When direct aid from the UK to Vanuatu ceased in 2005, the People’s Republic of China stepped in to provide increased amounts of funding. In mid-December China delivered two new planes bought by the Vanuatu government and promised to deliver a third free of charge this month as a token of good will. In return the Prime Minister reiterated his Government’s support and commitment to the One China Policy. Only China along with Australia, France and New Zealand maintain embassies, high commissions or missions in Vanuatu.
It is after the Chinese New Year next month that Jupiters Vanuatu will open its doors. Intended to take the South Pacific gaming industry to a new level, the casino will be managed by the Australian gaming company Tabcorp under its Jupiters brand. The gaming floor at the waterfront Hotel Sebel Port Vila will have 8 gaming tables and 50 state-of-the-art slot machines. An elegant basement area will house an additional 46 gaming machines.
Professor Peter Reuter from the University of Maryland has warned that the
casino could bring organised crime to Vanuatu, commenting that in small countries casino operators can become the biggest financial operators and get into a position where they could, in effect, buy the government. The Professor mentioned the Batista government in Cuba in the 1950s, but with an international gaming company such as Tabcorp operating the casino the risk of such a scenario developing would seem to be remote. (E-01.05.09)
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