New Year, new start for Taiwan’s casino industry?

Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan failed to pass the Tourism Casino Administration Act in its most recent session, but the bill is not dead yet. Despite considerable uncertainty stemming from upcoming presidential and legislative elections, there may be reason for optimism that even a change in government won’t necessarily derail the process. Under the Offshore Islands Development Act, Taiwan’s offshore islands can create tourist areas that include casino zones if the island’s residents approve by a simple majority vote in a county-wide referendum. Of the three islands – Penghu, Matsu and Kinmen – that are considered viable candidates for hosting casino zones, only two – Penghu and Matsu – have held referenda. In 2009, a referendum in Penghu failed, due mainly to pressure from anti-gaming groups, an anti-gaming “get out the vote” campaign by the main opposition party – the Democratic Progressive Party – and the absence of draft casino gaming legislation which would...

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