Casino revival for Christmas Island backed


A parliamentary committee has recommended the Australian government re-issue a casino license for Christmas Island, the remote territory south of Java best known for its holding center for asylum seekers. The Christmas Island Resort casino operated from 1993 to 1998, employing some 400 of the island’s 2,200 residents, before collapsing amid the Asian financial crisis. It had monthly gross gaming revenue of around A$20 million ($18.3 million) until 1996. David Kwon, who now owns the resort, requested the parliamentary review. “The committee cannot see any reason for the Australian government not to facilitate this venture, especially as the commercial risk falls entirely on the proponents,” the report by the Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories said. “The potential benefits to Christmas Island if the casino succeeds are considerable, (and) the probable outcome of failure is merely a return to the status quo.” The  government in 2004 rejected the proposed reopening of the casino by the Korean Freedom League, a conservative South Korean political group, citing the possible social impact on islanders.