Christmas Island sounds like a place in a fairy tale book but it does exist; 2600 kilometers from Perth, Australia and has a population of just 2000 people who are mostly Chinese (60%), Malay (25%) and European (15%). The Christmas Island Resort was once the most popular place on the Island, especially after it opened a casino in 1993 which started to attract a lot more tourists.
The Federal Government decided to shut down the casino within a period of 5 years and closed down The Christmas Island Resort casino in 1998. The government at that time provided a list of factors such as an Asian economic crisis, closure of numerous Asian Air services, and mismanagement at the casino for terminating the casino’s license.
A few years later Christmas Island became home for an immigration detention center and neighboring detention centers that were overcrowded started transferring their inmates to Christmas Island. These facilities operated for a number of years in Phosphate Hill and Construction Camp on Christmas Island. However, the government has now decided to permanently shut down these detention centers.
The residents of Christmas Island are now petitioning the government to give them a license once again so that they can reopen the Christmas Island Resort casino. The casino provides the locals with employment and also brings in tourists which provide the locals with more revenue generating opportunities. Back in September 2014, the Commonwealth parliamentary committee released a report asking the government to issue a license so that the Christmas Island casino could be opened.
The report stated “The committee recommends that the Australian Government commit to facilitating the approval process to enable the reopening of the Christmas Island casino. Neither mining nor immigration-related activities will sustain the island’s economy indefinitely, and the casino has the potential to play a major role in transitioning the Christmas Island economy away from its traditional mainstays. While phosphate mining will continue for the next 20 years there is a need to diversify the economy as the detention centre activity declines.”
Treasurer Joe Hockey believes it is only fair for the government to grant Christmas Island a casino license and help the locals regain the jobs they once lost. The treasurer believes that Christmas Island has a great opportunity to attract VIP gamblers away from places like Macau, Singapore and the Philippines. The government of Australia will most likely review Christmas Island’s casino application in the coming months and should make a decision before the end of this year.