Reports earlier this week in the Bermuda newspaper The Royal Gazette that the government is considering setting up buisiness as an online gambling jurisdiction have been followed by warning signals from the Bermuda official opposition party concerned that US reaction may be unfavourable to Bermuda's financial services industry.
Shadow Finance Minister Bob Richards cautioned that embracing Internet gambling would be like "waving a red flag to a bull" to anti-gaming authorities in the United States.
Richards said that such a move risks angering American officials who have tried to stamp out Internet gambling and have already clashed with Antigua and Barbuda over its position as an online gambling centre.
He told The Royal Gazette that he believes any perceived link between Internet gambling and money laundering could also jeopardise Bermuda's reputation as a clean host for international business.
"We don't want to go down the same road Antigua went down," he said. "The risk is it would be like waving a red flag in the face of a bull, and the US is not the kind of bull you want to be charging at you."
He said online gambling could make money laundering more difficult to stop as cash is transferred online from one account to another.
"We are trying our very best to keep our reputation pristine as far as money laundering is concerned," the Shadow Minister said. "We are quite frankly inconveniencing people a great deal with this anti-money laundering stuff. The purpose is to keep Bermuda's reputation clean.
"We have an international business sector here that Bermuda is dependent on. Doing something like this could put this in jeopardy — just by putting this in the wrong place at the wrong time."