Gambling is not legal in Palau. While numerous attempts have been made to change this, residents of the island seem resistant to the idea of a gambling industry operating within their borders.
In 2003, Palauís National Congress passed a bill which would allow casino gambling on the island of Angaur. The president of the country promptly vetoed the bill, citing concerns that a casino would ruin the countryís traditions and image. He then gave congress a chance to overturn the veto with a two-thirds majority vote. As many traditional leaders were also opposed to the casino, this did not happen.
2006 saw another close call for casino gambling in Palau. State Governor Jackson Ngiraingas was working closely with UK Investments Holdings of Malaysia to turn Palau into a casino gambling and resort destination. Then a $1 million bribe scandal broke out, and Ngiraingas was caught in the middle. He lost his position, and the company put their plans on hold indefinitely.
Jae-Kook Chang, a Korean business tycoon, developed a plan in 2007 to turn Palau into a destination for wealthy Chinese, Korean and Japanese tourists. His idea would have involved a 300-room hotel, two 18-hole golf courses, and international airport and, of course, casino gambling. The government attempted to push through a bill which would establish a gaming industry in Palau, but it was defeated by opponents who cited concerns over Asian crime syndicates and tourism developments.
Palau is an island nation in the Pacific Ocean. It is situated 2000 miles south of Tokyo and 500 miles east of the Philippines. Sometimes known by its English name of Belau, it is one of the youngest and smallest nations of the world.
The most populated islands in the country are Koror, Angaur, Babeldaob and Peleliu. About two-thirds of the population lives on Koror, and it serves as the capital.
Palau is divided into a total of 16 states. They are:
One of the last South Sea islands to be discovered, Palau was finally found when English Captain Henry Wilson shipwrecked there in 1783. It would then be administered by the Spanish Philippines until near the end of the 19th century.
In 1899, after losing the Spanish-American War, Spain sold the islands to Germany. Japan invaded in 1914 and formally took over following the Treaty of Versailles.
When World War II occurred, the island became the scene of intense fighting between Japanese and American forces. Following the war, it was decided by the United Nations that the United States would administer Palau.
In 1979, citizens of the country voted against joining the Federated States of Micronesia. A decade of turbulence would follow, and two of the nationís presidents would go on to die violently in the 1980s. In 1994, however, the island nation voted to freely associate with the United States but also keep their independence.
The economy of the Palua islands relies on tourism, agriculture and fishing. Most of the work force is employed by the government, and the country receives yearly financial aid from the United States.
The population of Palau is estimated to be 21,000, with three-fourths of the population being Christian. Palauan and English are the official languages. Japanese is also found among the older generation. Tagalog is the fourth most popular spoken language on the islands.
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