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Baha Mar Casino Resort confirmed to open in the Bahamas

The

BahaMar
Caribbean’s largest casino, Baha Mar Casino and Resort, has confirmed it will open its doors to the public on 21 April, following delays and a public hearing held by the Bahamas Gaming Board.

Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe announced that the company had been granted a gaming license on 4 April, just three weeks before the planned soft opening: “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 license (subject to appropriate conditions) to Sky Warrior Bahamas Limited and certificates of suitability to its material shareholders.”

Sky Warrior Bahamas is a subsidiary of Baha Mar owner Chow Tai Fook Enterprises led by Alex Pariente and John Zaremba, both with executive gaming experience in Las Vegas and Caribbean casinos. Graeme Davis, president of Chow Tai Fook Enterprises, addressed critics among the opposition party to Prime Minister Perry Christie’s government who have accused Baha Mar’s planned soft opening of being a “sham” due to a lack of marketing, adding that the 100,000 square-foot casino would “open thoughtfully” with invited, non-paying guests to “ensure the experience is exceptional from day one.”

Baha Mar’s grand opening comes after a three-and-a-half year long delay following CEO Sarkis Izmirlian’s decision to halt construction in the spring of 2015 due to disputes with the state-owned Chinese contractor. However, the $4.2 billion project was later seized by the Bahamian government and resold to Chow Tai Fook Enterprises against Izmirlian’s wishes, in an attempt to breathe new life into the tourism industry of the celebrated Cable Beach area. Chow Tai Fook Enterprises have also been issued a permit for the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar, the first of six hotels in development in what looks set to be a massive, area-invigorating project.

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