The British Overseas Territory of Bermuda could become the next jurisdiction to license online gambling and tap into a market currently worth over twelve billion dollars a year.
According to a recent piece in The Royal Gazette daily newspaper, the Atlantic Ocean island chain is currently assessing its suitability as a centre for Internet gaming following recent moves by rival jurisdictions including Antigua and Barbuda and Costa Rica. The Government is spending $300,000 on a study from the Innovation Group on the feasibility of licensing Internet gaming alongside other possibilities including legalising land-based casinos and establishing a National Lottery.
Although Premier Ewart Brown has refused to disclose any timeline or exactly what factors the study is looking into, his predecessor as Tourism Minister, Renee Webb, has publicly supported the move.
'I was publicly in support of legalising gambling,” Webb told The Royal Gazette.
“Firstly, because it already exists through bingo, horseracing, football pools and Crown and Anchor. So you are not legalising gambling but extending what already exists Island-wide. I supported a National Lottery where the benefits go to education, the arts and other national causes similar to the British lottery.”
'Bermuda has a history of having had two significant economic bases,” Brown told the BBC World Service.
“One is tourism and the other one is international business. We don't export anything, we import 90 percent of what we consume and so we haven't been able to come up with another pillar for our economy although we are exploring new revenue streams like gaming.”