Gaming company Ma Pau Entertainment looks set to open its doors later this month to the gambling public in Dominica.
But government officials are dismissing claims that the company’s operations constitutes casino gambling.
Ma Pau’s busy at the moment putting the finishing touches to its proposed operations at the Krazy Kokonuts, with indications that it will be open for business sooner rather than later.
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit says the Ma Pau operation can’t be considered casino gambling:
“There is no casino gambling in Dominica,” he told Dominica News Online.
“They are slot machines,” PM Skerrit said of the new company’s proposed gambling thrust that he says is allowed under the Lotteries Act.
At least two government ministers have confirmed unofficially that the administration has received several requests from companies wanting to introduce casino gambling in Dominica.
“You would need specific legislation for that, the government has not discussed the matter at all,” Prime Minister Skerrit told DNO.
He has indicated that “stand alone” casino gambling won’t be entertained in Dominica.
However he’s not ruling out a request being linked to some major hotel or resort project getting due consideration.
“The government may want to put the matter before the Dominican people. But as of today the government hasn’t taken any decision on the issue of casino gambling”.
“As it is now it is against the laws of Dominica and it shall remain so until such time that the people of Dominica decide that they may want to revisit those legislation,” PM Skerrit said.
He admitted that the government had received “a lot of requests from various regional and international companies”.
“But as we indicated we can only engage anybody if they come in with a major project, it can’t be simply let’s put a casino in Portsmouth or Marigot or anywhere – it has to be a major resort with a minimum number of rooms, and clear conditions and proper legislation to allow it to happen,” the prime minister said.
An article by former IMF economist Thomson Fontaine last December said “It has long been rumored that Dominica is preparing for the onslaught of casino gaming on the largely catholic and Christian country … this now appears to be just around the corner …”.
The article made reference to the Ma Pau Company, which is almost ready to get its slot machines rolling at the Krazy Kokonut.