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Casino hint for capital

Felix Chaudhary
Sunday, June 10, 2012

FIJI'S first casino will mark the introduction of legalised gambling and the setting up of the first ever controls over gambling in the country.

One Hundred Sands, the company tasked to establish the money-spinner, has also been asked to keep the environment in mind, according to permanent secretary for Public Enterprises, Tourism and Communication, Elizabeth Powell.

She also revealed that One Hundred Sands was granted a licence to operate two casinos in the country with Suva being hinted as a possibility for the company's second venture.

Despite the public hue and cry over the introduction of Fijis first casino, Ms Powell said people needed to take things in perspective and realise that gambling had been in existence in the country in one form or another for decades.

"Lets be realistic. Gaming in Fiji is already widespread we've got lotto, scratchies, bingo and sports betting people have been gambling for some time but in an unregulated manner," she said.

"With the introduction of the casino, we will see the establishment of controls via the Fijian Gaming Commission Control Board. This means that for the first time we will monitor and control all forms of legalised gambling in the country not just the casino alone," she said.

Ms Powell said the FGCCB would be responsible for the issuing of all licences pertinent to the gaming and gambling industry.

"This includes licences for casino, licences for vendors, employees' licences and it will also be involved in the screening of people looking to be employed in the industry.

"Government is not taking this lightly, a lot of thought has been put into security and the protection of locals."

She also emphasised that the introduction of the casino would see the establishment of one of the greenest hotel properties in the country.

"It will be as close as possible to a green development as can be with the utilisation of natural resources and it will also ensure its demand on infrastructure including water, sewerage and electricity is minimised."

Ms Powell said Suva was a possible venue for the second casino given developments in neighbouring Nausori.

"This government has recognised that the development of Nausori is very critical. Besides that, we have the capital city which is the centre of business and seat of government and are also host to regional offices and one third of our population resides there, so this is a possibility."





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