Government officials say Marriott’s plan to launch a casino at the St. Regis Bermuda Resort remains in place. (Courtesy of Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon)
Bermuda’s premier said he is confident in the “commitment” of St. Regis Bermuda Resort officials to launch a casino at the property following a meeting last week among government officials, the hotel’s owners and a representative of the proposed casino operator.
The St. Regis Bermuda was granted the island’s first casino license in October, however, the company has not yet announced when the facility will open. If launched this year, the St. Regis Bermuda Resort’s casino would be the territory’s first.
Bermuda initially authorized resort-based casinos in 2014, creating the Bermuda Gaming Commission (BCGC) the same year. However earlier this month, gaming firm Century Casinos canceled plans to operate a casino at Bermuda’s Hamilton Princess & Beach Club resort, citing BCGC’s failure to establish an operating framework.
Hamilton Princess officials confirmed Century will no longer participate in developing a casino at the resort. The hotelier has halted hiring a new operator “while we await a clearer roadmap from [BCGC] on a viable path forward,” said officials in a January 30 Bermuda Royal Gazette report.
Nevertheless, Bermuda officials said the St. Regis’ casino plans remain on track. “I continue to be impressed by the commitment of St. Regis to introducing a casino,” said David Burt, Bermuda’s premier, in a January 29 statement. “Our discussion examined legislative and practical ways to achieve that shared goal.”
“The St Regis Hotel is a valuable addition to Bermuda’s tourism product and the government enjoys a constructive working relationship with the owners,” added Vance Campbell, Bermuda’s minister of tourism.
Campbell described the January 27 meeting as “an opportunity to hear from them on the hotel’s operations and some additional thoughts on the coming season.”
While a government spokesman further described the discussions as “frank and extremely useful,” officials did not reveal when a casino might open at the resort.
Meanwhile, Burt dismissed local critics of Bermuda’s long wait for to green-light its first casino, viewed by tourism stakeholders as a potential boon to travel to the destination. “It is ridiculous to suggest the government has not invested time and effort into achieving gaming for Bermuda,” said Burt.
He said government officials have “met with banks [and] worked with hoteliers, responding positively to the economic realities of the pandemic, compounded by the delays in gaming licensing.”
Burt said his administration has also “conferred with [BGC]’s executive team on striking the necessary balance between encouraging gaming and doing so with an appropriate regulatory regime.”
“We have been determined to understand and act on issues that have delayed gaming for Bermuda,” he added. “Those efforts will continue as we collaborate with all parties to deliver on this economic imperative.”