he Virgin Islands Casino Control Commission approved Thursday a series of amendments to casino regulations, including licensing and application fees. The new regulations will supplement the Virgin Islands Casino Control Act of 1995.
All of the amendments were reviewed by the two-member board and, pending approval by Casino Control Commission Chairman Marvin Pickering and Richards, the amendments will be forwarded to the Department of Justice to be reviewed for Lieutenant Governor Tregenza Roach, and then to Governor Albert Bryan Jr. for certification.
After that, the lieutenant governor will also approve and sign them and the new regulations will be promulgated.
Existing and new fees will be included in the Virgin Islands Casino Laws and Regulations, with new ones added for a new section of the approved hotel rules.
Chairman Marvin Pickering
The newly added Class IV hotel will include hotel/casinos opened in an Enterprise Zone, defined by the Economic Development Authority. Fees for the Class IV license will be $80,000. Fees on existing Class III hotels fees are $100,000.
An Enterprise Zone casino will be required to have 75 sleeping units and a 400-square-foot banquet facility. A Class III facility is required to build 150-199 rooms and a 5,000-square-foot banquet room.
A government entity casino is a new Class IV designation with an $80,000 licensing fee for the first 5,000-square-feet of floor space and $50,000 for each additional 5,000 square feet. Banquet facilities were not addressed in the amendments, and the potential government entity operator was not discussed.
Fees for a racino/casino license are also being added to the regulations. Only one racino on St. Thomas and one on St. Croix will be allowed with no more than 200 machines each. Racinos must be at least 5,000 square feet and the license will cost $25,000 the first year and $50,000 for two years. Those amounts will be doubled for each additional 5,000 square feet.
Fees for Class I, II and III casinos will also be included in Laws and Regulations. Other fees that will be listed include alcohol beverage and service industry licenses, as well as administrative and office fees.
Richards also listed the forms that are being reviewed, including the International Association of Gaming Regulators’ multi-jurisdictional personal history disclosure form. The form is accepted in several jurisdictions and includes questions to satisfy their filing and information requirements.
The Virgin Islands government, through the Public Finance Authority, owns the Kings Alley Hotel in Christiansted. There were plans for a casino adjacent to that hotel 20 years ago, prior to the PFA acquiring the hotel through foreclosure. In May, the PFA voted to start the process of selling or leasing the Kings Alley Hotel and the adjacent vacant lot.