Christmas Island is on the verge of financial ruin. The territory hosts a phosphate mine and a detention centre, but the Senate Committee is concerned that Christmas Island will face a disappointing fate if it does not develop a sustainable market, such as tourism.
In a recent report by ABC News, it was revealed that this concern could lead to the Island’s casino being reopened. The venue would draw visitors to the area, and provide it with an additional source of income. Developing a tourism market could significantly benefit Christmas Island’s economy.
Christmas Island hosts hundreds of individuals who are seeking asylum. As more asylum seekers gravitate to Christmas Island, there is the need for more government income in order to fund rising healthcare costs.
The phosphate mine will not be around forever, and its lease has only been extended for another 21 years. So, it is crucial that Christmas Island begin exploring other options.
“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,” reads a report from the committee. “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.”
Australia’s gambling market is a major draw for tourists. Every major city hosts a large casino complex, which attract tourists from around the world. Casino operators are mainly focused on high roller gamblers from Asia, who bring thousands of dollars to spend at casinos and also provide a generous boost to the retail, restaurant and hotel industries. Christmas Island could certainly benefit from this type of tourism.
The casino has been out of commission for nearly 10 years. It will take a great deal of work and funding to bring the casino back to life, but the committee believes that it will be a worthwhile investment.