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HomeNewsArchivesCASINO LICENSE RESERVED FOR 2 YEARS FOR GOLDEN

CASINO LICENSE RESERVED FOR 2 YEARS FOR GOLDEN

Oct. 26, 2001 — The Casino Control Commission on Thursday reserved one of the two allowed "Casino II" casino licenses for two years for Golden Gaming Inc.
The commission granted Golden Gaming, owned by New Jersey-based Paul Golden, a statement of compliance for a Casino II resort and casino in June. That status gave Golden a year to prove the integrity of the financial backing for his proposed 400-room hotel casino, the suitability of the resort for the island, and the experience of his team to operate such a facility.
The Casino Control Act allows for six casinos to be built on St. Croix. The two Casino II facilities must have 300 to 1,400 rooms and a 10,000-square-foot casino.
Another applicant, Robin Bay Associates, which is currently undergoing a background check, is proposing to build the other Casino II facility on St. Croix's southeast shore.
The commission’s approval of Golden’s reservation request for a Casino II license gives him two years to move ahead with his project. Every six months during the period, he must submit reports to the commission updating his financial backing, any changes in his business plans and the status of permitting for the construction work.
Golden has purchased some 265 acres at Great Pond Bay for the project, which includes an 18-hole golf course.
The rationale behind granting a license reservation for Golden was that he, unlike many other potential investors, had made a commitment to build, commission member Lloyd McAlpin said.
"Since 1995 we’ve met with a number of potential investors," McAlpin said. "We cannot continue to sit back and continue to meet with investors. We need firm commitments. I think that has been demonstrated by Paul Golden."
The Casino Control Act sets these specifications for the six resort-casino properties allowed on St. Croix:
– Casino I, of which one can be built, must have a hotel of 1,500-plus rooms with a casino of at least 20,000 square feet.
– Casino II, of which two can be built, must have a hotel with 300 to 1,400 rooms and a casino of at least 10,000 square feet. Golden Gaming now has one of these reserved while Robin Bay Associates is applying for the other.
– Casino III, of which two can be built, must have a hotel of 200 to 299 rooms and a casino of at least 7,000 square feet. At least 51 percent of a level III resort/casino must be owned by a native Virgin Islander.
– Casino IV, of which one can be built, must have a hotel of 150 to 199 rooms and a casino of at least 5,000 square feet. The territory's first — and to date only — casino operation, Divi Carina Bay Resort and Casino, has this facility.
Eileen Petersen, Casino Control Commission chair, said she is confident the Senate will consider amending the 1,500-room requirement for Casino I because it is unlikely an investor will turn up to build such a large property.
"That Casino I should be amended so it doesn’t preclude" another investor, she said.
In other commission action, member Imelda Dizon expressed concern that the V.I. Hospitality Training School still is not in operation.
The Casino Control Act calls for the University of the Virgin Islands, the Education Department and the Tourism Department to organize such a school to train casino employees. The act also mandates that 80 percent of all casino workers must be residents of the Virgin Islands.
In 1996, Tourism was given the task of coordinating the gaming school. Classes never materialized, with lack of funding given as the reason.
The casino act also mandates that casinos must have at least 65 percent local residents as employees by the first year of operation, 75 percent by the second year, and 95 percent by the third year.
The Divi Carina Bay casino operation, which opened in March 2000, currently employs 324 people, 73 percent of them Virgin Islanders. But Bernie Burkholder, president and CEO of Treasure Bay V.I. Corp., the company that operates the casino, said recently that it is difficult to comply with the law. And meeting the hiring requirements will become more difficult as additional resort-casinos come on line, he has said.
"It’s very hard to enforce the law because we don’t have the training school," Dizon said. "We hope the government will help with funding and restarting … the school."
Divi, meanwhile, has tried to solve the problem by holding its own training courses at the casino, Dizon said. On Nov. 11, the casino will hold a table game training class that is open to the public.

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Oct. 26, 2001 -- The Casino Control Commission on Thursday reserved one of the two allowed "Casino II" casino licenses for two years for Golden Gaming Inc.
The commission granted Golden Gaming, owned by New Jersey-based Paul Golden, a statement of compliance for a Casino II resort and casino in June. That status gave Golden a year to prove the integrity of the financial backing for his proposed 400-room hotel casino, the suitability of the resort for the island, and the experience of his team to operate such a facility.
The Casino Control Act allows for six casinos to be built on St. Croix. The two Casino II facilities must have 300 to 1,400 rooms and a 10,000-square-foot casino.
Another applicant, Robin Bay Associates, which is currently undergoing a background check, is proposing to build the other Casino II facility on St. Croix's southeast shore.
The commission’s approval of Golden’s reservation request for a Casino II license gives him two years to move ahead with his project. Every six months during the period, he must submit reports to the commission updating his financial backing, any changes in his business plans and the status of permitting for the construction work.
Golden has purchased some 265 acres at Great Pond Bay for the project, which includes an 18-hole golf course.
The rationale behind granting a license reservation for Golden was that he, unlike many other potential investors, had made a commitment to build, commission member Lloyd McAlpin said.
"Since 1995 we’ve met with a number of potential investors," McAlpin said. "We cannot continue to sit back and continue to meet with investors. We need firm commitments. I think that has been demonstrated by Paul Golden."
The Casino Control Act sets these specifications for the six resort-casino properties allowed on St. Croix:
– Casino I, of which one can be built, must have a hotel of 1,500-plus rooms with a casino of at least 20,000 square feet.
– Casino II, of which two can be built, must have a hotel with 300 to 1,400 rooms and a casino of at least 10,000 square feet. Golden Gaming now has one of these reserved while Robin Bay Associates is applying for the other.
– Casino III, of which two can be built, must have a hotel of 200 to 299 rooms and a casino of at least 7,000 square feet. At least 51 percent of a level III resort/casino must be owned by a native Virgin Islander.
– Casino IV, of which one can be built, must have a hotel of 150 to 199 rooms and a casino of at least 5,000 square feet. The territory's first -- and to date only -- casino operation, Divi Carina Bay Resort and Casino, has this facility.
Eileen Petersen, Casino Control Commission chair, said she is confident the Senate will consider amending the 1,500-room requirement for Casino I because it is unlikely an investor will turn up to build such a large property.
"That Casino I should be amended so it doesn’t preclude" another investor, she said.
In other commission action, member Imelda Dizon expressed concern that the V.I. Hospitality Training School still is not in operation.
The Casino Control Act calls for the University of the Virgin Islands, the Education Department and the Tourism Department to organize such a school to train casino employees. The act also mandates that 80 percent of all casino workers must be residents of the Virgin Islands.
In 1996, Tourism was given the task of coordinating the gaming school. Classes never materialized, with lack of funding given as the reason.
The casino act also mandates that casinos must have at least 65 percent local residents as employees by the first year of operation, 75 percent by the second year, and 95 percent by the third year.
The Divi Carina Bay casino operation, which opened in March 2000, currently employs 324 people, 73 percent of them Virgin Islanders. But Bernie Burkholder, president and CEO of Treasure Bay V.I. Corp., the company that operates the casino, said recently that it is difficult to comply with the law. And meeting the hiring requirements will become more difficult as additional resort-casinos come on line, he has said.
"It’s very hard to enforce the law because we don’t have the training school," Dizon said. "We hope the government will help with funding and restarting ... the school."
Divi, meanwhile, has tried to solve the problem by holding its own training courses at the casino, Dizon said. On Nov. 11, the casino will hold a table game training class that is open to the public.