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Uganda Casino Remains Closed

16 March 2004

UGANDA – As reported by the Monitor: "The doors of the new Casino Grande at Crested Towers are still closed almost a year after its promoters applied for a license.

"The proprietors, Ugandan-Israeli partners, are now not sure whether they will ever spin the wheels of the roulette here as government officials ponder the future of the casino industry in Uganda.

"At stake therefore, is Shs 2 billion (US$1.02 million) already sunk in this two-floor casino by the proprietors in conformity with the old law that requires investors in this business to have in place suitable premises before a license is granted.

"…The official reasons for the delay to grant licenses from the secretary to the treasury, are the threat of terrorism and international money laundering.

"…Correspondence between the ministry of Finance and the company shows frustrated company officials waiting impatiently for months while technocrats found new reasons to 'examine issues further.'

"…But Ministry of Finance officials said it was not their fault that Casino Grande had invested on premises, equipment and training in anticipation of a license.

"The proprietors are exploring legal options for redress. They say that it is unfair for the government to delay the licensing process while the business accumulated costs…"

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