Sunday 20 October, 2019

Casino gaming coming soon with world famous Hard Rock - Vaz

Daryl Vaz, the Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation.

Daryl Vaz, the Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation.

Ground could be broken in Jamaica by the end of the year for the world-famous Hard Rock Casino and Hotel and the Unico Hotel brand, according to Daryl Vaz.

The Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation made the announcement on Tuesday during his contribution to the 2019/2020 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives.

Various governments have for decades talked about bringing casino gaming to Jamaica, but it has not yet been realised and the church is still opposed to this form of gambling.

Vaz said that while he could not state the value of having a Hard Rock Casino located in Jamaica, he is sure it will have a significant impact on the Jamaican landscape.

The minister disclosed that the development started a little over a year ago when there was an investment proposal from a Mexican company which has (manages) the Unico Hotel brand and which was desirous of developing the brand in Jamaica.

Vaz said the company which has the franchise for Hard Rock Hotel is owned by the Seminole tribe out of Florida, which operates the world-famous Hard Rock Casino.

The potential developers have gone as far as to privately buy land in Montego Bay, St James to start the Hard Rock Hotel and Unico brand on a single property, he revealed.

The Minister also added that following discussions with Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett, he then enquired about also getting the Hard Rock Casino brand to set up operations in Jamaica.

“Following many months of long negotiations, I can say definitively that the Unico brand, which has the franchise for Hard Rock hotel, is now in discussion to purchase more land to incorporate a single integrated resort which would be the Hard Rock Casino, the Hard Rock Hotel and the Unico Hotel brand,” said Vaz.

He pointed out that in the casino gaming industry, the Hard Rock Casino is one of the biggest and, most importantly, one of the most profitable casinos in North America.

His said his understanding, as of Tuesday, was that the investors are pushing to have the land purchase completed by the end of July with a view to breaking ground for construction to start between the end of this year and the first quarter of 2020 for a multi-million dollar integrated resort.

Meanwhile, Vaz said that negotiations are taking place with other casinos with designs on setting up operations in Jamaica.

Get the latest local and international news straight to your mobile phone for free: