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US specialist urges Jamaica to quickly embrace casino gaming

Published:Monday | December 10, 2018 | 12:00 AMJanet Silvera/Senior Gleaner Writer

Western Bureau:

Despite the seeming reluctance by successive governments to fully embrace casino gambling, a leading United States expert is insisting that Jamaica stands to make billions from the activity.

The case for Jamaica to move quickly to integrate casino gaming into its tourism offerings was made last Friday by Bruce Liebman, managing partner in the South Florida-based law firm Kaufman Dolowich Voluck.

Liebman was speaking at a business seminar at Sandals Montego Bay, held to educate local tourism and casino industry interests on liability and business-operation issues in relation to US residents.

"Jamaica should position itself to capitalise on the recent passage of Amendment 3 in Florida, which effectively limits the growth of casino gaming and prevents the construction of additional large-scale facilities that deal Black Jack in the state," he told the gathering, which included tourism minister Edmund Bartlett.

Owing to Amendment 3, Jamaica has a tremendous opportunity to get ahead of the state of Florida, Liebman stated.

"If you guys can get there in the next few years and put in casinos in an integrated format with entertainment, with condominiums, with shopping and golf courses and get it on the ocean with your beautiful sand and beautiful beaches, you will be ahead of the state of Florida," he argued.

He also encouraged Jamaica to embrace sports gambling, which he described as a multibillion-dollar business in the US.

Liebman urged Jamaican and Caribbean governments to twin sports and casino gambling with the requisite regulations to guide the industry.

He said that the American Gaming Association has determined that there is definitely a positive correlation between hotel room sales and casino revenue.

"It's pretty simple. You want to put bodies in rooms that were going to remain unsold, so you bring them (visitors) to your casino," Liebman said, noting that Las Vegas has been doing it for 50 years and has been very successful.

READ Jamaica will not be a casino destination, says Bartlett