KINGSTON, Jamaica – Efforts by the Caribbean government to have casino gambling introduced in select resort areas seem set to yield major success, as construction on the first local casino could start by the end of this year.
This was revealed by Tourism Minister, the Hon. Edmund Bartlett, as he addressed a media breakfast hosted by the Half Moon Hotel for local and international journalists attending the 2011 Caribbean Marketplace Trade Show in Montego Bay today.
Minister Bartlett revealed that interest in casino licenses is presently escalating, adding that once negotiations are successful, at least three licenses could be granted over the next three years for the operation of casinos in three main resort areas. He emphasized that casino gambling will be introduced and operated in a controlled manner to ensure that it does not define the destination but simply becomes another offering provided for visitors.
The Tourism Minister said: “Jamaica will soon become a destination that offers casino gambling experience, rather than a casino destination. The operations will take place in Montego Bay, another at a development in Trelawny, and the third in the western end of the island.”
Minister Bartlett stated: “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 licenses to operate casinos are now being accepted.”
The Tourism Minister in reiterating the government’s stance that casino gaming will play a key role in significantly improving earnings for the country, said: “Casino gaming has a reputation to attract very high-end visitors, and we are hoping to earn in the region of US$120 million from the three operations on a quarterly basis. In addition, the casino operations will provide employment for a significant number of Jamaicans.”