Bermuda to be new online gambling jurisdiction?

Speculation on whether the North Atlantic island government of Bermuda will decide to offer regulation and licensing to online gambling companies has resurfaced this week in an article in The Royal Gazette, which examines the revenue possibilities using other island ventures in the field as a benchmark.

The article reveals that a $300 000 independent study of various routes by which additional revenues might be raised has been commissioned by the government and is currently being carried out by the Innovation Group. Internet gaming is one of several alternatives being examined, which include casinos and a national lottery.

The Bermudan Premier's press secretary Glenn Jones, declined to provide any further information pending the results of the study, to which the Premier referred during a BBC interview recently.

In the BBC interview, the Premier announced the imminent start of the study, and said that all aspects of the gambling issue would be thoroughly examined. "We are studying everything from Internet gambling to lotteries," he said.

Former Tourism Minister Renee Webb told the newspaper that she backed the study and supports the legalisation of gambling on the island. "You are not legalising gambling but extending what already exists Island-wide," she said. "I supported a national lottery where the benefits go to education, the arts and other national causes similar to the British lottery."

The newspaper points out that Bermuda has two significant economic bases - tourism and international financial services business - and imports 90 percent of its requirements, hence the need to explore alternative new revenue streams.

Bermuda is a British overseas territory in the North Atlantic ocean, located off the east coast of the United States, and around 1770 kilometres northeast of Miami, Florida. It is the oldest and most populous remaining British overseas territory, settled by England a century before the Acts of Union created the United Kingdom of Great Britain. Although commonly referred to in the singular, the sub-tropical territory consists of approximately 138 islands.

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