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Bangladesh might set up foreigner casino

Thu, Sep 26, 1:34pm by Staff Writer

Bangladesh is considering setting up foreigner-only casino zones following a major crackdown on illegal gaming venues in the country’s capital Dhaka.

Calvin Ayre reports that on Tuesday, Bangladesh’s civil aviation and tourism ministry secretary Mohibul Haque held a press conference in Dhaka to announce plans to create “exclusive tourist zones” in which casino operations will be accessible by “foreign tourists” who can present an international passport.

The press conference was intended to offer details on the Ministry’s plans for International Tourism Day on Friday, but it came on the heels of an unprecedented crackdown on illegal casino operations in youth sporting clubs across Dhaka that has ensnared some high-ranking members of the young wing of the ruling Awami League political party.

The Daily Star quoted Haque saying his ministry was fully supportive of the government’s crackdown on illegal gaming but suggested “there should be no problem in providing such facilities for our foreign tourists in the exclusive tourist zone.”

Bangladesh’s population is around 90 per cent Muslim, a religion that takes a particularly dim view of gambling.

But Haque noted that Malaysia is also a Muslim country that offers foreign tourists the opportunity to access casino gambling at the Genting Highlands resort.

Haque’s comments appear to have taken other government representatives by surprise.

Speaking following Haque’s statements, the Dhaka Tribune quoted Awami League general secretary Obaidul Quader saying “no discussions have taken place at the top level of the government of the party on whether casinos should be permitted.”

Quader added that the authorities are keeping a sharp eye out for anyone suspected of involvement in the illegal casinos attempting to flee the country.

Quader said Awami League leaders are under surveillance and “we will take measures against them” after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina returns to Bangladesh.

Thousands stolen from Four Seasons Macau

The Four Seasons Macau is becoming a hot bed of criminal activity, with the Judiciary Police announcing two robbers have taken $382,000 in chips after a stunning May 24 morning raid.

Calvin Ayre reported in May that a croupier and a security guard were incapacitated by the robbers’ pepper spray and left the resort, who reported the crime to officials at 5.30am.

A force spokesman said officers went to the hotel after a call from a casino security worker.

He said it seemed “a security guard at the exit of the casino and a croupier inside the entertainment venue were attacked with pepper spray.”

In January last year, a debt ridden croupier stole HK$48 million worth of chips from a gambling table in the VIP lounge of a casino at Wynn Macau.

He instructed a female colleague not to make any noise before running out of the casino and fleeing on a motorcycle.

Two days later, the 49-year-old man and a male relative were arrested in connection with the robbery – one of the largest ever in the city.

The shocking robbery comes just two days after police met with the security department of the Venetian Macau resort hotel, the Sands China property connected to the Four Seasons Macau – and the local casino regulator, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau.

The purpose of the meeting was to coordinate faster response times to any major incident.

It didn’t appear to do much good in this case however.

Four men were recently stabbed outside the Four Seasons, and a report that casino related crime is up 14 per cent in Macau does little to paint a positive picture for the region.

When that report came out, the police stressed that the increase in crime would not affect the average Macau resident, as the increase is specific to the casino industry.

They likely didn’t expect an attack so brazen as the one on the morning of May 24 to help stoke fears further.

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