A Pacific service for gambling addicts in New Zealand says proposed legislation in Samoa to allow a casino would be more detrimental to society than beneficial to the economy.
The Problem Gambling Foundation of New Zealand recently launched Mapu Maia, a service dedicated to working with Pasifika communities in Auckland which are vulnerable to become addicted.
Its manager, Pesio Ah-Hone Siitia, says in New Zealand, the prevalence of problem gambling is six times higher among Pacific Islanders than European New Zealanders.
She says a casino in Samoa will not just attract tourists, but many locals from lower socio-economic groups making it harmful for families.
"We believe the cost, the social cost, the health cost, the crime cost associated with problem gambling, those will far outweigh the benefit to a casino as to what a casino would bring in to the economy. Im just really concerned and I'm really saddened that Samoa's taking this path."
Pesio Ah-Hone Siitia says she's hoping that there will be widespread opposition from the general public both in Samoa and New Zealand to the Casino and Gambling control bill 2010.