10 Jul 2012

Casino company unsure when Samoa issues casino licences

10:33 am on 10 July 2012

A Hawaii-based company that wants to build a casino in a five-star resort in Samoa says it has no idea when the government will decide if it will be given a licence.

Samoa passed legislation in 2010 which will allow casinos to be built but the government has said only foreigners will be allowed to gamble there.

The National Council of Churches says it fears the love of money and the casino will only drive people further into poverty.

But the CEO of the South Pacific Development Group, Jesse James, says he has no idea when the government will make a decision on the licences.

He says his company hasn't even started the application process and there are many companies which are interested in building the facilities.

Mr James says over the next month they will start clearing the Savai'i village land they are leasing and plan to start construction of the resort next year.