One People: A vision for unity in diversity
More churches come out against casino

PNG just can't handle high-end gambling

| My Land, My Country

LAE - Opening a large casino in Port Moresby is a dangerous and destructive move. The harm it will cause will be greater on our country will be more than the good it will supposedly bring.

We don’t need that kind of development. There is a time for it, but now is not that time.

A large casino opens up the country to a host of problems that we are not prepared to deal with.    We see the problems already on a smaller scale.

Public servants on the lower end of the wage bracket, are able to write and cash relatively large government cash cheques and spend the money in poker machine gambling dens.

You can go to every province and see the absenteeism of mid-level to senior public servants who spend more than half the week in poker machine joints.

They spend taxpayers’ money when they have the opportunity.

It is an open secret.

What is stopping them from stealing bigger amounts of money and gambling in a large casino?

Our provincial internal audit units simply don’t work because of the corruption.

Will the owners take responsibility for the stolen money that ends up in their coffers?

Or will it be a case of “they made their choices” and “we have no control over where the money comes from?”

What is stopping a papagraun [landowner] from taking his clans royalty payments and spending big at a casino? 

What is stopping organised criminal syndicates that already operate from laundering money in a casino business on a large scale?

Our law enforcement system is starved of funding. We have limited investigation capacity. Our regulatory mechanisms at various levels are at their weakest.

Transparency international PNG’s president Peter Aitsi said last week that there is “an apparent lack of urgency in the enforcement of the existing Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorist Financing Act.

“It was revealed that the financial regulator has sent approximately 10, 000 files to different law enforcement agencies, yet no action has been taken on these referrals, and even more worrying is that there have been no prosecutions.”

We need control and responsibility at the government level. 

We cannot encourage a vice that preys on the weaknesses and ignorance of our people and victimizes them if not directly, indirectly. 

If our people will make wrong choices, we must, as leaders, lead and take measures that protect them.

We have a large population which has huge amounts of money without the education and exposure that we assume they have.

We cannot look at this so called ‘development’ from the lens of developed economies. 

Their systems work. They have a large educated populace that are able to make better choices. We don’t. It is that simple.

Proponents of this casino development know that the supposed high cost of gambling will not be a deterrent. It works to their advantage. 

We should never underestimate the ability of people to find the means to gamble.

Our government has invested nothing into the rehabilitation of gambling addicts. 

Yes. We have them too, they’re a growing population.

We have serious problems with alcohol abuse and addiction. Do we really need addictions of a grander scale causing our systems to crumble further?

This is not ‘TAKE BACK PNG’.  We are selling our future so cheaply to a questionable development option.

This is not a religious argument about doing the right thing ‘according to the bible’.

It is about the practical realities that we live in. 

Our society cannot handle the impact of large scale gambling.

People will still be impacted directly and indirectly and those profiting from it will take no responsibility for the carnage.


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Bernard Corden

Bruvver Ducker will be laughing in his grave

Bernard Corden

It's only a matter of time before poker machines are allowed in aged care facilities in Australia to supplement the soft drink dispensing machines.

Chris Overland

Scott Waide is quite right and, of course, no-one in any position of authority will take any notice of what he has said.

A casino is, in many respects, the ultimate expression of neo-liberal capitalism. It is a money making machine that converts wealth into poverty and misery for many, perhaps most, customers and their dependents whilst hugely enriching the owner class who control it.

Its extra virtue is that it is a washing machine for "dirty" money. This will make it an immensely useful means by which the corrupt and predatory shysters who infest PNG can "launder" their ill gotten gains into "legitimate" wealth.

We in Australia have recently seen how corrupted the Crown Casino empire of James Packer actually became under the very noses of the supposed regulators.

A public regulatory authority will never be able to prevent corrupt and immoral conduct unless it is armed with the powers and resources required to match those of the casino management and owners.

This virtually never happens because most governments don't actually want it to. They prefer to cream off a lucrative share of total gaming revenue and do not wish to unduly disturb the money making machine's ability to generate huge turnover and profits.

So, good on you Scott for pointing to the bleeding obvious but I fear you will turn out to be just a voice crying in the wilderness.

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