The gaming law was passed by parliament and will allow each of the country's 20 provinces to hold a casino license for up to 10 years. It will also allow overseas-based lottery products and Internet gambling. Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare says casinos will create jobs in the hotel industry, while online gaming is also expected to be lucrative.
NANOL: P-N-G's previous gaming laws did not allow casinos and other forms of online gambling. The new law will allow foreign-based companies to start operations in the country.
P-N-G Prime minister Sir Michael Somare who introduced the ''Gaming Control Bill'' says it was necessary to legalise casino and online gaming to regulate the industry.
Sixty members of Parliament, both the government and opposition who were present for the final session before the June election voted unanimously to pass the bill without any debate.
Prime Minister Somare says there is an urgent need to control the industry.
PNG over the last few years has faced a major problem with illegal slot and horse racing machines, which has caused social problems.
CSOMARE: The new legislation aims to curb any opportunity for criminal Cexploitation of gaming industry and to provide an appropriate regulatory regime Cwhilst recognising innovation and the need for the development of the industry Cas part of the country's tourism and commercial environment and that the Cindustry in PNG is competitive with other countries.
CNew forms of gaming include online gaming, overseas-based lotteries products Cand casino. Legislative framework must be in place to control and monitor this Ctype of gambling.
NANOL: Prime Minister Somare says the move will promote tourism and create a lucrative hotel industry.
NANOL: Prime Minister Somare says casinos will be for the high-income earners and foreign tourists only.
P-N-G's Community Development Minister Dame Carol Kidu was not present for the parliament vote on the new gaming bill.
She says casinos are recipe for disaster for PNG families.
NANOL: But Prime minister Sir Michael Somare says the new law allows for the establishment of a Gaming Control Board that will research, administer, and offer community oriented counselling services to those with destructive gambling habits.
CSOMARE: These community oriented services are not present at the time. And it Cis incumbent of the board as a responsible commercial citizen to take on board Cthese obligations as it contributions towards the welfare of our people. The CBoard is also tasked to promote community awareness and education to reflect Cproblems of gaming by providing counselling rehabilitation and support services Cof problem gamblers and their families.
NANOL: The legislation comes after the PNG government had approved a South Korean application to construct a five star hotel and casino in the capital.