Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Finance and Planning, Horace Dalley (right), and Chairman of the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission, Gary Peart, arrive at the inaugural Gaming Industry Summit, held at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston, on May 29. JIS Photo
By Athaliah Reynolds-Baker
KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) -- Minister without portfolio in the ministry of finance and planning, Horace Dalley, says the government is still in the process of reviewing bids for the three proposed Las Vegas-style casinos that are earmarked for Jamaica.
Speaking last Thursday’s opening of the 2014 Gaming Industry Summit at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston, Dalley said much is at stake with only three licences to be awarded.
He noted that the granting of such licences is dependent on whether the prospective licensees are fully compliant with the government of Jamaica’s requirements.
“There is no room for error, and all efforts are painstakingly being made to ensure due diligence and suitability,” he said.
As for lounges in the exclusive gaming sector, Dalley said operators will be happy to hear that they still have a few years before the casinos become active.
He also predicted that their current clientele are not likely to shift, as the casinos will require players to be guests in the integrated resort.
“Nevertheless, I urge gaming lounges to be proactive and review your business models to ensure your unique positioning and customer retention in the market,” he said.
Turning to the issue of gambling addiction, the minister said the work of organisations such as Rise Life Management will continue to be vital as the casinos come on stream and access to gaming machines and gaming lounges increase island-wide.
He noted that, as such, it is imperative that all gaming facilities practice responsible gaming and adopt a responsible gaming code of conduct to ensure the protection of all vulnerable groups.
Dalley further said the voluntary exclusion programme, currently upheld by a few gaming lounges, must be expanded into all other gaming establishments, for the support of those who have gambling addiction and feel unable to control their problem.
A voluntary exclusion programme or voluntary self-exclusion is a policy enacted by several casinos as a method of addressing the issue of addictive and compulsive gambling.