21 Jul 2011

Samoa's leader says casinos for tourists only

7:18 pm on 21 July 2011

Samoa's Prime Minister says only overseas visitors will be allowed to use casinos that may be built in the country.

Casinos were legalised in Samoa last year and Tuilaepa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi says an authority charged with regulating them is considering the mechanics of tendering the construction and operation of such facilities.

Tuilaepa says opposition to their establishment, particularly from churches, means casino use will be limited to foreign tourists staying in hotels.

He says he believes gambling, like drinking, is a personal choice.

But he says the casino authority, which is made up of representatives from religious organisations, the police, as well as the Attorney General, will be very effective at turning locals away at the door.

"There are personal choices that we have to control. Because we also have to control people from their own stupidity."

Samoa's Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi.