Casinos in Jamaica – History and Guide

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People associate Jamaica with rastafarians, reggae music, Bob Marley, mountains, jungles, all-inclusive resorts, reef-lined beaches, British-colonial architecture, and diving and snorkeling spots. Casinos in Jamaica are a popular destination but the Caribbean island nation’s gambling industry is seldom acknowledged.

Casinos in Jamaica: A Brief History

Jamaica obtained independence from the United Kingdom in 1962. With a population of less than three million people, Jamaica weathered the economic downturn on tourism and mining. These two industries made significant contributions to Jamaica’s economy. At the time, more than one million tourists visited the country each year to enjoy its rich culture and natural beauty.

The Gambling Law of 1899 was in place in Jamaica before 2012. The law was severe and had several peculiar stipulations. For one thing, cockfighting was deemed an illegal gambling activity by the law. In effect, Jamaicans were not permitted to gamble in any public area. Furthermore, the legislation said that each party engaged in a wagering contract must either win or lose. There was no such thing as a neutral ground.

Slot machines were the only type of gambling available at the time, and they could only be found at specially licensed resorts. However, games like video poker, craps, blackjack, and — most notably — Caribbean Stud Poker found their way to the scene unhindered. At the time, Knutsford Park in Saint Andrew was one of the few sites where horse racing bets could be placed.

The Rise of Gambling

Despite the island’s laws, gambling firms grew dramatically in Jamaica between the 1950s and 1960s. During the same time period, overseas gambling activities (from the United Kingdom and the United States) were flourishing in the Caribbean island nation. Football pools became highly popular around the island. The BGCL (Betting, Gaming, and Lotteries Commission) was established in 1975 as a Ministry of Finance agency to license and manage gambling facilities and activities.

The Gambling Law of 1989 remained in effect until 2012, when the administration of Jamaica’s then-Prime Minister, Portia Simpson-Miller, established the Betting Commission and Lotteries Act. The measure was introduced in 2010, but it faced opposition from various religious organizations before being passed in November of 2012.
Since then, the commission has been fighting illegal gaming in the country and keeping gambling facilities in good working order. Gambling is now an ubiquitous and lucrative industry in Jamaica.

Current Gambling Situation

Although the rules around gambling were somewhat unclear for a long time, it is now legal in Jamaica. In fact, Jamaica currently has a total of 22 gaming establishments (plus one national lottery) for locals and tourists to enjoy. The BGLC (Betting, Gaming, and Lotteries Commission) is in charge of all gambling in Jamaica. As a result, gambling investors approach the organization in search of licenses and appropriate regulations. Online gambling is accessible too supplied by offshore operators. CasinosJungle lists available online casinos for each jurisdiction plus the licenses held by each operator.

Casinos in Jamaica

There are 22 casinos in total, distributed over nine Jamaican districts. The majority are in Kingston, Jamaica’s capital, and Montego Bay, one of the island’s most popular tourist destinations.

The Holiday Inn Resort Casino Montego Bay, which offers 50+ table games, is the largest casino in Montego Bay in terms of facilities.  The Celebration Jamaica Resort & Casino, with 100,000 square feet of space, is the largest casino. 

The largest casino in Kingston, in terms of facilities and size, is Monte Carlo Gaming Lounge at The Terra Nova All Suite Hotel, which has 150+ gaming machines and 8,000 square feet.

Casinos in Jamaica Come in a Variety of Styles

Jamaica has almost every form of gaming activity and facility known to man. While traditional casinos receive the majority of the attention, racetracks, racinos, and sports betting businesses also attract their fair share.

Because most Jamaican casinos are tied to large hotels, they offer a comprehensive selection of games and machines. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, poker, craps, baccarat, and table games are the most popular casino games and machines in Jamaica. Slot machines, on the other hand, are the most popular gambling option in Jamaican casinos.

Online gambling, on the other hand, is legal, but only for tourists and visitors. As a result, it is unlawful for Jamaicans to engage in any type of online gambling. Jamaicans, as expected, can gamble on foreign internet gaming sites.

In terms of offline gaming, all types of gambling are permissible. The Supreme Ventures is Jamaica’s national lottery, where regular Lotto, Cash Pot, Super Lotto, and other lottery games are legitimately played.

Casinos in Jamaica Facts

The legal gambling age in Jamaica is 18 years old, which is the same as in most other countries. The BGLC was established in 1975, but it was expanded in 2012 with the help of the Betting Commission and Lotteries Act.

  • The BGLC (Betting, Gaming, and Lotteries Commission) is a Ministry of Finance organization. it is in charge of licensing and regulating gambling operations and facilities in Jamaica.
  • Jamaica has 22 gaming establishments. Twenty of them are real casinos, while the other two are racetracks or racinos. Jamaica also has a national lottery.
  • The most popular options in Jamaica are slot machines and Caribbean Stud Poker tables.
  • The Monte Carlo Gaming Lounge at The Terra Nova All Suite Hotel is currently Jamaica’s largest casino.
  • Cockfighting was regarded as an unlawful gambling activity until 2012.
  • In 2012, a three-casino limit per zone was overturned.
  • Any lottery winnings are subject to a 15% tax imposed by the lottery operator.