The Virgin Islands Casino Control Commission has been in operation for twenty years but only approved licensing for a casino one time in that time frame. On Friday, the commission decided to approve a casino license for a casino in St. Croix, allowing the Hotel Caravelle to provide slot gaming for an extended time frame. The venue already had been approved for a one year certificate to provide gaming and now has a license to operate full time.
The Commission consists of three members who met with senators and interested parties to hear the plans for the casinos, which would include the addition of 50 to 75 slot games on the hotel property, which is located along the Christiansted Harbor beside the Caravelle arcade. Renovations would be completed to bring the Hotel Caravelle to Class Four licensing status, with representatives of VIGL Operations LLC, CRG Holdings LLC and Casino Holdings LLC describing what needs to be done in the meeting.
The plans include 48 guest rooms at the hotel with a convention center and a seaplane port, to be created over the next few years. To date, less than 75 guest rooms that are required to be updated or completed, have been finished. The approval of the gaming license comes with a stipulation that the rooms must be completed within a 30 month time frame.
Remodeling began in June of 2015 on the Hotel Caravelle, but structural damage that was not known caused the need for even more construction, including steel support beams, electricity and plumbing. Rum Runners, a restaurant of the venue, was also renovated. The companies have spent over $3.5 million to make these changes. All of this was completed before the commission was asked for a gaming license.
Additional requirements of a Class Four license includes creating a banquet space for 400 people, a casino with 2,000 square feet of gaming space plus 60% reinvestment of the net cash flow for a period of ten years. When granting the casino license, the commission stated that the drawn plans of the finished project would have to be provided by April’s end.
Once the venue opens, the casino would have 50 to 70 employees and an additional 20 would be hired for the hotel. The Virgin Islands Labor Department has seen job descriptions filed and when the time comes, a job fair will be held in the area to fill the positions.
Marketing plans include the states of Louisiana and Illinois, as the casino would be marketed with posters placed in travel-center casino that are run by the companies involved in the project in the states. The posters will be located on monitors and will highlight a contest where a trip to St. Croix can be won as well as cash.