The National Gaming Control Board acknowledges the concerns raised by our civil society groups, churches, government watchdogs and individuals on the establishment of casino and duly appreciates their views relating to the social implications of the operation of a Casino in Papua New Guinea.
The NGCB is moving to assure all concerned Papua New Guineans that the Casino operation will be licensed to operate in a manner that delivers maximized socio-economic benefits with minimal adverse impacts to our people.
Strict casino regulations and world-class standards are expected of the new proposed casino which is essential for the protection of social welfare for our people and the experience we want to give our visitors.
The NGCB will work with our civil society groups and discuss the concerns in relation to the social implications of the operation of a casino operation in PNG. Our key focus is on a way forward principally to establish regulations and policies that will mitigate or eliminate those concerns.
We are in agreement that to introduce a casino we must be sure that we have measures in place to prevent Gambling Addiction, Social Security and Money Laundering which is a key global concern.
Our civil society groups and other government agencies are exercising their democratic rights by airing their views which is healthy and a key component in determining the national good. The NGCB is open to these concerns and views as the State regulator on this matter.
We are also seeking public submissions and research papers that will provide input to establish social regulatory policies on casino. This is one the core functions of the NGCB in ensuring that gambling related issues are addressed comprehensively through the collective views of the broader public through policy adjustments where necessary.
Mrs. Agon expressed that “there are many options available for adoption and we as the regulator are keeping a fluidity in that aspect of the casino operation through a tourism theme.”
“There is this prevalent option that the casino is to be open only to foreigners, however this is an infringement on the basic rights of our citizen under the Constitution and is not viable. There is also this option that casino be open to members who pay an annual fee, and this option is being discussed further.”
“Ultimately, the NGCB understands the complexities of the casino industry, hence we have prudently deliberated on strategic approaches on the basis of our General Regulatory Powers under the Act.”
“That includes development and operational license conditions, extensive awareness on gambling addiction including the creation of a help-line for that same purpose, the creation of thousands of jobs employment opportunities, strict anti-money laundering policy, increase gaming revenue through license fees, fines, charges and taxes under regulatory measures imposed.”
“The NGCB will always maintain a distinctive and practically stringent regulatory standards in the industry to protect our people from the adversities of gambling through performance based risk management control measures as where fit and proper.”
“Mrs. Agon is also reminding the public to be wary of “fake news” on social media in relation to the gaming industry. The CEO made the comments after misleading posts falsely claimed that NGCB has a commercial interest in the new Paga Hill Casino development project.”
“The role of the NGCB in relation to the PHDC Casino development proposal is of a regulatory nature, and does not entail any financial or commercial co-operation of any sorts,” Mrs. Agon reassures the public. “We are a statutory body operating on the behalf of the State and we will continue to focus on the national interest and our mandate.”
“Papua New Guineans may rest assured that the proposed casino, which will be built at the Paga Hill granted under the Government’s Tourism-Special Economic Zone for the Paga Hill Development Company, is aimed at enhancing tourism and economic investments while generating multiple streams of income to support a positive economic outlook.”
“The proposed casino is not a stand along casino operation, on the contrary, it will only form a nucleus to the Integrated Resort Model being proposed and developed. This Model support the development agendas of the State and Port Moresby as it entails building recreational facilities and various tourism attractions which will attract tourists to Port Moresby from Asia, the Pacific, Europe and the Americas.”
“The implementation of this project will see PNG taking the step forward in becoming a full-fledged tourism destination and capitalizing on the market in the ensuing years.”
“Undoubtedly, the casino will generate significant revenues for the State through direct or indirect investments, community projects, job creation from construction phases through to operation phases.”
“The project carries substantial foreign direct investments to the country. This investment capital trifles down through spin-off socio-economic benefits to the tourism industry, SMEs, all other supporting businesses involved in the service industry.”
On another front, the Chairman of the NGCB, Mr. Clemence Kanau, dismissed recent claims by CMSS PNG Limited in relation to the failed Boroko Casino Plan as “being unverified and baseless”. The proper development and operational regulatory framework was never been put in place for CMSS PNG Ltd to establish that proposed Casino project.
NGCB is empowered to ensure that all proper legal requirements of the Gaming Control Act 2007 and other relevant laws are complied with. The proposed Boroko Casino was never sanctioned by the NGCB and I will like to clearly state this that the NGCB was not part of this failed investment and we would never have participated in it.
The claims made by CMSS PNG Ltd Director Philip Kende that all requirements were met to establish the casino are unsubstantiated. It is an unjustifiable objection and an allegation which is motivated by ulterior motives to which the NGCB will not be drawn into.
In as far as the NGCB is concerned on the matter of the failed Boroko Casino and CMSS PNG Ltd claims and allegations against the NGCB, that matter is closed.