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By Lewis Wolman

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (December 21, 1999 – Samoa News)---Rep. Sala Samiu says the territory’s bingo laws are being abused by bingo operators.

"Bingo games are authorized only on an occasional basis for non-profit groups," Sala said. "But they are held on a regular, not occasional, basis and there is no way to tell if organizers are making a profit off them."

He added that in the meantime, bingo is causing serious social problems.

He said parents are absent from the home, kids get into trouble, and family members don't get the financial support they need because other family members use the money to support their bingo habit.

"Our existing laws are being abused and must be enforced," Sala said, "And if we have to revise the laws so that the bingo operators are regulated and held accountable, then I believe we should do that."

Sala is the vice speaker in the House and chairs the powerful Rules and Economic Development committees, which are considering the controversial American Samoa Gaming Act to allow for casino gambling in the territory.

Sala was one of the co-authors of the bill, but has since changed his position on the issue. He is now lobbying against casino gambling, saying it will have a negative effect on society.

Stories from the SAMOA NEWS, American Samoa's daily newspaper, may not be republished without permission. To contact the publisher, send e-mail to For additional reports from the Samoa News, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Samoa News.

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