The land-based casinos that have been allowed to prosper in the tiny island nation of Samoa have only been allowed to do so if the native residents of the island would be protected from the dangers that gambling inherently holds. When the members of the previous parliament approved the idea of casinos on the island, they only did so only after reaching the verdict that residents with Samoan passports would be prohibited from entering them. As it stands today, only people with foreign passports may enter and enjoy the casinos that are located on the island. With its close proximity to New Zealand, the tiny island has a consistent influx of Kiwis who enjoy patronizing the local casinos situated on breathtaking beaches.
During a discussion on the laws that govern casino management in Samoa, Faumuina Wayne Fong, the ruling HRPP party Member of Parliament, initiated a call on the government to reconsider their stance on allowing locals into the casinos. The Member of Parliament for the urban seat of Faleata West has informed the parliament that the board accountable for collecting revenue is in danger of extremely low earnings primarily because only foreigners are allowed into the casinos. They postulate that if the locals were allowed to access the casinos that are in their own back yards, that the total revenue for the year would reach desirable levels. It has been projected to be the definite increase that has been previously needed.
The Samoan Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Seilele Malielegaoi, thinks that the locals should stick to bingo and has frankly rejected the call to let Samoans into their own casinos. He recalls the primary reason that the casinos were allowed on the island to begin with and holds true to the previous parliament’s values to keep the dangers of gambling away from his beloved indigenous people. This strict regulation does drive Samoan residents to visit offshore destinations for gambling entertainment, such as legal New Zealand online gambling sites.
It’s not as if this decision was made decades ago. The first gambling licenses were awarded in 2010 in an attempt to recover from the 2009 tsunami, which wiped out about 30% of the local economy. It wasn’t until 2014 that the first casino in Samoa opened near the international airport at Aggie Greys Resort at Mulifanua. The prime minister explained himself on his weekly radio show before the casino opened, citing increased job opportunities and tourism to the island as the benefactors of such a decision. The idea, as reiterated by the prime minister, was to get tourists to spend more time and money on the island to and to pour new wealth into the local economy.
Today, the largest casino in Samoa is the Whitesands Casino Samoa located in Apia. It has 24 table games, 220 slot, gaming, and video poker consoles. The casino is set on a beautiful tropical landscape and has direct beach access. The Parliamentary bills committee will make the final decision after they have sufficient time to deliberate on the various claims by several members of parliament and the prime minister’s stance on the matter.