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Casino Building Plans Historically Opposed In Fiji

Casino Building Plans Has Been Historically Opposed In Fiji

The Citizens’ Constitutional Forum (CCF) is deeply concerned that the government has invited expressions of interest for the development and operation of a casino in Fiji, despite widespread opposition expressed against that proposal last year.

Historically, there has always been a widespread opposition to the idea of opening a casino in Fiji. Previous elected governments had to shelve proposals for casinos due to the concerns expressed by individuals, civil society, religious organisations and parliamentarians.

“CCF and several other civil society groups and individuals, had expressed concern last year, against the building of a casino in Fiji because it is known world over that casinos can have collateral damages. CCF is also concerned that the plans to build a casino is going ahead without any process that would be equivalent to parliamentary debate and public consultation,” CCF Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Rev Akuila Yabaki said.

If a casino does get built in Fiji, suitable regulations need to be in place to ensure that appropriate consideration is given to:

The impact on social welfare and culture;

The casino is restricted to tourists or those with a certain income threshold;

Measures to reduce possibilities of gambling addictions;

Fiji does not become susceptible to new crimes due to the influx of gambling tourists.

An Oxfam 2006 report found that the operation of a foreign-owned casino in Vanuatu since the 1980s, had not generated any increase in tourist numbers and neither had it generated any economic growth. The report further found that all the profits were repatriated overseas and none were reinvested back in Vanuatu. Although initially intended for the wealthy tourists, the report found that in recent times, the casino in Vanuatu was being patronised more by the poorer ni-Vanuatu, including women market vendors, hoping to strike it rich. The casino has created a growing social problem of gambling in Vanuatu.

In June 2010, the Solomon Islands Democratic Party had called for a reform of gambling legislation because of the social problems being caused by casinos in the capital Honiara.

ENDS

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