At the opening of a two-day Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) “Explore, Do Business Jamaica” virtual investment conference on Wednesday, Jamaica’s Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, spoke about the amendment of legislation for casino gaming and assured it has provided new opportunities for investors in the tourism sector as part of the Government’s strategic economy recovery agenda from the coronavirus pandemic.
The Casino Gaming (Amendment) Act, 2021, was approved in the House of Representatives on June 29, and by the Senate in July. The Casino Gaming Act was brought into force in June 2010 to facilitate Jamaica’s entry into and subsequent regulation of the casino gaming sector.
Holness said efforts to put the necessary structures in place to support investors and create a more enabling environment have been yielding positive results: “We put in new legislations to provide for gaming casinos, and that has created a whole new opportunity for existing investors in our tourism sector that will see the introduction of gaming and casinos, and large-scale resort developments now will become part of our tourism product and a great opportunity for existing investors and, indeed, new investors who want to come”, he said.
“We have taken on the effectiveness of our public administration [by engaging in] deep institutional reforms and those have also been paying dividends, particularly as they relate to the ease of government-to-business transactions, and with reforming our business processes and ensuring that our approvals and permitting processes are easier to navigate. So, we have been making progress on the ease of doing business indices,” he pointed out.
Noting that economic indicators show positive trends, the prime minister expressed optimism about Jamaica’s recovery prospects.
“We have a very high level of confidence that we have the necessary economic framework in place, particularly around our fiscal policy, our monetary policies, and our growth policies are also evolving very strongly. I think we have the foundational things correct, and during the pandemic we would have demonstrated that the dividends have paid off from our good fiscal management. From a fiscal standpoint, I think we are prepared for shocks and, indeed, we were prepared for this shock even though it was unforeseen, and that has aided us in a faster and stronger recovery.”
One of the principal objectives of the Act is to encourage the establishment of integrated resorts development by licensing these developments to offer casino gaming as part of a mix of various tourism amenities and facilities available to the guests of hotels in such developments.