Solomon Gaming Board Shuts Down New Mini Casino

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Cyber King operation failed to obtain gaming license

By Ednal Palmer

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, April 28, 2016) – The Gaming and Lotteries Board has served a stop notice to the newly opened mini casino Cyber King Limited.

The stop notice, which was issued yesterday, ordered that Managing Director of Cyber King Limited Ting Kwong Hing close the business effective as of yesterday.

Members of Gaming and Lotteries Board with Police Officers from Guadalcanal Province served the Notice at Cyber King Limited at Crossroad, Henderson.

The new mini casino was opened early this week, near the Henderson area.

Speaking during the official opening on behalf of the casino owner was former deputy police commissioner Walter Kola, while the guest of honour was Guadalcanal premier Anthony Veke.

Yesterday, upon serving the stop notice, members of the Board explained to the managing director, employees, securities and those present at the premise that Cyber King Limited Casino is operating illegally and unlawfully for the reason that the company has no commercial gaming permit issued by the Gaming and Lotteries Board.

"It is simple; no commercial gaming permit issued by this Board means you are operating unlawfully and illegally as far as Gaming and Lotteries Act is concern as required under section 6 of the Act.

"Only the board has the power to administer matters pertaining the Act.

"Under the Gaming and Lotteries Act, it is the board that have overarching powers to issue commercial gaming permit and not Guadalcanal Province or any other province for that matter."

Managing Director Ting Kwong Hing and his Chinese and local associates strongly opposed the stop notice and argued that Cyber King Limited obtained approval from the Foreign Investment Board and a business license from Guadalcanal Province and as such becomes the basis for their operation at the Crossroad, Henderson.

Gaming and Lotteries Board members however, explained the position of law that although Cyber king Limited have approval from the Foreign Investment Board and got a Business licence from Guadalcanal Province, Cyber King Limited must have a commercial gaming permit to be issued by the Gaming and Lotteries Board appointed under the Act.

"Take note, that these two documents are different.

"A business licence issued by Guadalcanal Province is not the same thing as Commercial gaming permit issued by the Gaming and Lotteries Board.

"A classic example would be with the Forestry Act, if someone or a foreigner who decided to do logging operation in any Province in Solomon Islands, that person must first get a logging licence for those concessions from the Commissioner of Forest, then with a business licence from that particular province before doing felling within its concessions.

"This is similar with Gaming and Lotteries Act," they explained.

They said the provisions of section 6 of the Gaming and Lotteries Act makes it clear that no person shall permit or cause commercial gaming to take place in any premises unless such person is a holder of a permit issued by the Gaming and Lotteries Board.

According to Gaming and Lotteries Board, they have warned Ting Kwong Hing on several occasions already but the Chinese refused to obey.

The Board have decided to take a firm action in making sure that Cyber King Limited complies with the provisions of the Act as repeated non-compliance by the managing director Ting Kwong Hing shows someone who has less or no respect for the rule of law here.

Gaming and Lotteries Board said the firm action against Cyber King sends a clear message to foreign investors coming to do business in this country.

"Foreign investors must show respect to the applicable laws of this country and not only here to make money at the expense of Solomon Islanders by non-compliance to the law."

The Minister responsible for gaming and lotteries activities have endorsed and applauded the action taken by his appointed Gaming and Lotteries Board.

According to the Minister of Home Affairs Manasseh Maelanga, foreigners who wish to invest in this country must be genuine investors, who are prepared to comply with applicable laws of the land and not ones who have less or no respect for the laws.

Cyber King Limited managing director refused to comment when approached yesterday.

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