* Photo by Fairmont. The Fairmont brand already operates two casinos, including the Fairmont Monte Carlo's Sun Casino pictured here.
* Photo by Fairmont. The Fairmont brand already operates two casinos, including the Fairmont Monte Carlo's Sun Casino pictured here.
The UBP has urged Premier Dr. Brown to drop his gambling push and focus on crime and the economy.

The majority of MPs failed to support the Green Paper on gambling in Friday's parliamentary debate.

And deputy opposition leader Trevor Moniz believes it is now time for the issue to be shelved.

A Government green paper, based on a consultant's report and analysis from a locally based 'task force', had argued that the introduction of gambling would add 3,000 new jobs and $150 million annually to the economy.

The idea - which included an option for larger hotels to introduce casinos - had gained widespread support from hoteliers and within the ailing tourism industry.

But the churches and ultimately the majority of MPs, including deputy premier Paula Cox and a host of her PLP colleagues, were opposed.

Dr Brown, who will relinquish the PLP leadership in October, would not commit to shelving the issue completely this week.

Asked if the gambling debate was now dead, he said: "We will continue to move forward with the Government's agenda and will continue to use the customary mechanism of bringing bills to the House.

"Any bill that does not secure the support of the Caucus will not be brought to Parliament."

He added that he still believed gambling was something Bermuda should consider and lamented the lack of support.

"I believe that gaming would provide an added amenity for our visitors, generate jobs and add millions of dollars to our economy.

"Whether popular a stance or not, I believe that it is important, not only for us to examine all options but to have open, frank and mature discussions on those options. While I had hoped the Green Paper on gaming would find favour with members of parliament this was not to be."

But Mr Moniz admonished the Premier for even bringing the green paper to the House without the support of his party. And he said the debate highlighted an obvious split within Dr Brown's government.

"We were astounded by the turn of events on Friday when it became clear the Premier's promotion of casinos for Bermuda had meagre support from his own government.

"It is incredible to us that this issue - powered by a significant investment in time, money and political capital - remained at the top of the Government's agenda with the island facing what we consider to be the most serious of threats to our way of life - the onslaught of gang-related gun violence.

"How this initiative made it to the House of Assembly without the support of a majority of MPs and Cabinet ministers raises serious questions about the integrity of the decision-making process within the PLP caucus and the Cabinet."