By Athaliah Reynolds-Baker
KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) -- Minister with responsibility for the public service in the ministry of finance and planning, Horace Dalley, says the Casino Gaming Commission is ramping up its operations to prepare for the introduction of casino gambling in Jamaica.
Dalley said among the preparations is the training of staff and bolstering of the legal framework, to ensure the commission is completely ready to give full regulatory oversight to casino operations in the island.
The minister, who made the announcement while contributing to the 2014/15 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on July 8, reiterated that government is still in the process of reviewing bids for the three proposed Vegas-style casinos that are earmarked for Jamaica.
He noted that the continued growth of the gaming sector can be exponential with the advent of casino gaming, which is expected to be introduced into the country with the concept of integrated resort developments (IRDs).
The IRDs are luxury resort developments, which are expected to cater to ‘high spenders’ and include, but are not limited to hotels, villas, sporting and recreational facilities, shopping centres, and casinos.
Dalley said that the expiry date for the receipt of applications from potential licensees is November 30, 2014, pointing out that government has so far received a total of five submissions.
The applicants are: Amaterra Jamaica Limited; Celebration Jamaica Limited; Harmony Cove; Jamaica Casino Royale; and Fiesta Jamaica Limited (a subsidiary of Palladium Hotels and Resorts).
However, the minister noted that based on various issues, including partial and non-payment of the application fee, the Attorney General’s Chambers advised that some of the applicants were non-responsive to the request for proposal.
“Accordingly, the ministry was obliged to discontinue its review of two applications, while another withdrew,” he said.
The Financial Investigations Division of the ministry has begun the due diligence exercise in the process, Dalley pointed out.