A plan to open Tonga’s first ever casino by American entertainment company, Red Warrior, and investment firm Amira Union Gatti has gained tentative approval from the Tongan government.
According to Radio New Zealand, it’s reported the investors will be required to pump at least $450 million into the archipelago nation’s economy in return for permission to build their Tavake Tamafua Casino Project.
The site is expected to feature facilities which extend into the Pearl Airport Shopping Mall and Hotel and the Frangipani Luxevillas apartments. The brand new site will be known as the Aria Tourism Entertainment Gaming Resort.
Gambling and gambling establishments are currently illegal under Tonga’s Criminal Offences Act of 1926. Prime Minister Akilisi Pohiva was forced to reject a claim in January that they had secretly granted permission to the Amira-Union-Gatti and Red Warrior Entertainment group to construct the casino resort without following due legislation process.
However, Radio New Zealand reports that Minister Tevita Lavemaau has officially written to relevant parties to advise them that Tonga will now support the Aria Tourism Entertainment Gaming Resort. The government has plans to issue the consortium an exclusive gambling license in the next year.
A representative of Amira-Union-Gatti, Havea Gatti has stated that the firm will source over 80% of the labor that’s required to construct the Tavake Tamafua casino resort from Tonga. He further stated that the company will meet all the conditions laid out by the Tongan government by creating a further 850 jobs at the resort.
The current legislation prohibiting casino licenses in Tonga will need to be fully revoked in order for the Aria Tourism Entertainment Gaming Resort project to go ahead. This expected to draw backlash and possible protests from much of the Tongan population of 105,000 citizens according to Matangi Tonga News.
Tonga is quite a very culturally conservative place and its expected that both online casino and brick and mortar casino establishments will not be completely welcome. However, the need for investment in the Tongan economy may supersede the religious conservatism of this small island nation.