At a recent discussion on casino management laws of Samoa, ruling HRPP party MP Faumuina Wayne Fong appealed to the government to consider allowing locals the opportunity to gamble at Samoa casinos. Earnings are reportedly low due to only foreigners being allowed to gamble and the MP feels that more revenues could be collected if locals were allowed to place wagers at local casinos.
The Samoan government passed laws in 2010 allowing for two casino licenses as a way to help recover from the 2009 tsunami that wiped out 30 percent of the country’s economy. Religious leaders on the island have long been opposed to allowing casino operations on the cash-strapped independent nation where the 2008 financial crisis slammed tourism and a cyclone tore through in 2012.
China’s Exhibitions Tourism Group (ETG) had plans to open a 500 key hotel and casino but the government withdrew their license after ETG’s chairman, Deng Hong, came under investigation for corruption by Chinese Communist Party officials in 2013 as Beijing broadened its crackdown on graft and corruption at home.
Whitesands Casino Samoa-Mulifanua opened to foreigner-only play in 2014 with a sister casino expected to open soon after in Apia. Starwood undertook a major renovation of the now Sheraton Samoa Aggie Grey’s Hotel & Bungalows, finally reopening Apia property last year, however, there is no word on whether or when the second casino will open there.