Construction starts on first Fiji casino to meet deadline


One Hundred Sands Ltd. changed the planned site of Fiji’s first casino and began construction at the new 20-acre location this week, meeting an extended deadline under its gaming license. Chairman Larry Claunch said the casino and a convention center would open at the site near Denarau on the western side of Fiji’s main island in 12 to 15 months. The company would then build a 300-room resort. The $290 million project was originally supposed to open this October under the 15-year exclusive license announced at the end of 2011 and One Hundred Sands will  be required to pay a $100,000 a month penalty from October until the casino opens. The casino is to feature 500 slot machines and 54 tables. The company plans to set up a second casino on the east side of the main island.

The Snoqualmie Tribe from Washington state, which opened its casino on tribal lands in 2008, invested $1.5 million for a 10 percent stake in One Hundred Sands. Seventh Generation LLC, another US tribal company, is also a partner in the project. Claunch, an American, founded Holiday Retirement Corp., a senior living center group and has been in talks to bring on New Zealand businessman Nicolaas Jan Carel Francken as an investor in One Hundred Sands.