Norwegian Cruise Line boss, Kevin Sheehan, previously warned his firm would consider re-deploying its mega ship, Norwegian Breakaway, pictured, if liners were not allowed to open casinos in port in Bermuda. *Image supplied
Norwegian Cruise Line boss, Kevin Sheehan, previously warned his firm would consider re-deploying its mega ship, Norwegian Breakaway, pictured, if liners were not allowed to open casinos in port in Bermuda. *Image supplied

FRIDAY, JANUARY 11: Government looks to set to tackle the crunch issue of cruise ship gambling in port.

Cruise lines have long made it clear that lifting the ban on passenger gambling would make the Bermuda route much more appealing.

New tourism Minister Shawn Crockwell tells the Sun that a decision could come before Government tackles, through a referendum, the national issue of on-island gaming.

Mr Crockwell acknowledges that the issue appears to be a “deal-breaker” for some cruise lines when they look at whether or not to send their liners to Bermuda.

Norwegian Cruise Line told the Bermuda Sun yesterday it wants to work with the new Government. A spokesperson said: “As Bermuda’s largest cruise partner, we look forward to working with the new government on this issue and others impacting cruise tourism in Bermuda in preparation for the arrival of our newest ship, Norwegian Breakaway, which launches in May with weekly cruises to Bermuda.”

Mr Crockwell told the Bermuda Sun that any prudent Government would take a “fresh look” at the controversial topic.

Norwegian Cruise Line boss, Kevin Sheehan, previously warned his firm would consider re-deploying its mega ship, Norwegian Breakaway, if liners were not allowed to open casinos in port in Bermuda.

The current laws preventing gaming in port are seen by some industry experts as a reason why major cruise lines like Carnival have decided to pull out of Bermuda as well as reduce their calls to the island.

Retail trade

While retailers along Front Street believe that a failure to relax the rules could further damage trade in the city as well as other tourism hubs.

Mr Crockwell said: “The question over whether cruise ships should be allowed to open in port needs to be addressed.

“We would like to address the whole gaming issue at one time through a referendum.

“The previous Government made comments that they would deal with this and we were we hopeful that would happen.

“But clearly it was not known how essential being able to allow the casinos to open in port was when that question was advanced.

“It appears it may be a deal-breaker.

“By it becoming a deal breaker then it forces any prudent government to have a fresh look.

“If we are not able to deal immediately with the substantial issue of gaming then we may have to take a look into that matter of gaming in port in isolation at an earlier stage.”