Jamaica Will Not Become A “Casino Destination”
Jamaica’s first regulated casino is set to open in 2020. This marks a new age for the gambling market in Jamaica.
However, Jamaica’s Mister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett has provided an assurance that Jamaica will not follow the example of other tourist spots and become a casino destination. Though positive about the effect of the casino on the GDP, he also pointed out the negative effects.
In a statement, Bartlett said
We have shied away from gaming as a structured path of the tourism experience for a long time for a number of reasons, one of which has been the experiences that we have looked at in other places, and we have seen some of the attendant negatives, and we question very much whether or not we would be able ourselves to manage and be able to deal with the negative impact of it.
Casino Will Be One Of The Many Features
Bartlett points out that Jamaica was hesitant about introducing gambling into the country for religious reasons. However, the government was exploring options that will help Jamaican tourism in the long run. The casino industry is expected to boost tourism revenues and also other drive growth in other areas.
Market analysts estimate that a casino in Jamaica would generate over three million stopover visitors as well as $3 billion in revenue. This was too big a bump in potential earnings that the Jamaican government could not ignore it. However, tourism numbers has seen 4.3 million visitors visit the Island without any casino being present.
Bartlett says that this proves that a casino is not essential to for tourism numbers to rise in Jamaica. That being said a casino can still provide Jamaica with additional growth. The plan is to not make the casino industry the main attraction of Jamaica’s tourism industry but rather make it one of the features of what Jamaica has to offer tourists.
Three Casino Licenses In Total
Bartlett also adds that the government will only issue three gaming licenses in total. He envisions that casino gambling will only be 20 percent of the total tourism experience that these casinos provide. A billion dollar investment is already on the cards to develop a thousand-room integrated casino resort on the island.
As tourism minister, Bartlett insisted that the casinos should not just focus on gambling. They should also provide shopping, entertainment and more. The integrated casino resort will not only cater to gamblers but also provide non-gaming entertainment.
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