- Past Issues
Teresita Santos, chair of the Rota legislative delegation, has submitted a bill to cut the pay of members of the Rota Casino Gaming Commission and reduce the size of the commission from five to four members. Rota has no operating casino following the closure of the Rota Treasure Island casino in 2011 after less than a year in business while taxpayers owe commissioners $561,000 in unpaid salaries. The annual salary of commission members is now $60,000 but her bill would link their pay to that of board members of government companies, generally less than $100 a day.
Senator Hokkons Baules introduced a bill to legalize and regulate casino gambling in Palau, citing a need to attract investment and tourists. President Tommy Remengesau Jr. however said he would respect the public sentiment expressed in a 2011 referendum where 75 percent of voters rejected casinos. Previous casino bills received presidential vetoes in 2003 and 2009.
Legislators in Yap are continuing a battle with the Micronesian state’s government over a deal it signed for Chengdu-based Exhibition and Travel Group to develop a casino resort on the island. The legislature adopted a resolution in May instructing the state foreign investment board to cancel the investment permit issued to ETG, saying that its issuance involved improper preferential treatment and citing the detention in China of ETG chairman Deng Hong and other circumstances.
Benjamin Cruz, vice speaker of the Guam legislature, asked the island’s attorney general to review his draft bill to prohibit casino cafes as Guam Sweepstakes Corp., a subsidiary of PhilWeb Corp. prepares to open a second location. The cafes give customers the chance to play games such as blackjack and keno to acquire points that can be converted into sweepstakes entries, which Cruz argued represents illegal gambling.
The South Australian parliament passed amendments to authorize a A$300 million ($277.2 million) expansion of SkyCity Adelaide Casino and halve the maximum bet limit on gambling machines in the state to A$5. Other proposed changes, regarding problem gambling measures and creating two classes of gambling machine halls, were rejected.
South Australia’s Independent Gambling Authority issued a draft code of practice that would, from December, require betting companies to include prominent anti-gambling messages during their TV and radio ads and on their billboards and on any sponsored uniforms.
Lim Kok Thay, chairman of Malaysia’s Genting Group, said the group is still waiting to hear from Australian regulators in Queensland and New South Wales on its application to raise its stake in Echo Entertainment Group Ltd. to 10 percent though he said he would be interested in buying a larger interest if allowed.
Tony Fung, a Hong Kong property and banking tycoon, is one step closer to realising his dream of building the Aquis Great Barrier Reef Resort in Cairns, Australia, after Queensland declared it a “coordinated project”, thus giving it a streamlined approval process. The project includes a Macau-style casino complex, five luxury hotels, a stadium, villas, lagoons, high-end retail, and a golf course on a 283-hectare site. Fung said that “the man-made wonder of the world” would attract not only “the Chinese mass-market middle class, but also the big spending, high value, ever expanding Chinese upper class”.
Although waterfront hotels in Cebu, Philippines, have been hosting legs of the Asian Poker Tour and Asia Pacific Poker Tour, a city council resolution to authorize Cebu Grand Management Group Inc. to open a poker room inside the Casino Filipino at the Crown Regency Hotel was recently vetoed by Michael Rama, mayor of Cebu City. He said later he acted in objection to new gambling operations in the city.
A man on a list of gamblers excluded from entry to the country’s casinos was arrested for trying to enter the Resorts World Sentosa casino in Singapore using his friend’s identification document without his knowledge. In a separate incident, seven people were arrested and 12 computers seized in a raid on an illegal gambling den in Geylang. One of the suspects was believed to be involved in managing the site with the rest thought to be customers.