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THE GAMALYZE CHALLENGE

New Casino in Fiji Possible, but Locals Not Welcome

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David Group, a company known for its junket operations and investment in Macau, has announced plans to invest FJ$2 billion (US$895 million) in a luxury casino and hotel resort development in the island nation of Fiji. The proposed project, if approved, would represent a significant expansion of Fiji's tourism industry and could inject a much-needed boost into the country's economy.

Recognizing the Economic Benefits of Casinos

Per local media outlet Fiji Times, David Group project manager Sandeep Singh announced that the development will be split into two distinct stages. With a price tag of FJ$1 billion (US$447.5 million), the initial phase will encompass the establishment of a casino, alongside the creation of a seven-star hotel with 1,000 rooms.

Additional features within this phase will include restaurants, conference rooms, commercial enterprises, shopping centers, a marina and essential infrastructure support. Meanwhile, the second phase mirrors the cost of the first. It will include a luxury subdivision, a theme park, a rugby stadium and more.

Related: Thailand Ready to Advance Casino Legalization Discussion

The location of the project remains uncertain, as both Denarau Island and Wailoaloa in Nadi are being contemplated as potential options. Nevertheless, the finalization of legal preparations hinges upon procuring the essential gambling licenses. Evaluating this blueprint, the Fijian government remains enthusiastic, emphasizing the essentiality of harmonizing economic progression with social welfare.

The forthcoming project fits seamlessly into the Fijian administration's scheme to inspire private enterprise investment and enhance the tourism industry's allure. Casino tourism has been notably deficient in the country, and this initiative has the potential to ignite rapid growth in the tourist domain, drawing more visitors, most notably from China. Additionally, over 600 fresh job opportunities are anticipated to sprout, contributing to an upsurge in hospitality sector capabilities.

No Locals Allowed

While the project holds immense potential for economic growth, it has also sparked discussions regarding its social impact. To address concerns about potential gambling addiction and its impact on the local community, David Group has stated that the casino will only be accessible to international visitors. Fiji residents will be prohibited from entering the casino, and strict security measures will be implemented to enforce this restriction.

Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka has acknowledged the project's potential benefits but has also expressed the government's commitment to prioritizing the welfare of local communities. He has stated that the proposal will be carefully evaluated, taking into account the interests of all stakeholders.

David Group's ambitious casino and hotel resort project is poised to transform Fiji's tourism landscape and reshape the country's economic trajectory. While the development carries potential challenges, the government's commitment to responsible gaming practices and community engagement could pave the way for a successful and mutually beneficial endeavor.

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