Papua New Guinea located in the south-western pacific region is one of the smaller countries that does not get a lot of attention. It has a population just under 9 million and most of them are located in the capital Port Moresby.
Papua New Guinea is now getting media attention after an announcement was made that Paga Hill Development Corporation had secured a casino license from the National Gaming Control Board (NGCB) to develop the first ever casino resort in Papua New Guinea.
While Papua New Guinea government, NGCB and Paga Hill are excited about the proposed $43 million casino resort, multiple parties have criticized the decision to develop a casino resort in Port Moresby.
Transparency International condemned the proposal and lashed out at the NGCB and said that it had no business issuing a casino license knowing fully well that Papua New Guinea did not have the infrastructure and programs in place to support the negative impact that would arise from casino gambling.
Transparency International said the NGCB is supposed to act as a referee in a football game and not jump in and pretend to be a player in the game. By issuing a license to Paga Hill, it had shirked its responsibilities to the locals as they would not be protected from gambling harm or the potential of money laundering activities.
Paul Barker who heads the Institute of National Affairs said Papua New Guinea was already suffering from problem gambling after the introduction of slot machines and a legalized casino would only compound those problems. He pointed to neighbouring Australia and said even though the Australian government had so many protocols in place to protest Aussies from gambling harm, Australia is still battling a growing increase in gambling addiction numbers.
Paga Hill Highlights Positive Aspects
Paga Hill faced the media when its COO George Hallit countered the negative publicity by saying that the positive aspects of a $43 million casino project also need to be highlighted. The casino resort would create thousands of part time and permanent jobs, increase tourism numbers and boost the overall economy of Papua New Guinea.
Hallit said that Papua New Guinea is going to attract a lot of tourists with its new casino resort. He said China’s expanding middle class is set to account for nearly 25 percent of all international tourism and 80 percent of all first time tourists visit a casino resort.