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Jamaica to consider legalizing casinos

Jamaica to consider legalizing casinos The government of Jamaica is fully backing the proposal to legalize gambling at casinos. Prime Minister Bruce Golding said he has allowed a group of investors to start planning the country's first casino, despite the increasing opposition from religious groups and organizations. Allowing casinos to be built on the island  would benefit directly  areas like health and schools, claims the Prime Minister and the Parliament is set to consider the proposals. "There are those who I know disagree with casino gambling. But the fact is that the horse bolted through the gate a long time ago with the granting of licenses for hundreds of gaming machines," Bruce Golding told the Jamaican Parliament on Tuesday, during a budget debate, announcing he had already given approval for moves to set up the first casino.

 Slot machines, video poker and other gambling devises could be found at bars and hotels in Jamaica, but up until now organized casinos have not been legalized. But under the condition that an investor commit at least $1.5 billion to a casino project, which should include a hotel with over 1,000 rooms, gambling at casinos would become a fact in Jamaica.

 "We have always said that gambling, including casino gambling, is personally selfish, morally irresponsible and socially destructive," said the Reverend Peter Garth, head of the Jamaica Association of Evangelicals to Jamaica Observer newspaper, summarizing the stance of the religious organizations on the island towards casino licensing. "We believe that casinos will continue to create a framework for covetousness, promote laziness and incite crime and violence. We think it violates the principle of being good stewards, we feel that family life will be under greater threat we really believe it is going to encourage the wrong type of mentality," President of the Jamaica Council of Churches Carl Johnson added.

 Published on 04/24/2008

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