1 Aug 2008

Casino plans stir debate in French Polynesia

1:25 pm on 1 August 2008

There is renewed debate in French Polynesia over legalising gambling after a member of the former royal family, Joinville Pomare, proposed setting up a casino run by the indigenous people.

This comes after suggestions made by a senior member of the To Tatou Aia coalition in February that casinos could be included in resort developments considered for the Tuamotu and Marquesas archipelagoes.

A priest has told the Nouvelles de Tahiti daily that it is unimaginable to promote gambling outfits as a way of developping the country.

The Catholic archbishop in Papeete, Monsignor Hubert Coppenrath, has also dismissed the as unreasonable, saying the example of Noumea in New Caledonia shows it's a catastrophe as people lose their money.

He told the paper that it's akin to pumping money from the poor to benefit those who already have plenty.