Speaking on behalf of Jamaica‘s Casino Gaming Commission (CGC), Walter Scott, Chairman of the Board of Commissioners, recently expressed a desire to fill the position of CEO with someone from overseas.
Phillip Shelton, the former gaming regulator from Victoria, Australia held the CEO position for a year before his resignation took effect in April. Shelton, who had 29 years of gaming industry experience, has been temporally replaced by Audrey Robinson, the casino commission’s general counsel who was asked to act in the position until such time as a replacement is found. In the annual report, CGC Chairman Scott noted that “Shelton brought a great deal of knowledge and capacity to the organisation and will be missed,” according to media outlet The Gleaner.
In the CGC’s annual report, Scott also expressed disappointment with Shelton’s relatively quick exit and the fact that while provisional approvals were awarded by Jamaica last year for two of the five applications it received for the maximum number of casinos allowed under the Casino Gaming Act of 2010 (pdf), it has yet to break ground on either.
The partnership between state-owned Harmonization Limited and investment firm Tavistock Group, Harmony Cove Limited, is the first and the larger project of the two. Phase 1 of the project is set to being next year and is expected to cost an estimated $970 million. Recently, Prime Minster Andrew Holness stated that the integrated casino resort project should move forward as it will be a major source of economic growth and will help to boost Jamaica’s reputation as a prime tourism location. The second project is Robert Torra’s Celebration Jamaica Development Ltd.
The CGC feels the position of CEO would be best suited to an expatriate who has international casino experience. The CGC said, “It is in the commission’s best interest to recruit a CEO from the international market. By so doing, it is likely to attract those persons with the requisite skills, knowledge and expertise to guide the operational framework, establish best practices and build industry knowledge.” According to the annual report, the base salary for the CEO position is $13.8 million, with traveling and other allowances of $120,000 and $3.2 million respectively, for a total of $17.2 million, as reported by the news agency.
Scott said that overall the CGC had a solid year and that it laid the foundation for effective regulation of the gaming industry, “once it gets going” according to the report. The CGC was established in 2010 under the Casino Gaming Act and is the regulatory body for casino gaming for the Caribbean island nation. The CGC board meets monthly and is responsible for granting casino licenses, which in accordance with the law, is limited to three.