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Guyana's First Casino Opens in The Princess Hotel
Although Guyanese Residents Are Banned From Gambling

Caribbean Net News, Grand Cayman, Cayman IslandsMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News

Mar. 22, 2010--GEORGETOWN, Guyana -- The Princess Hotel in Guyana on Friday evening opened the country's first in-house casino, while President Bharrat Jagdeo decried the fact that Guyanese will not be allowed to participate in the activities of the casino.

Jagdeo said the restriction is by law as the parliament passed the Gambling Prevention (Amendment) Act in 2007, three years ago, which placed a restriction on Guyanese gambling after a national outcry by religious leaders and some political parties that this may lead to many homes being broken.

The present legislation states that the issuance of casino premises licences will be granted only to a new hotel or resort complex which has a mini mum of 150 rooms allocated for accommodation.

Jagdeo said, while he does not endorse gambling, for a country in which the citizens have freedom of choice barring Guyanese from the establishment did not sit well with him as he recalled the outcry when the law was amended.

"For me, this is something that I find distasteful. I believe that Guyanese should enjoy all of the choices in the country... our society is a moderate one...there was opposition, but we will give people choices," Jagdeo said.

The president explained that his government took the decision to allow gambling in Guyana as a way of allowing investors in the hotel business to accelerate their profitability.

The president further said that the government will limit the number of casinos in the country, and they will be strictly monitored.

The Princess Casino, which employs about 140 Guyanese, began operating last month for the hotel's guests and is equipped with 300 slot machines and game tables.

The hotel, originally Buddy's International Hotel, was opened prior to the 2007 Cricket World Cup and in 2008 was sold to Irish investor Sudi Ozkan, for US$15 million and renamed the Princess Hotel, which forms part of an international chain of such facilities.


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