Indonesia Mulls Building First Casino - Tourism Indonesia


Friday, November 9, 2007

Indonesia Mulls Building First Casino

Politicians want to build Indonesia's first casino on an island near wealthy Singapore - a potentially lucrative but highly sensitive venture in mostly Muslim Indonesia.

Gambling is prohibited in Islam. Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim country, with nearly 90 percent of its 235 million people being followers of the Islamic faith.

Other plans to build casinos in Indonesia have faltered due to vocal opposition from Islamic activists. It remains to be seen whether Bintan island's local government will be able to push the plan through.

"We are aware of the controversy," Bintan district's deputy chief Mastur Taher said Friday.

He estimated that the casino could raise the island's annual income tenfold to $132 million.

He said that only foreign tourists and non-Muslims would be allowed into the casino, which is envisioned to be part of a 2,000 hectare (4,942-acre) tourist development.

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