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Updated: Baha Mar Gets Govt Approvals For Gaming License

photo

Former Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe.

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Chief Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

BAHA Mar has received government approvals for its gaming licence, clearing the path for its casino operations ahead of its soft launch in three weeks, Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe confirmed yesterday.

Mr Wilchcombe said the approvals for a gaming

licence and associated certificates of suitability were granted after a comprehensive probity investigation, and on the recommendation of the Gaming Board.

He noted that there were no written comments or objections from the public within the designated 21-day period after the application was advertised, in compliance with requirements of the Gaming Act 2014.

The gaming application was submitted by Chow Tai Fook Enterprises (CTFE) subsidiary Sky Warrior Bahamas Ltd, trading as Baha Mar.

In a statement yesterday, Mr Wilchcombe said: “As required by the (Gaming) Act, a comprehensive probity investigation was conducted into the application. Through this investigation, which was based on all the eligibility criteria for licensing contained in the Act, the applicant and all persons, whether natural or juristic, holding a direct or indirect financial interest of five per cent or more in it were thoroughly examined against these criteria.

“Under Section 20(2) of the Act, the Gaming Board for the Bahamas held a hearing in respect of the application, including having hosted a gathering, which was accessible to the public, at which the applicant presented the key features of the project to which its application for a gaming licence pertained, and responded to questions posed to it by the public.”

Mr Wilchcombe’s statement continued: “The Gaming Board, having considered the application and the report submitted to it in respect of the probity investigation, recommended the approval of the application for a gaming licence and the various related certificates of suitability.

“Having thoroughly reviewed these recommendations, as well as the investigation report and all other documentation pertaining to the application, I have reached the conclusion that the application, the applicant and its material stakeholders have all met the qualification requirements for licensing set forth in the Act, and therefore have resolved to grant a gaming licence (subject to appropriate conditions) to Sky Warrior Bahamas Limited and certificates of suitability to its material shareholders.”

He added: “The Gaming Board and its staff will continue to work with the applicant to ensure that the prevailing pre-opening requirements leading up to the soft opening of the Baha Mar Casino on April 21, 2017, are duly met.”

Last week, Graeme Davis, president of Chow Tai Took Enterprises’ (CTFE) Bahamian subsidiary, pushed back at “baseless” and “untrue” allegations contained in an open letter to the Gaming Board, which accused the resort’s buyer of being allegedly associated with “international crime” organisations through its link to a Macau gaming group.

The allegations were put forth in a paid advertisement by “Bahamians who want a better Bahamas” in The Tribune. The ad asked the Gaming Board to take note of concerns about alleged “documented associations with international crime” and the owners of CTFE, Baha Mar’s buyer.

At the resort’s public hearing on Friday, Baha Mar’s new owner hit back at opposition claims that the soft opening was a “sham”, pledging that it will not repeat the mistakes of previous developer, Sarkis Izmirlian.

At the time, Mr Davis said that the Hong Kong-based conglomerate has “one chance to get it right” during his presentation for the resort’s licence to own and operate the project’s 100,000 square foot casino, the largest in the Caribbean.

Comments

DDK 4 years, 8 months ago

Amazing how quickly they can do things when they want to, simply amazing! So is the pink/peach elephant to "open" the day before the General Election?

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John 4 years, 8 months ago

Bah Mar is scheduled to open 'softly' on April 21. Elections will be around the second week in May. Strangely while reading the article above when I came to the paragraph that says, "The gaming application was submitted by Chao Ti Fook..", I thought Ikaliki had hacked the Tribune.

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John 4 years, 8 months ago

Can you guess who the PLP dug outta da closet and blew artificial air into his lungs to help starve off the attacks of Social Media and Omar Archer. Yes last name is Banister. A new web site has been created to duplicate Bahamas News Ma Bey, and showing up on Facebook accounts.,again and to launch attacks at Archer, who the site claims will be released at his next court appearance. Archer must have been throwing some heavy blows for the government to resort to their own slime page again

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John 4 years, 8 months ago

Page called Bahama Juice, he juice you aye?

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CommonSense 4 years, 8 months ago

Cindy Patrice say that's the page to be on.

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banker 4 years, 8 months ago

How can a non-owner hold a licence and operate a casino? This is a circus!

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Alex_Charles 4 years, 8 months ago

They got a gaming license in days, we wait 4 - 9 months for a business license? GTFOH

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SP 4 years, 8 months ago

.............................................. Surprise, Surprise, Surprise .............................................

Lol! The PLP bullshit continues unabated!

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kellyrum 4 years, 8 months ago

And still the Foreign Creditors and Expats are left swinging in the wind with zero communication from the Committee as it relates to the monies owed to them.

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John 4 years, 8 months ago

At this point I would say let them do what is 'reasonable ' to get Bah Mar open. It is serving no purpose sitting there idle. The maintenance costs are astronomical and so is depreciation. And considering what is going on with properties in Freeport they may need a slow start up to control costs. Some feel Freeport 's problems are due to a softening tourist market. Others think it's due to lack of marketing and promotion. Hopefully the government will see wisdom and not allow construction of another hotel project of this size again, at least not to be done as a one shot deal. Several small hotels seem better than one huge one. Avoid the case of having all your eggs in one basket.

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cmiller 4 years, 8 months ago

Who gets a gambling license? The hotel isn't sold yet, right? This whole thing is so confusing.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 4 years, 8 months ago

The Bahamian public would be shocked to know where Sky Warrior Bahamas Limited is incorporated (domiciled) and exactly who are its directors, registered shareholders and ultimate beneficial owners.

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Reality_Check 4 years, 8 months ago

Do you know the address of Sky Warrior Bahamas Limited's registered office and who serves as its registered agent?

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John 4 years, 8 months ago

According to the paper trail Sky Warrior (Bahamas) is a subsidiary of Chow Tia Fook Enterprises which is owned by the Chang family in China. Of course Sky Warriors is most likely incorporated in the Bahamas for the ease of doing business and most likely the board of directors include some of the politicians who are 'intimately ' involved with the project. But based on the premise that a casino cannot be furnished and its staff be trained until a casino licenses is granted does this mean the developer had a license? He already had the casino furnished (with leased gaming equipment) and the casino staff was both trained and on the payroll. Yes this is confusing. And if you watch what is happening with the Web Casinos, they are open and operating while work is still going on.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 4 years, 8 months ago

Are you referring to your Hong Kong "paper trail"?

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John 4 years, 8 months ago

Not. I'm referring to information as it was reported in the media. But if you know the facts otherwise ... then you can tell us.

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BMW 4 years, 8 months ago

Maybe obie can get the treasure bay and related hotels opened just as quick as he pushed thru their gaming lisence.

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