Jamaica To Soon Issue Its First Casino LicenseJanuary 19, 2011 7:49 am
The Jamaican government is pushing ahead with its plans to introduce casino gambling to the idyllic Caribbean island, with construction of its first local casino slated to take place by the end of 2011.
Commenting on the exciting new prospect, Tourism Minister, the Hon. Edmund Bartlett, said he was anticipating licensing three operations at three main resort areas on the island, namely Montego Bay, Trelawny and the Ocho Rios districts, aimed at generating around $120 million per quarter.
The casinos will then not only help provide extra revenue for Jamaica’s ailing economy, but will also provide employment opportunities for locals.
“Legislations for casino operation are completed, the regulations are now being done and members of the Commission, which was recently established, have already started their work. Applications for licences to operate casinos are now being accepted,” announced the Tourism Minister at the 2011 Caribbean Marketplace Trade Show in Montego Bay on January 18th.
Jamaica received 1.9 million arrivals in 2010, 300,000 of which were Canadians, and the minister said he was aiming to have that number approach around 5 million within a five year period. However, Minister Bartlett was keen to point out that the introduction of casinos would be handled in a controlled manner, with the intention of providing extra entertainment for visitors, rather than defining the island.
The Tourist Minister then explained that a cap on casino licenses would be implemented, with the intention being that “Jamaica will soon become a destination that offers casino gambling experience, rather than a casino destination.”
Another concern of the Jamaican government was trying to make the casinos appeal to tourists while not making them too attractive for Jamaicans. Unlike most other Caribbean islands, Jamaica doesn’t intend to exclude its own people from gambling, but the planned location of the casinos will ensure they do no become local congregation points.