Sleepin Hotel opens Carnival Casino; granted license after 3rd application
By Kurt Campbell
Four years after the first application and with $18 million lost, the Gaming Authority, now under new leadership, has granted Sleep-In International Hotel its Casino Premises License and a Casino Operator’s License.
The doors to the Church Street, Georgetown Casino opened on Tuesday, December 1. The hotel owner, Clifton Bacchus spoke with the News Room by phone and confirmed the opening.
He said the license was granted by the Gaming Authority on Monday, November 30, after a new application was made to the Board, headed by former Minister under the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) government, Manniram Prashad.
Prashad could not be reached by phone for a comment.
Bacchus told the News Room that this was the third application to be made after two previous applications were turned down – the first one in 2016 under the APNU+AFC government and the chairman of the Gaming Authority by Roysdale Forde, who is now an APNU+AFC Parliamentarian.
Bacchus said he lost $18 million with each of the previous applications costing him $9 million each.
“We waited our turn,” Bacchus said with his voice full of excitement.
“We have been waiting since 2016 when we first got turned down and again in 2017…we lost $18 million,” he added.
According to Bacchus, the casino will employ approximately 300 persons, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the first batch of 150 persons will be taken on board.
The businessman reiterated that the granting of the license is a “burden off” off his shoulders and he is elated that the investment has finally materialised.
Bacchus noted that the casino will be opened in keeping with the national COVID-19 curfew.
In December 2019, after a three-year-long battle before the High Court, Justice Fidela Corbin had ordered that the Gaming Authority process and consider the application of Sleep-In International Hotel.
This was to be done on or before February 28, 2020, but it never materialised given the fact that Guyana was heading to the polls on March 2.