Jamaica considers casinos

KINGSTON, Jamaica – The bill to allow for casino gambling in Jamaica will be among the first to be debated when Parliament returns from its summer break next month.

Prime Minister Bruce Golding told a Gleaner Editors’ Forum that the debate on the casino bill will take place immediately after the House of Representatives examines and approved the Supplementary Estimates for the 2009-2010 fiscal year.

Golding has included the Charter of Rights among the top items which will be debated when the House resumes. He said he would soon sit with Leader of Government Business, Andrew Holness, to determine the full raft of legislation which members of parliament will be asked to examine and debate.

The casino bill, which was tabled in July, proposes to establish a commission to regulate casino gaming in Jamaica.

Golding said he was very encouraged after meeting with one of the groups slated to invest in Jamaica’s casino industry.

“I am excited by how they are excited and I have given them an undertaking that we will try to have that legislation as soon as possible when Parliament resumes in September,” Golding said during the forum held at The Gleaner’s North Street, central Kingston, offices last week.

The casino bill proposes that the casino-gaming component should be no more than 20 per cent of the total investment in any approved, integrated resort development.

The legislation would provide for penalties ranging from $50,000, for failing to deliver a licence that has lapsed or ceases to be effective, to $50 million for removing seals or devices of like nature from the gaming machines.