to the BGC, the new casino must put in place internal control mechanisms and form a regulatory compliance committee. Next, all the gaming equipment St. Regis buys must be green-lighted by the BGC. Lastly, all casino employees have to get mandatory training.

Bermuda’s first casino will only open once St. Regis completes this “three-stage process.” Previously, the regulator was hoping for a June approval. However, those plans were scrapped, as they turned out a tad too optimistic, as is often the case with casino projects and licenses.

Huge Potential for Gambling Tourism

As things stand, St. Regis won’t be the only license holder in Bermuda. The Hamilton Princess, the oldest hotel on the island archipelago, has also said that it plans to apply for a gaming license.

Experts claim that once Bermuda’s gambling industry takes off, gaming tax will turn into a significant source of revenue for the Caribbean island country. As you might expect, Bermuda is almost entirely reliant on the financial sector right now. It is responsible for 85% of the country’s GDP.

However, with 500,000 tourists visiting Bermuda a year, most of who are from the USA, it is fair to say that there will be no shortage of tourists frequenting Bermuda’s casinos. 

Another reason why Bermuda’s resorts want to start offering gambling tourism is the fact that this year, tourists stayed longer and spent more money than before.

Compared to 2019, in 2022, Bermuda tourists extended their length of stay by 11% and spent around US$500 more. According to experts, those figures will significantly improve when the first casinos in Bermuda open their doors.

So, all the Bermuda government and the gaming regulator can now do is wait to see how the gaming market in the island archipelago develops. If things go according to plan, Bermuda will become the latest country to go all-in on casino gaming. 

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