M.P. Afoa continues fight against Bingo

One Member of Parliament’s crusade to eliminate TV bingo in Samoa was renewed during Tuesday’s session at Tiafau.

The M.P. for Palauli Sisifo, Afoa Amituana’i Mauli shared his disapproval of TV Bingo during the speech by the Minister of Public Enterprises Lautafi Selafiu Purcell, who looked visibly annoyed at the interruption. 

Afoa admitted “singing his old song”, in reference to his ongoing campaign against bingo in Parliament. 

“It is true that people will benefit from TV bingo, but my concern is to protect our children from being gamblers in the future, and if that does occur, it will be a failure on Parliament,” he said. 

His comments followed Lautafi’s speech regarding the benefits of gambling games in the country.  

Not two minutes later and Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi took the floor. 

He referred to legislation that was introduced to control gambling, but suggested a common sense approach to its application.

“Bingo is gambling and if we talk about gambling, then it should be closed down. 

“Secondly, gambling is where you invest your money and you expect more money in return. 

“Just like banking your funds at the bank, that is another form of gambling, because if the bank becomes bankrupt then you are left with egg on your face,” said the Prime Minister. 

Billiards and poker are also considered gambling because money is involved, he added. 

“Mr Speaker, gambling in general covers a variety of games and you cannot talk about one game without talking about other [gambling] games. Even golfing is gambling, how many Church Ministers are playing golf and [betting] money? 

“And even searching and choosing the right spouse is a gamble,” said the Prime Minister. 

He then urged Afoa to move on from the bingo issue. 

“This issue is a done deal. No matter how many times you bring up the bingo issue, the response will not change,” said the Prime Minister. 

He added this issue has been addressed numerous times. 

Two weeks, ago, Afoa declared that he will not stop campaigning against the airing of bingo games on national television. 

“This is a matter this constituency will continue to have a voice against, this is regarding TV bingo. 

“You all laugh when I mention it but this constituency’s request remains that the Minister please [reviews] the law. 

“It is the love for the children that prompts this constituency to say this and I will not stop speaking about it. I will come back in the next term and speak about this again.” 

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