The Government of Fiji has announced its intention to legalise,
and enable the development and operation of Fiji's first
casino. The Government has released a document for potential
investors wishing to tender for what will be, at least initially,
an exclusive licence for the establishment and operation of a
What is being offered?
The Government has put a variety of fiscal incentives on the
table, which appears to include:
tax incentives including tax free imports of building and
construction materials and equipment; and
the ability to transfer profits out of the country in
accordance with the Reserve Bank of Fiji's Guidelines and
Developing a regulatory framework
There will be a process to develop a regulatory framework in
Fiji that will govern the prospective casino's operation in
Fiji. The Government has committed to putting in place a framework
that is in keeping with "international best practice in casino
operations and management". This will also incorporate the
country specific circumstances of Fiji, including the
socio-economic conditions and the Fiji brand(3).
While there have been recent casino developments in Singapore
and Malaysia which may be pertinent when developing a framework, we
briefly review the two regulatory frameworks in neighbouring Samoa
and Vanuatu(4) to see if there are any lessons to be learnt from
Establishing a casino tax and community fund
Similar to Vanuatu and Samoa, the Fiji Government has
preliminarily indicated that the Fiji casino will be subject to
taxation based on gross gaming revenue. It has also indicated that
the successful licensee will contribute around one (1) percent of
gross gaming revenue to a community benefit fund to be administered
by the Government. It is yet to be disclosed whether the Fiji
Government will impose an annual casino licence fee as applies in
Vanuatu and Samoa(5).
Vanuatu has had its framework and casino in place since 1993.
The legislation is the Casino Control Act 1993 (Vanuatu)
The key difference to the Samoan framework is that any
application for licences are made to the Minister, and the Minister
has the power to grant any person a licence for the operation of a
casino in Vanuatu(6).
Samoa enacted the Casino and Gambling Control Act 2010
(Samoa) on 19 October 2010. Unlike Vanuatu, Samoa has
established a Gambling Control Authority whose role includes:
inviting expressions of interest for the establishment and
operation of casinos and applications for casino licences and to
consider and determine those applications;
keeping under constant review all matters connected with
casinos and the activities of casino operators , and persons who
are in the position to exercise direct or indirect control over the
casino operators or persons associated with casino operators;
granting approval for new games and gaming equipment; and
general powers to monitor, review and investigate the operation
of casino's and the regulatory framework(7).
Which will it be in Fiji?
Again, it is yet to be disclosed whether Fiji will appoint a
similar authority with Samoan type regulatory powers to oversee the
development and operation of this new industry, or whether the
regulation will be a task solely for the responsible Minister.
Perhaps elements from the Singaporean and Malaysian models will be
better suited to Fiji's proposed industry.
PLN will provide a follow up article when more details of
Fiji's casino regulatory framework becomes available.
We note that interested developers and operators had until 30
November 2010 to submit an expression of interest.
1. Government of the Republic of Fiji Casino Development
& Operation Terms of Reference for Expressions of Interest last
viewed at documents.ag.gov.fj/Fiji%20Casino%20TOR%202010.pdf 25
2. Above at n1.
3. Above at n1.
4. Casino Control Act 1993 (Vanuatu); and Casino and
Gambling Control Act 2010 (Samoa).
5. Section 12 Casino Control Act 1993 (Vanuatu); and
Section 36 Casino and Gambling Control Act 2010
6. Section 2 and Section 4 Casino Control Act 1993
7. Section 7 Casino and Gambling Control Act 2010
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