Jamaica’s Tourism Minister, Edmund Bartlett, has reiterated government’s position that it will not be converted into a casino destination. Speaking at the Sectoral Debate in Gordon House, he said casinos would form part of the „product enrichment“, which will be embedded in a mega-property development.
„You will not see a casino dotting the landscape across Jamaica, and the Prime Minister has made a statement concerning this in this honorable House already. He has been very clear saying that casinos will be no more than 15 to 20 per cent of the total value of the investment overall, as well as the experience for the visitor,“ he stated.
He noted that the government was examining the value-added that casinos would bring, not only in terms of enriching the product experience, but also in solid earnings to Jamaica.
He pointed out that the developers of Harmony Cove and Celebrations in Trelawny have indicated an interest in incorporating casino gaming into their operations. Both properties are being developed at a cost of some USD 6 billion and will provide employment for upwards of 20,000 new workers.
„Casino hotels have higher employment ratios than traditional EP (European Plan) and all-inclusive properties, so with a conversion rate of 2.5 per room, these two properties are expected to employ nearly 25,000 workers (and) earnings to the Government from these two properties could exceed USD 30 billion per year,“ the Minister informed.
According to Bartlett, the „mere announcement of Jamaica’s intention (regarding casinos) has the whole world spinning already“ and responses have been forthcoming from interests, who contend that casino gaming is a „product enrichment idea, which is long overdue in Jamaica“.
„So casinos will be a critical component of the growing luxury market as we further diversify entertainment experiences to attract the lucrative high end market,“ he stated.