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Gambling in Samoa
Samoan Gambling Laws
The only legal forms of gambling in Samoa are horse racing and the lottery. There are no casinos located on the island chain. Bingo, while not legally considered gambling, is also extremely popular throughout Samoa. NFL Pick’em contests are also popular, and Samoan residents will usually flock to any kind of raffle or giveaway.
Facts About Samoa
In the 1899 Treaty of Berlin, Germany and the United States divided up Samoa. The United States gained control of the eastern islands (now known as American Samoa), while Germany was given the western islands (known as Western Samoa or simply Samoa). While America has maintained control of the eastern islands, the western islands are now an independent state.
American Samoa has a population of over 57,000, while the population of Samoa is estimated to be over 214,000. The total land area of American Samoa is just over 77 square miles, and the total land area of Samoa is slightly smaller than the state of Rhode Island.
Samoa is located halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand. The two largest islands are Upolu and Savai’i. The country was admitted into the United Nations in 1976.
Tourism now accounts for a quarter of the country’s GDP. Tourism is also on an upswing, with the numbers increasing from 70,000 visitors to 100,000 visitors from 1996 to 2005.
The most popular sports on the islands are rugby and Samoan cricket. Football (soccer) is also highly regarded. The sport of dog fighting is legal in Samoa.
Normal shopping hours in Samoa are from 8am until 5pm on Monday thru Friday and 9am until noon on Saturday. Government offices are traditionally open from 8am until 4pm Monday thru Friday.
Legend of Samoan Gambling
The legend of how the cultural tattoo (know as a Pe’a) came to Samoa is also tied into how gambling came to the islands. The Pe’a was limited to the Eastern Islands and was not allowed to be taken outside the region. These tattoos were also restricted to females.
As the legend goes, two women from the eastern islands wanted to share the tattoos with their friends and loved ones in Western Samoa. Since it was forbidden, they snuck out one night and started swimming towards the western island chain.
As they were swimming, they spotted a beautiful pearl in a clam at the bottom of the ocean. They went down and got it, but there was only one pearl, and both women wanted to possess it.
After arguing about it, they decided to determine the owner by “tossing” (heads or tails) for the pearl. There were no coins to toss, so they decided to settle their dispute by tossing a Pipi-shell.
According to the legend, that was the first example of gambling in Samoa.
Samoan Bingo Halls
In many ways, bingo is like a national pastime in Samoa. It is played by people of all ages, and many play it at least twice a week. In Pago Pago, for example, the Tautua Hall holds bingo games six nights a week (Monday thru Saturday).
It is so popular that Samoan Churches in the state of California often have bingo parlors attached to them.
As part of Samoan custom, however, winners are expected to share their prizes with those around them, keeping only a small amount for themselves. Besides money, prizes often take the form of soap, rice, sugar and eggs.
Horse Racing in Samoa
There is one major horse racing track in Samoa. The Samoa Race Track is located in Apia, Samoa. While the posted age to bet on the horses is 16, this rule is often overlooked.
The horse racing industry in Samoa has undergone a major re-building process after a typhoon wiped out the race horse population over twelve years ago. Currently, the horse population is up to over 80 horses, with the majority of these being New Zealand-bred thoroughbreds.
Races are conducted by the Samoa Racing Club. The cost of admission is very reasonable, and there are often up to 10 races a day.
One of the more novel events is the village race, where local residents bring their horse or donkey and compete. The rules for this race state that the rider (and mount) can’t have any professional experience.
Lottery in Samoa
You must be 18 years or older to play the lottery in Samoa. Besides a locally run lottery, residents also have access to lotteries conducted by Tattersalls and Ozlotteries. Available games include:
Tattslotto – Held every Saturday, this lottery offers a guaranteed $4 million prize pool. Eight numbers are drawn randomly from 1 to 45, with the first six being the winning numbers and the other two being supplementary numbers.
Super 7’s Oz Lotto – This drawing is held every Tuesday night, with a minimum prize of $1 million dollars. To win, select seven numbers from 1 to 45.
Wednesday Tattslotto – Prizes range from $125,000 to $1 million. Numbers range from 1 to 40, and a total of eight numbers are drawn at random. The first six are considered the winning numbers, while the last two are supplementary numbers.
Powerball – Held every Thursday night, the guaranteed prize is at least $3 million, but it can rise to as high as $44 million. To play, select six numbers ranging from 1 to 45.
Tatts Keno – This game gives the player 23 different ways to win and is held on a daily basis. Twenty numbers are drawn at random from 1 to 80.
Tatts 2 – Held everyday, the player is asked to choose just two numbers from 1 to 99.If you get one number correct, you’ll win $5. Get two numbers, and you’ll win a minimum of $500.
Super 66 – Drawn every Saturday night, this game draws six balls, each from a machine with six compartments . Each compartment contains ten balls numbered zero thru nine. The six balls make up the winning number in the order they were drawn.
The Pools – Winning numbers are based on the results of soccer matches from around the globe. You can select the numbers at random, or you can try to predict the scores of the upcoming matches.