Jamaica Takes Closer Look at Casinos

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - October 20, 2011

By the Caribbean Journal staff

Several would-be hotel investors in Jamaica are interested in adding casinos to their properties, but it is a process that Tourism Minister Ed Bartlett said would require strict adherence to existing criteria.

“All that have come to us already fulfill that criteria,” he said. “One that has come to us, which already has existing facilities, is looking at 3,000 more rooms, with a convention centre, golf course and marine activities. We are careful about the criteria we have established.”

Under Section Nine of the Casino Regulations, a casino licence can be approved only for those hotels consisting of at least 2,000 rooms, with at least 1,000 rooms available for occupancy before the commencement of operations of a casino.

Commerce Minister Dr Christopher Tufton said casino gaming was an significant addition for potential investors.

“The point is when you speak to investors about investing in the expansion of the tourism product, one of the very common questions that come up is when you create the rooms, what are the tourists going to do in terms of the activities that will keep them occupied?” he said. “It is important to them as investors, as it impacts the attractiveness of the investment package tha we are selling.”

The government today approved two sets of new regulations aimed at smoother management of casinos.

Finance Minister Audley Shaw said the two new Casino regulations tabled Tuesday in Parliament would send a similar message to potential investment.

“The regulations, when passed, will signal to prospective developers and investors that we are now ready to receive their application,” he said.

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