The Appeals Court in Fiji heard two separate appeals today related to the One Hundred Sands casino license being canceled. According to a report on fijione.tv, counsel for the casino owner has tried in vain to meet with government officials since the license was canceled in February 2015 but the Attorney General did not meet with them.
The AG’s counsel claims in their appeal that the courts have no jurisdiction to hear the case, saying it falls under the Gaming Decree. Counsel for One Hundred Sands contended that people could challenge the decree as it has no ‘ouster clause’.
One Hundred Sands is appealing a judgment by the High Court dismissing their request for judicial review.
One Hundred Sands Limited had been granted an exclusive 15-year license for gaming in the South Pacific paradise nation consisting of some 300 islands. The license was awarded in December 2011 and the first ever issued there. The project was stipulated to be in operation by October 2013 with monthly penalties each month thereafter if not open. The operators had tendered about $1 million in fees before the license was revoked with the government saying in mid-2015 that about $1 million more was due and owing.
According to earlier reports, one reason the project had difficulty launching on schedule was that the project was relocated. Also, the Snoqualmie tribe of Washington state pulled out of the project claiming One Hundred Sands had defaulted on a note for $1.5 million in February 2014.
The facilities were to be called the Grand Casino and would have offered about 500 slot machines, 32 gaming tables, a VIP lounge, race and sports books and a small convention center
The $290 million facility suffered various setbacks in reaching their scheduled launch date. Among the principal reasons for delays were the relocation of the project to outside Denarau, and the American Indian Snoqualmie tribe of Washington state pulling out of the project. The Snoqualmie claimed that One Hundred Sands Limited had defaulted on a note due in February 2014 for the sum of $US 1.5 million.
Last summer it was reported that there were fears the license could be revoked if the Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) were to be voted in as the new government. SODELPA believes that casinos are an undesirable form of tourism for the country. However, they only took 5% of the vote, which was enough to gain 15 of 50 available parliamentary seats.
If the Grand Casino is successful in their endeavors to re-secure a license it would have 500 slot machines and 32 table games, as well as a race and sports book, high stakes gaming area, and a small convention center.