JIS News

Parliament started debating the Casino Gaming Bill and the Betting Gaming and Lotteries (Amendments) Bill on Tuesday (February23) in order to pave the way for Casino Gaming in resort areas.
Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw, who is piloting both Bills, told the House of Representatives that the debate follows the submission of a final report from a Joint Select Committee of Parliament which had been appointed to review them.
“The Casino Gaming Act will provide the regulatory framework for the business of Casino Gaming on the island. The activity will take place within approved integrated resort developments, with Casino Gaming comprising one component of the overall activity,” Mr. Shaw pointed out.
He said that while only three integrated resort development orders will be considered for approval at this time, the Minister may, by order subject to affirmative resolution, increase the number.
“The proposal excluded the approval of stand-alone casinos. In other words, casinos must be part of an integrated entertainment development that has a minimum number of hotel rooms, so that it has significant impact on an entire region of Jamaica in which it is based,” he explained.
With regards to the Betting Gaming and Lotteries Act, Mr. Shaw said it seeks to enable the Betting Gaming and Lotteries Commission (BGLC) to regulate the industry more effectively, to ensure that betting, gaming and lotteries are conducted fairly and remain free from criminal elements.
“In addition the amendments have incorporated advances in technology and, therefore, adequate provisions for modern technology have been put in place,” he noted.
Minister of Tourism, Hon Edmund Bartlett, stated that Casino Gaming was an important enrichment to the tourism offerings of Jamaica.
“It would bring a level of diversification to the product and, indeed, attract a higher level of spenders and their level of investments that would also be able to drive a kind of product that would give increase in the ratio of employee to rooms,” Mr. Bartlett said.
Casino Gaming was a definite “policy determination” by the administration to move towards enabling Gaming as an important development strategy, Mr. Bartlett said.
“We support the Bill because the advent of Casino Gaming will see a new product emerging on the tourism landscape. A product that will significantly enrich the quality of our offerings, and will go along to increase arrivals into the country but, more importantly, increase our spend,” Mr. Bartlett said.

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