Bermuda’s gaming industry is based on an integrated resort model, which means that a casino must be a part of a resort as one of its amenities. There will be no standalone casino’s in Bermuda.
The Casino Gaming Act 2014 (the Act) defines an ‘integrated resort’ as – (a) a proposed development comprising hotel, retail, dining, entertainment, recreation and other facilities of which a casino may be a part, but does not include an extension, alteration or other redevelopment of an existing tourist resort; or (b) an existing tourist resort comprising a hotel with not fewer than 200 rooms available for sleeping accommodation, retail, dining, entertainment, recreation and other facilities, and of which a casino may be a part;
The regulatory process to secure an integrated resort casino licence in Bermuda involves the following steps:
- Once a prospective property falls within the definition of an ‘existing tourist resort’ or a ‘proposed development’ the owner of that property can apply for the property to be designated as a Designated Site. The Designated Site Stage, is where the existing resort or planned development is identified as being eligible to accommodate an integrated resort casino and a Designated Site Order is granted. The fee for this application is $50,000. and is non-refundable.
- nce a site has been Designated by an Order, the next step is to make an application for a Casino Licence via an application pursuant to section 31 of the Act. The application must be made by either the owner of a Designated Site or any other person nominated by the owner of that site, subject to the approval of the Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission (the Commission). That application must be accompanied by the non-refundable Casino Licence Application Fee in the sum of $600,000.00 . The Application stage has two distinct parts
The RFP Phase, designed to screen the proposed developmental and operational plans of those qualified designated sites making an application for a casino licence, to ascertain that they satisfy the public policy goals of the Act, and to assess and rank the proposed business models as against other applicants and integrated resort casinos worldwide. This process culminates in the awarding of a provisional gaming license(s) by the Commission. The non-refundable Provisional Gaming Licence Fee is $ 1.4 Million dollars.
The Suitability Phase, where a robust analysis is performed to help ensure that all individuals or entities involved with the project offer the highest standards of character, honesty, and integrity; and are free from any past or present inappropriate associations. The suitability examination is thorough, investigating all aspects of the entities and individuals associated with the application. This involves a complete investigation of the personal, business, criminal and civil history of the people and entities involved in the endeavor, as well as a rigorous examination of the financial history and circumstances of all individuals and entities. (NB The applicant will be responsible for all costs associated with any investigation into suitability undertaken by the Commission). It is only at the conclusion of this last phase that a casino licence will be granted permitting the offering of gaming to the public. The non-refundable Casino Gaming Licence Fee is $ 1 Million dollars. There is also an Annual Licence Fee of up to $1 Million Dollars based upon the Gross Gaming Revenue of the Casino.
The Act allows for the Commission to grant up to three provisional licences, in addition to the legislatively approved provisional licence granted to the Developer of the site located in St. George’s Parish, yielding a potential of four licenced integrated resort casinos on the Island.