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Robust casino guidelines needed: Rabuka

Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka says no casino licenses will be given or approved until the Government undertakes clear and well-developed robust policy guidelines on the issuance of casino licenses in Fiji, following extensive consultations.

In a media conference, responding to speculations and discussions on the proposed plan by David Group on a $2 billion investment proposal in Fiji, the Prime Minister said the Government has not considered or approved any policy guidelines on the issuance of casino licenses.

Rabuka said in 2011, the Bainimarama Government issued an exclusive gaming licence to One Hundred Sands, which was believed to build a Luxury Casino Resort Convention Centre, on Denarau.

Rabuka said in 2015, the FijiFirst Government revoked the licence of One Hundred Sands for breaching the condition, citing the failure of the casino failing to opening on time.

One Hundred Sands filed for a judicial review of the Government’s decision, which was dismissed by both the High Court and the Court of Appeal.

He said during the 2017-2018 National Budget Announcements, the former Minister for Economy announced that an exclusive licence would be granted to the Fiji National Provident Fund, in relation to its conference centre investment on Marriott Momi Bay.

Rabuka said the process of being granted a casino licence by the previous government was as follows: Application for a Class Two Gaming Licence made to the Attorney-General of the prescribed form; The payment of fees valued at one per cent of the estimated annual gross turnover for the year, as determined by the Attorney-General after consideration of FNPF’s submission in this regard to accompany the application form.

Also, an annual fee of one per cent of the annual gross turnover earned from the gaming proceeds for the second year of operation, also applied; The gaming licence fee maybe varied or waived on reasonable grounds; Also, that the licence will specify the period for which the licenses, is to be valid and such conditions as the Attorney-General thinks fit.

However, the Prime Minister said Cabinet recommended the proposal to issue a casino licence to FNPF and agreed that a decision was to be deferred and considered at a later date.

Ilaitia Ravuwai
Ilaitia Ravuwai
Journalist | news@fijilive.com

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