Rubekul Belau (Council of Chiefs) once again opposes the proposal to establish online gaming in Palau, reiterating in its 4th letter to Olbiil ra Kelulau (national congress).
“We firmly believe that gambling, whether online or onsite, is not consistent with our values as Palauans that is why we continue to reiterate the same position that we have expressed before to both the Senate and the House of Delegates.” stated letter from Council of Chiefs to Senator Secilil Eldebechel, Chairman of Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Matters this September 30, 2021.
The Office of the Council of Chiefs also attached with their letter to Senator Eldebechel similar letters it wrote to Senator Mason Whipps in 2013, Delegate Jonathan Isechal in 2014, and Senator Rukebai Inabo in 2020.
In all the letters of responses to the proposed gaming or gambling bills, the Council of Chiefs reiterated that gaming or gambling, whether online or onsite was “not consistent with Palauan values”.
In addition, the letters said that “gambling’s ill effects on our nation and its people far outweigh its potential benefits.” Furthermore, it emphasized that the Palauan people have clearly expressed their thoughts on gambling through a nationwide referendum where “they answered with an emphatic “NO”.”
Rubekul Belau urged lawmakers to look at other potential revenue sources to be developed rather than gaming or gambling. “We understand that the subject bill is one way to attempt to find additional sources of revenue for our Republic. However, this mounting sense of desperation to head off a looming financial crisis requires us to be even more diligent and vigilant in choosing the right type of investment and revenue source for our Republic in order to avoid any long term adverse impacts on our society and its people,” stated their response to Senator Inabo last administration.
Various proposals to establish and expand gambling and online gaming in Palau were submitted at different times. In 2013 and 2014, the bill Palau Casino Gaming Control Act of 2013 was introduced in both houses of Olbiil Era Kelulau (OEK). In 2020, Palau Offshore Gaming Commission bill was also introduced. It did not make it past the 11th Government and was recently re-introduced this year.
“Gambling also leads to destructive human behaviors such as financial ruins, addiction, and crimes such as money laundering, human trafficking, prostitution, to name a few, which costs are long-term and extensive. Therefore, we cannot support the passage of House Bill No. 11-4-1, HD1.”