In the Bahamas, a Casino Association Committee is preparing a consultation paper for the government on the modernization of gaming regulations in the country.
The association believes reform is necessary to bring the gambling product of age in the Caribbean island nation and capitalize on much higher streams of potential tourism revenue.
The consultation comes at a critical time, with a December 2014 opening set for Baha Mar, a US$3.5 billion mega-resort on Cable Beach that will feature the largest casino in the Caribbean, and a casino being built on Bimini through a joint venture between Genting Malaysia and RAV Bahamas.
The Bimini Bay Resort & Marina in North Bimini is scheduled to open in mid-December with a 10,000-square-foot casino offering table games, slot machines and sports betting. It is part of a master-planned oceanfront resort community of 480 homes and villa suites, the largest yacht marina in the Bahamas, four restaurants, two pools, a shopping village, tennis, a beach club and attractions for children.
Efforts are also under way to revive the gaming facilities on Grand Bahama linked to the Grand Lucayan.
According to Robert Sands, senior vice president at Baha Mar and a member of the committee, gambling currently brings in $140 million per year in revenue, while in other countries it produces “well into the billions.”
“If the Bahamas is to compete, our regulations and offerings should mirror those of other jurisdictions,” he said.