Spanish operator Fiesta has warned that without a casino licence it won’t be able to go ahead with the proposed US$250m expansion at the Grand Palladium Resort in Point, Lucea, in Jamaica.
The proposed renovation includes the development of 245 ocean-facing royal suites and 550 regular suites, a convention centre and entertainment facility and a golf course.
Dimitris Kosvogiannis, country manager for Fiesta, said: “We do think that the casino is much more than a physical structure and we also think that as it is today, without a casino, the construction of the rooms of that magnitude, about 800, is not realistic within this economic environment. Casinos attract junkets, which are groups of gamblers with specific destinations, and obviously those gamblers need to stay in the room, consume the services of the hotel. So without it we see it as very unrealistic in the current economic environment to just build rooms and wait for some abstract date to obtain a casino licence.”
The 2010 Casino Gaming Act states that no more than three integrated resort developments, with licenced facilities for casino gaming, will be allowed to operate in Jamaica.
As well as a casino licence the group said it wants to obtain a licence from the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) for the development of a beach at the property.
Gaming laws were approved in Jamaica in November last year when two bills that will allow casinos to be built on the island for the first time were unanimously approved. There are currently just a few hundred slot machines in operation at hotels in the capital of Kingston and in popular tourist areas.