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Ja now Casino ready ... Regulations passed to send signal

Published:Friday | May 1, 2015 | 4:38 PMDaraine Luton
Justice Minister Senator Mark Golding

THE MOVEMENT towards having casino gaming a part of the Jamaican landscape took another major step yesterday with the passage of two pieces of regulation in the Senate.

Justice Minister Senator Mark Golding said the regulations would signal to the approved developers that the Casino Gaming Commission is ready to receive applications for casino gaming licences.

"These regulations will enable a prospective developer of an approved integrated resort to commence the necessary financial and other business arrangements in connection with the development," Golding said as he piloted the regulations through the Senate.

The two pieces of regulation passed are the Casino Gaming (Annual Licence Fees for Casino Gaming Licences and Personal Licences) Regulation 2015, and the Casino Gaming (Application Related to Licences) Regulation 2015.

The regulations have already been approved by the House of Representatives.

The Ministry of Finance and Planning in June 2013 invited investors to apply for orders to become approved integrated resort developers. Golding said that in response, five applications were received, two of which were deemed suitable for further evaluation. The evaluation of these applications is now at an advanced stage.

Licensing Fees

The initial annual licence fee to be paid upon the grant of a licence by the Commission is US$250,000, plus US$50,000 multiplied by the maximum number of table games approved by the Commission for deployment in the casino. The annual licence fee payable thereafter will be US$250,000, plus US$1,000 multiplied by the maximum number of table games approved.

The fees are fixed based on what Golding said is the commission's assessment of the market, the desire being to make the investment attractive while at the same time seeking to get revenues.

Casino operators applying for continuation of a licence must satisfy the commission that they are fit and proper persons to be concerned in or associated with the management or operation of the casino.

Application for the continuation of a casino gaming licence or a temporary casino gaming licence shall be accompanied by a non-refundable fee of US$50,000 or the equivalent in Jamaican currency.

The regulations further state that the commission shall charge an applicant for a personal licence, a fee on account of reimbursement of expenses reasonably incurred by the commission in conduct of due diligence investigation. Such fee, however, cannot exceed US$4,000.