87.5 F
Charlotte Amalie
Tuesday, August 16, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesCASINO TRAINING SCHOOL’S HAND NOT SHOWN

CASINO TRAINING SCHOOL’S HAND NOT SHOWN

With less than six months to go before the opening of St. Croix’s first casino, not one Virgin Islander has been trained to work in the gaming industry.
The hospitality training school, theoretically in existence for two-and-a-half years to train casino workers, saw its license expire last week, funding is just now being identified and instructors have yet to be licensed by the Casino Control Commission.
"That’s going to take some time," said Judge Eileen Petersen, chairwoman of the commission, at the CCC’s regular meeting Friday.
At the meeting, commissioners said the school will open in early August.
Mississippi-based Treasure Bay Casino will open in the remodeled Diva Carina Bay Resort on St. Croix’s southeast shore on Dec. 1. The resort is scheduled to this fall.
The V.I. Casino and Resort Control Act states that six months prior to the time the CCC issues its first casino license, the University of the Virgin Islands and the St. Croix Educational Complex are to provide training to resident workers.Legalized gaming is not supposed to be allowed until that occurs. The act also mandates that 80 percent of all casino workers must be residents of the Virgin Islands.
In 1996, the V.I. Department of Tourism was given the task of coordinating the gaming school, said Commissioner Imelda Dizon. In 1997, there were 125 people registered for the school, but classes never "materialized" because of a lack of funding, she said.
At that point, Dizon said the CCC wasn’t concerned because there was no casino application on the horizon.
"It was felt if we trained residents too early they might forget or use their skills somewhere else," Dizon said.
Now, however, the lack of urgency in the ranks of the government and community has Petersen concerned. She said that the gaming industry is highly regulated and that laws applicable to regulating casinos must be followed precisely.
"We’ll be considered a joke in the world" if the school isn’t operating, she said. "That laid-back approach conflicts with the function of … the Casino Control Commission.
"We can’t operate as business as usual. (Casinos) will never invest in this community unless we go through this process." Petersen continued. "Investors are waiting to see what happens with this first application."
Commissioner Dennis Brow said that as of July 7, 82 residents had completed a employment registration form.
According to the casino act, different positions on the casino floor require differing amounts of training. For example, for a student to deal a first game of blackjack, they need 160 hours of training. For baccarat and roulette it is 200 hours and for craps it is 240. To deal subsequent hands, additional training hours are required.
"We didn’t sufficiently study to see what it takes to run a casino/hotel," Petersen said. "I hope we can get our school up and running in a month."
In other action, commissioners called a proposal to merge the CCC with the V.I. Lottery "short sighted" and said an idea to make commissioners part time would mean less production. Petersen also said replacements for two commissioners whose terms are expiring haven’t been filled.
"To denegrate the effectivness of the Casino Commission at this time seems inappropriate," Petersen said.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.




Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.

FROM FACEBOOK

Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons
Load more
With less than six months to go before the opening of St. Croix’s first casino, not one Virgin Islander has been trained to work in the gaming industry.
The hospitality training school, theoretically in existence for two-and-a-half years to train casino workers, saw its license expire last week, funding is just now being identified and instructors have yet to be licensed by the Casino Control Commission.
"That’s going to take some time," said Judge Eileen Petersen, chairwoman of the commission, at the CCC’s regular meeting Friday.
At the meeting, commissioners said the school will open in early August.
Mississippi-based Treasure Bay Casino will open in the remodeled Diva Carina Bay Resort on St. Croix’s southeast shore on Dec. 1. The resort is scheduled to this fall.
The V.I. Casino and Resort Control Act states that six months prior to the time the CCC issues its first casino license, the University of the Virgin Islands and the St. Croix Educational Complex are to provide training to resident workers.Legalized gaming is not supposed to be allowed until that occurs. The act also mandates that 80 percent of all casino workers must be residents of the Virgin Islands.
In 1996, the V.I. Department of Tourism was given the task of coordinating the gaming school, said Commissioner Imelda Dizon. In 1997, there were 125 people registered for the school, but classes never "materialized" because of a lack of funding, she said.
At that point, Dizon said the CCC wasn’t concerned because there was no casino application on the horizon.
"It was felt if we trained residents too early they might forget or use their skills somewhere else," Dizon said.
Now, however, the lack of urgency in the ranks of the government and community has Petersen concerned. She said that the gaming industry is highly regulated and that laws applicable to regulating casinos must be followed precisely.
"We’ll be considered a joke in the world" if the school isn’t operating, she said. "That laid-back approach conflicts with the function of ... the Casino Control Commission.
"We can’t operate as business as usual. (Casinos) will never invest in this community unless we go through this process." Petersen continued. "Investors are waiting to see what happens with this first application."
Commissioner Dennis Brow said that as of July 7, 82 residents had completed a employment registration form.
According to the casino act, different positions on the casino floor require differing amounts of training. For example, for a student to deal a first game of blackjack, they need 160 hours of training. For baccarat and roulette it is 200 hours and for craps it is 240. To deal subsequent hands, additional training hours are required.
"We didn’t sufficiently study to see what it takes to run a casino/hotel," Petersen said. "I hope we can get our school up and running in a month."
In other action, commissioners called a proposal to merge the CCC with the V.I. Lottery "short sighted" and said an idea to make commissioners part time would mean less production. Petersen also said replacements for two commissioners whose terms are expiring haven’t been filled.
"To denegrate the effectivness of the Casino Commission at this time seems inappropriate," Petersen said.