The Isle of Man is today best known as a base for online gaming operators. Now, in an effort to boost business tourism, the government there is looking for a developer to build a hotel and conference center—and finally make use of a second casino license approved in the 1980s.
The island nation is preparing to take proposals for a hotel and conference center that would include the second casino on the self-governing British Crown dependency.
Local website IomToday reported recently that the Council of Ministers had agreed that a second casino license is commercially viable. Permission for the license was granted back in the 1980s.
The government says it is more interested in promoting new tourism and business travel than gambling.
Alan Bell, minister of economic development, said, “The development is not in any way to encourage gambling; it’s to encourage investment in our tourism infrastructure.”
One proposal has already been submitted and approved—except for the casino license. The Mount Murray Hotel and Country Club applied for a £45.6 million casino and three-story aparthotel and received approval from government planners in October 2009.
Now the government claims it wants to open the process to any developer who can meet the requirements of a four- or five-star hotel and has a plan to attract visitors to the island. Submissions must include a quantification of their economic benefits.
“We have a completely open mind as to who the winning applicant might be,” said Bell, in response to a question about whether a local developer would be given preference.
“The whole purpose of the exercise is to cast the net as wide as possible to get the best possible return for the Isle of Man on the back of this proposal,” said Bell.