In a meeting marking the end of an era for two of its commissioners, the V.I. Casino Control Commission on Friday extended for one year the license of Divi Carina Bay Casino; extended for six months VIGL Operations LLC.’s temporary operating certificate; and extended for one year the reservation of a license for Golden Gaming.
Commission members Roderick Moorehead and Henry Richardson attended their last meeting, serving 120 more days than when their appointed terms ended in June. V.I. law requires they now step down, although no replacements have been confirmed.
Commission Chairwoman Violet Anne Golden said, “I am now the last lady standing.”
Former Sen. Usie Richards has been nominated for a place on the three-member commission but has not been confirmed by the Senate. When Richards recently made his an appearance before the Senate, he was dogged by questions concerning charges against him about sexual harassment when he was a senator.
Richardson said one of the commission’s accomplishments during his time that he is proud of is facilitating VIGL Operations’ casino opening in Christiansted in April. He told the Source that he hopes the commission keeps VIGL’s “feet to the fire” in the commitment to add more than 30 hotel rooms in Christiansted with the next 30 months. The expansion of Caravelle Hotel is to be where the parking lot between it and Angry Nate’s is now.
When Jason Williams, general manager for the downtown casino, was giving his presentation for the extension of the operating certificate, Richards questioned him about the additional hotel rooms.
Williams said he could not speak to the details, but he said he was assured that the company remained committed to the expansion. Problems with land acquisition, stationing of cranes in downtown and permit delays were all cited as reasons why work has not yet begun on the expansion.
Williams said the casino, which opened in April, has 71 slot machines. He added that the casino has 56 employees, of which 91 percent are residents and that the average employee salary is $14.53 per hour.
He said, “As a Virgin Islander, I am proud of VIGL efforts in making the Caravelle Casino truly a locally led company.” He said that since the casino opened it has paid “$164,180 in casino taxes” and has donated over $20,000 to local charities, organizations and outreach events.
In other business, the commission approved casino employee licenses, casino servicing entity licenses, hotel employee registrations and employee work permits.