26 Aug 2009

Palau chiefs expect big support in anti casino drive

2:52 pm on 26 August 2009

The Palau Council of Chiefs is aiming to get half the country's voters to sign a petition against the introduction of casinos as it believes they could destroy families.

So far more than 1,500 people have signed the petition which is circulating around schools, church groups, non-government organisations and the general public.

The legislation on casinos is currently being discussed by congress.

The Director of the Council of Chiefs Dilmei Olkeriil says she hopes more than 5,000 out of the 10,000 plus voters in Palau will sign the petition as the council strongly believes the establishment of casinos will destroy individuals and families when people become addicted.

"25 years ago we used to have slot machines in Palau. We know that many people lost their money. Many people were writing bad cheques. So we don't want that to happen."

Dilmei Olkeriil says the casinos could spark an increase in crime and gangs and could result in broken families and suffering children.