Casinos to be legalised in Jamaica

The Jamaican government has announced it will legalise casinos in the country after Prime Minister Bruce Golding confirmed he has already been in talks with a group of international investors planning the country’s first casino.

However, the move has been met by stiff opposition from the Church.

"We have always said that gambling, including casino gambling, is personally selfish, morally irresponsible and socially destructive," said the Reverend Peter Garth, head of the Jamaica Association of Evangelicals, told one Jamaican newspaper.

Up untill now, only slot machines and other gaming machines had been allowed in hotels and bars. Prime Minister Golding knows he will have his critics but is adamant he is making the right decision.

"There are those who I know disagree with casino gaming. I genuinely respect their views. The fact is that the horse bolted through the gate a long time ago with the granting of licences for hundreds of gaming machines, "Mr Golding told parliament in a budget debate earlier on in the week.

However, Golding has made some stipulations; if a casino is to be built, it must push through $1.5 billion of investment and contain a hotel with no fewer than 1000 rooms. Furthermore, the government must be satisfied that the importance of the casino to any project must not be anymore than 20 per cent.

"We will ensure that best practices are observed and that only reputable companies with proven integrity are allowed to operate in Jamaica," the Prime Minister said.

Golding also said that the money brought in from the casinos would go in a “special fund” to aid financial health, education and security.

Editor, - 2008-04-24 11:01:22

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