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Mauritius


Mark Twain once wrote that “Mauritius was made first and then heaven, heaven being copied after Mauritius.” Lying 2,000km off the south-eastern coast of Africa in the turquoise Indian Ocean, Mauritius is indeed a


heavenly and peaceful island offering pristine beaches, national parks and luxury resorts. But it’s not just a pretty face.


Mauritius is the fastest growing wealth market in Africa and the island’s sharp rise in wealth over the last decade is primarily due to strong economic growth, a thriving financial sector, its stable governance and low taxes which lure wealthy investors to live and do business there. Since achieving independence from Britain in 1968, the island has developed from a low income, agricultural based economy to an upper middle-income diversified economy based mostly on tourism, textiles, sugar and financial services.


Mauritius has a population of 1.2 million people and the tourism industry is the fourth largest contributor to the Mauritian economy. Last year, there were 1.3 million visitors, an increase of five per cent from the previous year, whilst earnings from tourism amounted to MRs62.5bn.


With a legalised gambling sector since the early 1970s, the development of gambling has been steady. Tere are private and state casinos, as well as a new law introducing hotel casinos.


Tere are currently four casinos in Mauritius - three of the casinos are managed by Casinos of


P64 NEWSWIRE / INTERACTIVE / MARKET DATA


Mauritius, a subsidiary of the State Investment Corporation (SIC), and one is operated by Senator Clubs.


It is said the Mauritius SIC casinos have run at a loss for the last 10 years. Te machines are said to be old, the buildings require maintenance and there has been suggestion of mismanagement from the state.


Last year, the State Investment Corporation’s director Manickchang (Prem) Beejan reported a MRs24m loss for the four state owned casinos that were in operation. In an interview, he said


the SIC would need to inject around MRs15m to improve the casinos.


One of the biggest issues is the proliferation of gambling houses. Some 40 years ago these casinos were the only place to gamble, yet with the diversification of gambling houses and other betting activities people now have other gambling options open to them.


Back in 2002/2003, casinos were showing profits. However, there have been casualties. Sugar Beach Casino and Trou aux Biches closed in 2010. Tree years later, Sun Casinos ceased operations whilst SIC’s Flic en Flac casino was not issued with an operator’s licence this year, reducing SIC’s number of casinos from four to three.


Casino revenues today are cited to be around MRs567m compared to MRs923m 10 years ago. Manickchand Beejan, who took over the realm of Casinos of Mauritius in April last year, has announced a restructuring plan for the Mauritius casinos with talks of opening a new casino, either in the Flacq region or the Lake Point Curepipe. Mr Beejan comes from a government background and was previously the MD of the State Investment Corporation.


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