Bermuda Gaming Commission CEO Jean Major Steps Down; Charmaine Smith To Take Over The Role

Bermuda Gaming Commission CEO Jean Major Steps Down; Charmaine Smith To Take Over The Role

Bermuda Gaming Commission’s CEO Jean Major is departing after two years in the post. His appointment at the island’s gambling watchdog was first announced in November 2020, after what was labeled as an “extensive” search to fill the role. Charmaine Smith, a Bermudian who was Chief Regulatory Office with the commission, is now taking over the position.

Major, a Canadian, was previously the CEO and registrar of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario. Media reported his departure from the BGC after he updated his LinkedIn page, showing his tenure at the helm of the regulator ran until December 2022. He is now listed as the principal of firm JLM Consulting, with the entry indicating he is self-employed.

During his time leading the BGC, the island’s first casino license was granted to the St Regis Bermuda Resort in St George’s, announced in October. A statement from the commission said at the time that the venue’s opening was “entirely dependent on the casino operator meeting all legislative requirements for opening which will be subject to the commission’s review and approval,” reports The Royal Gazette.

Jean Major said: “I had a wonderful time working at the commission and living on this beautiful island. Having reached my two-year anniversary, we have successfully accomplished the two key goals that were originally set out for me: to initiate the licensing process with the corresponding compliance framework for casino gaming and to recruit and train Bermudians to regulate gaming on the island.”

Jean Major Jason Hayward, Minister of Economy and Labour, said last month that there was “no further update” on when the island’s first casino would open. Launching the casino sector is part of the Government’s Economic Recovery Plan, a roadmap Smith will now be overseeing as the new CEO of the island’s regulator.

“We have an excellent team of professionals with broad technical knowledge and competencies; a keen interest in public service and a strong commitment to good governance,” Smith said. “Stakeholder-regulator engagement is vital for the successful creation of a culture of compliance in Bermuda’s gaming industry. I look forward to continued engagement with all the relevant stakeholders in this sector.”

Smith is a barrister and attorney, and was previously chairwoman of the Police Complaints Authority, and a member of the Employment Tribunal. She also served as senior legal counsel in the Office of the National Anti-Money Laundering Committee prior to joining the commission.

For her part, Cheryl-Ann Mapp, chairwoman of the BGC, said: “We would like to thank Mr. Major for his significant contributions to the commission. We are pleased to have had someone of Mr. Major’s caliber leading the commission over the previous two years.”

“His tenure contributed to the successful recruitment of Mrs. Smith, and we acknowledge the role he played in executing the Commission’s succession plan, developing the regulatory framework for licensing casinos and issuing the first casino gaming license,” added Mapp. “We are excited to have Mrs. Smith accept the post and to continue to build on the work that Mr. Major has led over the last two years.”