MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica — Construction on Jamaica’s first casino could start by the end of the year, according to Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett.

Bartlett said that interest in casino licenses is escalating, and that at least three licenses could be granted over the next three years for the operation of casinos in three resort areas.

"Casino gambling will be introduced and operated in a controlled manner to ensure that it does not define the destination, but simply becomes another offering provided for visitors," he said.

"Jamaica will become a destination that offers a casino gambling experience, rather than becoming a casino destination. The casino operations will take place in Montego Bay, at a development in Trelawny [on the north coast between Montego Bay and Ocho Rios] and the third on the western end of the island."

Jamaica stands to earn $120 million per quarter from the three casinos, Bartlett said.

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