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US$20M investment in limbo as businessman still awaiting casino license

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By: Devina Samaroo

After investing approximately US$20M on the wings of optimism, a local businessman has been waiting for over three months for permission to operate his state-of-the-art casino at the SleepIn Hotel on Church Street.

Hotelier, Clifton Bacchus had pumped millions into the construction, design and staffing of the entertainment centre despite not having the requisite licences.

Bacchus told News Room recently that he is still waiting on word from the Guyana Gaming Authority about his latest application for the licences.

“No reason was given yet. They say they’re still looking at the application so we have to wait and see what they say,” the entrepreneur explained.

In March 2017, Bacchus had reapplied for approval to operation the after he was denied permission last year.

The applications for casino licences were denied because he failed to provide proof of “its financial soundness and capability,” which was critical for approval.

The businessman, who has been in the hotel industry for over 15 years, had told reporters during a tour of the ‘Carnival Casino’ back in March that he was positive he would get through with his licences in a matter of weeks.

Bacchus had noted that he is in possession of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between himself and the Government of Guyana, signed under the Donald Ramotar administration in 2014.

According to the businessman, the MoU guarantees him a licence to operate a casino once he is able to complete construction in line with several specifications.

Over 300 Guyanese have been trained to operate the casino but since its opening is in limbo those persons were forced to seek alternative employment.

According to Bacchus, the staff were being paid a stipend pending the inauguration of the casino but since too much time has elapsed he had to cut off the remuneration.

Bacchus had envisioned that the casino will have live bands, private rooms and a variety of games to ensure boredom never arrives during one’s experience there.

 

 

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