Row flares up over Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission role

Row flares up over Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission role

Tuesday, March 28, 2017 Posted by Andy McCarron
Chairman hits back after criticism by rebel politicians

The chairman of the Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission has come out fighting after the body was severely criticised by members of the island’s parliament.

Alan Dunch has responded angrily to comments made by rebel politicians Mark Pettingill and Shawn Crockwell who criticised the Commission in Parliament suggesting that the regulator had not increased the “net worth in advancing the gaming product in Bermuda” since its inception.

Dunch explained: “In the 18-month period that the Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission has been fully operable, it has found itself the subject of criticism from time to time, largely from politicians and others who either know not what they speak of or are simply ill informed. Others have their own vested interests. Whilst unfortunate, this is not entirely unexpected given the general lack of in-depth understanding on what is involved in creating a gaming industry from scratch and the natural tendency of people to be impatient.”

Pettingill and Crockwell were voted in as members of the One Bermuda Alliance (OBA) party, which won the 2012 election, but Crockwell resigned last July and Pettingill followed suit earlier this month. Now both stand as independents, leaving both OBA and opposition party PLP with 17 seats each – at least until the election later on this year.

Crockwell had been tourism minister, so was dealing with the casino project as part of his brief, but has been unimpressed at Executive Director of the Gaming Commission Richard Schuetz, who he accused of taking Bermuda down the wrong path.

He later added: “The establishment of a successful casino gaming industry is critical to the continued revitalization of our tourism product and I am mindful that the current public dispute between the Gaming Commission and myself and others is not helpful.”

But Dunch believes that the Commission is being appreciated by people outside of the Assembly. “There are a great many people in Bermuda that understand the efforts that have been made by this Commission to introduce a well-regulated integrated resort casino industry into Bermuda. Although we practice an open door policy, few politicians have made the effort to drop by our offices and gain a better understanding of what we are doing. Certainly Mr. Pettingill has not done so and, since his departure from the Cabinet, nor has Mr. Crockwell.

“While some are determined to shield their activities from the public, we want Bermuda to know we will continue to do our part to ensure transparency and that the best interest of the people of Bermuda prevails. The only clients we are trying to enrich are the people of Bermuda.”

Totally Gaming says: The establishment of the resort casino model in Bermuda is not a small job so it is little wonder that the Gaming Commission has reacted angrily to criticism from Parliament. Gambling is always a sensitive subject politically at the best of times, and given the two politicians also have an axe to grind with their erstwhile colleagues, it can be hard to separate genuine criticism from political point scoring.

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