"I feel there is a weight off my shoulders" - businessman on Sleepin Casino approval
Tuesday 1st December 2020
Businessman Clifton Bacchus is relieved and excited that, after years of waiting and millions wasted, he is finally granted permission to operate the Carnival Casino which is part of the Sleepin International Hotel located at Church Street, Georgetown.
The Sleepin International Hotel, on November 30, officially received the requisite licences to operate from the Guyana Gaming Authority (GGA).
The US$20M Carnival Casino - which was launched in 2016 - opened its doors today, with strict Covid-19 guidelines in place.
When contacted, the hotelier said "I feel good, I feel there is a weight off my shoulders."
He explained that, throughout the years, he has lost millions of dollars due to the delays and challenges he faced with the Gaming Authority which was being led by Roysdale Forde who is now an APNU/AFC Member of Parliament.
"I lost a lot of money because, remember I have loans and mortgages to pay, and I have to pay mortgages and there is no income," he explained.
"And then you had to send back the machines, you talking freight and then you have to bring them back five years after and put them back in, you gotto get IT to hook them back up and re-programme them," Bacchus added.
He noted too that "and when you got a building lock up...it deteriorates."
He noted that in the past, when he made applications to the Gaming Authority in 2016 and 2017 - each application costed some $9M.
His third application, made some three months ago to the Gaming Authority which is now headed by former Tourism Minister Manniram Prashad, costed some $10M.
Notwithstanding the setbacks, the businessman is eager to embark on this new journey.
Bacchus said as of now, 150 persons are employed but over time, he hopes to double that amount.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Gaming Authority, when contacted, explained that Bacchus' application had no issues and that everything was in order.
"There's no special considerations...[in the past] his [the hotelier's] licences were rejected. This is the third application. We looked at the documents submitted and we approved it. We think it was in order," Prashad said.