Macau-based junket operator David Group has announced plans for Fiji’s first ever casino with a $2bn resort development, boasting a gaming floor, a 1,000-room, 7-star hotel along with retail, resturants, a rugby stadium and a Disney-style theme park.
If approved the development would be located in either Southern Denarau or Wailoaloa in Nadi.
David Group Fiji casino project head Sandeep Singh said: “The first phase of the development costing $1billion includes a stand-alone casino and 1000-room luxury integrated 7-star hotel with restaurants, conference rooms, a business centre, shopping mall, marina and the infrastructure required to connect this multifaceted development.
“The second phase costing another $1bn would include an amusement park Disney-style, indoor rugby stadium and entertainment complex and luxury sub division,” he added. “A casino would provide the opportunity to diversify the Fijian tourism sector and entice more tourists from China.”
Mr. Singh continued: “While a casino may be a lucrative inclusion to the Fijian tourism landscape, we must mitigate against the local community being exposed to gambling. And in line with the ethos of the Government and stakeholders such as the Methodist Church of Fiji. Fijian citizens will not be allowed to enter the casino and our strict security protocols will ensure that this requirement is upheld.”
Minister for Trade, Co-operatives, Small and Medium Enterprises and Communications, Manoa Kamikamica said that whilst the government had been made aware of the plans for a casino the topic had not even been discussed.
“Any suggestion in any form of media that Government is backing issuance of casinos or supports casinos is irresponsible and untrue. The establishment of Casinos is a issue that will concern the people of Fiji and must be handled with care and wisdom,” Mr. Kamikamica explained.
Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka added: “We may have our views on this but it has to be treated very cautiously taking into account all the stakeholders interest particularly the social stakeholders in Fiji.”
The David Group has said it would be in agreement with a five per cent tax gambling and that it would establish a charity trust with members of religious, civic and government stakeholders. It would be funded through an annual allocation of four per cent of net income similar to the Singapore Pools and PAGCOR in the Philippines.
The David Group would also provide $500,000 to the Ministry of Sports each year for the development of grassroots rugby.