Jamaica to Debate Introducing Casinos

Admin. - June 29, 2009

Prime Minister says parliament to begin debating proposal Tuesday.

The Jamaican parliament will begin debating a proposal Tuesday to introduce casinos to fight back against the global financial crisis, news agencies have reported.

Prime Minister Bruce Golding said last week that two investors - Tavistock Group and Palmyra Resort & Spa - have already expressed interest in building casinos in Montego Bay and Trelawny.

He said companies interested in obtaining a local gambling license must be prepared to invest at least $1.5 billion and commit to a new hotel with at least 2,000 rooms.

Golding said his government was not prepared to wait for the economic problems to pass over before starting to "clean up the place and get busy work," the Jamaica Observer quoted him as saying.

"The global crisis has both a beginning and an end and Jamaica must be ready that once it has blown over, it is ready to go," he said.

The government gave partial approval to gambling in April 2008, paving the way for resorts to obtain special licenses for casinos and gaming lounges filled with slot machines and other games.

The Caribbean island nation has been hit hard by the global financial crisis, with its government appealing last week for urgent international financial assistance, according to Jamaican media.

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