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Casino's Out of Luck in Bali

Bali's Tourism Chief Answers Casino Investors.

(5/27/2002) In a seminar on cultural tourism held at Bali's Dwijendra University on Saturday, May 18, 2002, Bali's Chief of Tourism, Professor Dr. I Gede Pitana, M. Sc. underlined the impossibility of establishing a casino in Bali within the framework of existing laws.

Commenting in response to calls by local and foreign investors to legalize gambling on Nusa Penida Island, Dr. Pitana stated that casino operations in Indonesia are still expressly forbidden under basic law No. 34 making it impossible for local regulations to try to circumvent the prohibition.

Bali's tourism Chief used the occasion to suggest that for Bali to pursue gambling tourism was not only out of step with the island's focus on cultural tourism, but also out of step with competing destinations in the region such as Malaysia's Genting Highlands and the Philippines who have an advanced and well-established gambling infrastructures. Pitana suggested that "instead of chasing (a gambling industry) that is 100 years ahead of us, isn't it better we pursue the natural advantages we enjoy?"

In urging his fellow Balinese to promote cultural tourism, Pitana warned that gambling tourism has the potential to destroy Bali's long range goals to become a world-class cultural destination. (Bali Post 20/5/02)