KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) — Jamaica has legalized casinos after a nearly yearlong debate that drew fierce opposition from religious groups.

Information Minister Daryl Vaz says the legislation allows the government to create the Casino Gaming Commission to grant licenses.
He said Saturday, May 8 that the island's deputy governor-general signed the bill because Gov. General Sir Patrick Allen was on vacation.

Allen is a former leader of a Seventh-day Adventist Church, and opposed the bill.

Jamaica currently has a few hundred slot machines at hotels in Kingston and tourist areas.

Prime Minister Bruce Golding has said that companies seeking a gambling license need to invest a minimum of $1.5 billion, and build a hotel with at least 2,000 rooms.